Thogus Products Co. is continuing to expand its rapid tooling and prototyping capabilities and is investing $1.6 million to add jobs and equipment and plan further expansion.
“We'll be adding a state-of-the-art tool shop for rapid tooling, for prototyping and short-run production,” said Matt Hlavin, president of the Avon Lake, Ohio-based company, in a telephone interview.
The company has tripled its business in the last three years and is currently growing at a 40 percent rate, he said.
Thogus is reviewing plans for either an addition or a new building on its 35-acre site. It already has a 76,000-square-foot facility and will decide about the expansion within the next 12 months.
Hlavin said the company added one 440-ton Engel injection molding press this year and is considering another Engel in the 300- to 500-ton range. It also has added Fanuc three- and six-axis automation.
In the toolroom, Thogus is adding a Hwacheon computer numerically controlled milling machine and an Ona sinker electric discharge machine.
The company also boosted its prototyping ability with the purchase of an Objet Connex 500, a multimaterial, three-dimensional printing system.
Thogus also got a boost recently with a 40 percent tax credit approved by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority.
Hlavin said he is excited about the investments and the company is considering acquiring other injection molders in the region. He did not want to elaborate.
It's quite a change for a company that was started by Hlavin's grandfather, Jack Thompson, along with Walter Gus as a tool and die shop in 1950. In 1958, it took the name of Thogus, a combination of letters from the last names of its founders.
Thogus turned to rapid prototyping in 2009 when it purchased two machines for fused deposition modeling. It strengthened the whole idea when it formed Rapid Prototype and Manufacturing LLC as its own company in 2011. Both operate out of the Avon Lake facility.
The prototyping arm of Thogus is important for expansion and “that opens the door for all industries,” Hlavin said. “We're there in the product-development cycle, not just at the end.”
The company is growing partly because of business that is coming back from overseas, but also from new ventures, especially those developed in incubators for the medical and biomedical industries.
Speed to market is a crucial part of Thogus' offerings as a custom molder.
Hlavin said having the latest equipment and the right expertise is enabling the company to “sell one resource: time.”