Custom thermoformer Brookdale Plastics Inc. is spending about $750,000 to expand its Plymouth, Minn., operation.
The private firm has ordered a new Sencorp, in-line, deep-draw thermoforming line and plans to bring it into production in May, said Brookdale sales manager Cameron Koeppe in a phone interview. The firm also recently installed a five-axis CNC center to bring tooling production in-house for more scheduling flexibility.
The new thermoformer installation “is capacity driven and also a result of customer demands for deep-drawn parts,” Koeppe explained. The thin-gauge machine will be the sixth thermoformer in Brookdale's ISO Class 8 clean room.
“We saw the increased demand in our medical business as well as the need for new forming technology,” Koeppe stated. Brookdale makes blister packs, clamshells and sterile trays for packaging medical devices. The 8,000-square-foot clean room now encloses three in-line machines and two sheet-fed thermoformers.
Brookdale also runs six in-line Sencorp thermoformers elsewhere in its 80,000-square-foot plant. Other key markets are consumer packaging and industrial goods such as in-house handling trays.
The CNC center will help Brookdale be more nimble in building some 150 tools per year. Also helping the company speed up the concept to production process is its Stratasys 3-D printing system for prototype development. Koeppe said customers appreciate the accuracy and fast turnaround 3-D printing allows. Brookdale was an early adoptee of 3-D printing and can make parts as large as 60 inches long and 10 inches wide by joining individually printed parts.
“Our operations are lean and our technology is new,” Koeppe noted. “This has been a successful model for our partnerships.”
Brookdale employs about 60. Koeppe would not disclose sales figures.