American Tool & Mold Inc. and its injection molding division, American Technical Molding, are about to be joined by a third branch of the Clearwater, Fla., company.
ATM recently said it is expanding its offerings this year to include liquid silicone rubber tooling and molding. Demetre Loulourgas, the company's president, said the move is a response to opportunities to do new kinds of molding.
The key behind this is that it's something that Demetre has wanted to do for a long time, sales and marketing director Phil Gaitan said in a Jan. 14 telephone interview.
Silicone rubber has been around since the 1960s (Loulourgas founded ATM in 1968) and has grown in popularity in recent years for products used in the medical, automotive, child-care, housewares and commodity markets. Silicone is known for being inert, stable, biocompatible and hypoallergenic, and having a wide temperature range, among other properties.
Gaitan said ATM's LSR operation will be ready with molding capacity beginning in February. The firm recently added to its mix of 28 injection molding machines with two new Arburg presses including a two-color machine scheduled to be delivered Feb. 1.
In addition to its current workforce of 180, ATM will add an undetermined number of employees to the LSR business, Gaitan said.
Loulourgas, a Greek mold maker who emigrated first to Canada then came to the U.S. in 1976, bought a 50 percent stake in ATM in 1984. Four years later, he bought the entire company. He started the custom molding operation, American Technical Molding, in 1991.
The company sells molds to customers around the world. As a precision multicavity injection molder, it is known mainly in the Southeast, but management wants to raise the firm's profile.
ATM's presses are from Arburg, KraussMaffei and Husky, and range in size from 55-650 tons, Gaitan said. The Clearwater plant covers 150,000 square feet and includes molding, in-house mold testing and a tooling shop. The molding operation uses 90,000 square feet of space, while mold making accounts for 60,000 square feet.
Gaitan said ATM has survived the recession adjusting for the fact that it's a hard time for a lot of people, and is expanding its focus from products for health-care, packaging, automotive, consumer and industrial markets, to high output commodity markets like personal care and medical.
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