Pyramid Mold & Tool has invested about $450,000 to establish an in-house technical center and add mold-making equipment.
The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., firm also plans other capital expenditures of about $200,000 during 2009.
Pyramid began operating the 1,200-square-foot, expandable tech center in May and, in the start-up weeks, performed several new mold trials. The center can sample tools that are for new or prototype production as well as refurbished or modified molds.
Previously, Pyramid sampled tools at custom molding facilities. The method was sufficient, but not necessarily convenient.
Now, tools can be scheduled for sampling seamlessly and immediately upon being completed, said Tony May, Pyramid director of business development and technical sales.
New equipment in the center includes an expandable closed-loop Frigel Ecodry tower system, a Frigel Microgel dual-zone, high-precision process water temperature controller, a Maguire LPD 100 low-pressure vacuum material dryer with dry-air conveyor, a 3-ton electric hoist and a 110-ton Arburg 470A electric injection molding machine. An integrated Selogica direct controller on the Arburg is equipped with dual-air and hydraulic core pulls and RJG machine interface.
Three members of the team have been trained on all of the equipment, May said.
Pyramid employs 32. Of five engineers, three are dedicated to mold design.
We work with companies that have work performed at offshore tool shops and, for the most part, our conversations with the tooling engineers indicate that they are frustrated with the direction that corporate bureaucracy is leading them, May said.
May said Pyramid has seen quite a bit of work return from offshore shops, and frequently, customers ask Pyramid to repair and many times re-engineer tools due to inferior design and workmanship.
Components required to produce a specific part can be purchased and incorporated into one of Pyramid's proprietary mold bases for processing in the tech center, he said.
Pyramid occupies a 31,000-square-foot building with 20,000 square feet for mold making, engineering and offices, and the remainder for support equipment, warehousing and future expansion.