Sister companies Advance Mold & Manufacturing Inc. and Vision Technical Molding LLC are used to sharing the same building. Now, they are embarking on a $4 million project to double their respective capacities by adding a 30,000-square-foot building, along with new machinery.
``Each of the companies will double their current floor space,'' said Steve Arnold, an officer with both companies, in an April 30 telephone interview.
The mold maker and injection molder share a 26,000-square-foot facility in Manchester, Conn., now, but the plan is that by April 2009, Vision will be able to move next door into the new facility, which is being designed with taller ceilings and more Class 8 clean room space. The move also will open up added space for Advance to expand as well.
The new building is still being planned, but Arnold said groundbreaking is scheduled for August.
The companies also share a 24,000-square-foot facility across the street. That building has a mold tech center, expedited mold repair space and clean room area for downstream services such as pad printing and medical product subassembly.
Arnold said that 95 percent of the company's molding is for medical products, and the new space will include space for two 7,000-square-foot clean rooms. A third could be added later.
The companies are both strong, Arnold said. Overall, they employ 160 and plan to add another 30 workers. Advance Mold was founded in 1959. It spun off Vision Molding in 1996 and has had a dedicated clean room since 1999. The companies moved to their current space in 2004. Company officials have been planning the new space for a year and half.
``It is important to us to keep the companies together - we interact all day,'' he said.
Arnold is president of Vision Mold and Douglas Schneider is president of Advance. They also serve as vice president of each other's company.
``Overall, one of the reasons we've been able to grow is that we've established a great relationship with our customers. What is unusual is that we are very capable mold makers and compete with the best in the world. As a molder, we also compete with the best and that's a very unusual combination,'' Arnold said.
He said that Advance has 60 mold makers and has benefited from the deflation of the dollar.
``Ninety-five percent of the molds built go to [original equipment manufacturers]. Only 5 percent stay here at Vision,'' he said.
On the molding side, Arnold said it primarily makes complex parts that others find difficult to mold. The added space, he said, is necessary for future programs.
Arnold said that phase one of the molding project will mean adding another eight to 10 injection molding machines, mostly Roboshots, which has been his press of choice. The new presses will be for the clean rooms and range in clamping forces from 55-110 tons.
Vision has 25 presses - ranging up to 275 tons - currently in its main area, with another four in the tech center.
On the mold-making side, Arnold said, ``our goal is to be able to add more capacity for large-type molds, like stack molds and high-cavitation molds.''
He said that they also want to build on its hard milling capabilities. He said they plan to add to graphite manufacturing, computer numerically controlled grinding and assembly.