Fairview, Pa. — X-Cell Tool & Mold Inc., a mold maker in northwestern Pennsylvania, is nearly doubling the size of its plant in a $1.8 million expansion.
Construction crews are working on a 20,000-square-foot addition to X-Cell's 25,000-square-foot headquarters plant in Fairview, near Erie, Pa. "It should be done before the end of the year," said Brian Dippel, operations manager.
"The addition is going to be for both tooling and molding," Dippel said. "Things are pretty tight right now. If you have something come in, you've got to find a place to put it. We're at capacity."
The expansion includes 7,500 square feet for mold building, equipped with a 5-ton overhead crane. Another 12,500 square feet, with a 10-ton crane, is for the molding and mold sampling area.
X-Cell makes a diverse range of injection molds, including insert molds, tooling for liquid silicone rubber and metal injection molding and molds for reel-to-to-reel molding. The company employs 55 people — including four mold designers — and generates sales of $10.2 million, according to the most recent Plastics News ranking of mold makers.
Markets for X-Cell molds include medical, electronics and telecommunications, caps and closures, and consumer products. Medical tools are the fastest growth area for X-Cell and are used for applications such as arthroscopic surgery, Dippel said.
"The market that we build molds for has shifted now, and we're mainly medical now. I would say 80-85 percent of what we build is medical," he said.
Since late last year, X-Cell also has invested about $1 million in new metalworking equipment, including two wire EDMs — a Sodick and a Seibu — a five-axis Yasada CNC machine equipped with a 120-position robot; two Okuma lathes and a Okamoto wet grinder.