Poway, Calif. — Eagle Mold Technologies moved about 11 miles and is installing two modular clean rooms for, separately, injection molding and assembly of medical-related work.
"The drive for the move was to round ourselves out and do assembly," Ronald Bark, Eagle Mold principal, said during a plant visit.
The relocation from a jam-packed 10,500-square-foot plant occurred in November.
Eagle Mold acquired a 22,500-square-foot former warehouse for $3 million in June 2016 and invested about $500,000 in facility and infrastructure improvements including a 2-ton Demag overhead crane. Another $150,000 was spent on auxiliary equipment including a 15-ton central chiller and a temperature control unit, both from Thermal Care Inc.
Eagle Mold installed low-energy-consuming LED lighting in the office area. Eagle Mold will have LEDs for shop lighting in September.
Currently, the firm utilizes about 60 percent of its location with the potential to add a second floor.
For operation in October, Eagle Mold talent is fitting together elements of the Class 100,000-equivalent clean rooms of 250 square feet for molding and 100 square feet for assembly.
Irrigation components including drip emitters represent Eagle Mold's largest end market, but new projects in medical are moving that niche to the head of the pack. The medical work includes orthodontics and blood line anti-infection devices.
Eagle Mold precision-machines metal for aerospace work, has capability for metal injection molding and may procure a sintering oven.
Ulrich Bark founded the business in Chicago in 1969, initially as mold maker Eagle Engraving. The native of Hamburg, Germany, moved the business and his family to San Diego in 1982. Now 83 and mostly retired, Ulrich Bark remains president.
Three sons are executive vice presidents.
Gregory Bark, 55, leads the effort toward qualification under the ISO 9001-2015 and ISO 13485 standards, probably for certifications by the end of 2017.
David Bark, 54, manages the shop's injection molding, mold making and machining operations.
Ron Bark, 49, functions as the principal, managing partner and quality assurance manager.
Eagle Mold hired industry veteran Kip Carter as its first full-time business development manager in February.
About half of incoming projects start with Eagle Mold's early involvement with the customer.
Initially at a customer's request, Eagle Mold obtained its first injection molding press in 2009.
Currently, the shop operates Toyo electrics of 200 and 150 tons; Arburg hydraulics of 165, 55 and 28 tons; and one Illinois Precision Corp. vertical hand-loaded insert-molding press.
Eagle Mold plans by year's end to add two electric injection molding machines. Now in the shopping phase, the business plans to obtain one each of 100 and 50 tons; both will have integrated pick-and-place robotics.
The larger press will replace an inactive 110-ton hydraulic.
The firm has five Conair and one Novatec regenerative desiccant dryers and six Dri-Air vacuum loading systems.
For mold making and machining, Eagle Mold operates four Haas computer numerical control machines, three Bostomatic graphite machining centers, four Mitsubishi electrical discharge machining units — two wire and two sinker — and one Charmille sinker EDM.
Eagle Mold employs 25 and had 2016 sales of about $3 million.
Injection molding accounted for about two-thirds of the volume with mold making representing the remainder. Eagle Mold says it is the largest independent high-tolerance mold maker in San Diego County.
The firm builds about 90 percent of its molds in-house — three-quarters of steel and one-quarter of aluminum — and, depending on customer requirements, procures 10 percent of the molds offshore.
During the plant tour, a 48-cavity mold on the 200-ton Toyo electric was producing micro-irrigation components with high-precision metering ports. The firm made the mold in 2011, and it has run more than 7.5 million cycles.