Compression press maker Dieffenbacher North America Inc. is expanding its Windsor, Ontario, plant at a cost of C$8 million (US$8.3 million).
The company is putting in four new major computer numerically controlled machining centers. The centers will allow for production of bigger compression presses. Now the firm can make machines with clamping forces of up to 3,600 tons.
As well, the firm will gain from relocation of long-fiber-composite research and related machine production from parent company Dieffenbacher GmbH & Co. of Eppingen, Germany, said Peter McCormack, sales manager for the Canadian subsidiary. The technology is applicable to thermoplastics and thermosets.
``It's exciting, this move to North American-based assembly,'' McCormack said in a telephone interview. One research project will be to further develop in-line compounding, which can save costs to the molder, he said.
Much of Dieffenbacher's output is sold for use in wood-based panels, but the plastics sector is becoming increasingly important, according to McCormack. Dieffenbacher emphasizes research and development, spending 5 percent of its income on R&D.
McCormack said Windsor is a good location for Dieffenbacher's expansion because it is centrally located among major customers and has access to a large, skilled workforce. Windsor is a hotbed of tool and die companies, and layoffs in the sector have made skilled workers available.
Dieffenbacher employs about 70 in a 65,000-square-foot facility. About half the area is being redeveloped to handle the extra production. It will hire about 10 workers for the expansion. In the next phase of expansion, a new 8,300-square-foot warehouse will be built.
The company has been in Windsor for 25 years. In addition to its parent's experience in composites, the Canadian operation can draw on research done by the Fraunhofer Institute, a network of research centers across Germany.
The institute is best known as the developer of the MP3 portable music player, McCormack said.