As their customers become more demanding in their requirements of mold suppliers, mold manufacturers are working to expand capacity and capabilities in response. Superior Tooling Inc., a mold manufacturer located in Wake Forest, NC, is keeping up with demands from customers by making continued investments in its business.
Robbie Earnhardt, owner and president of Superior Tooling in Wake Forest, NC, told PlasticsToday that last year the company built a new 10,000 sq-ft building with plans to develop a Tech Center for mold sampling and validation. "It used to be that we'd build the mold and ship it, but now customers don't want to do this. We're seeing a real push to do the mold sampling and validation, especially with our medical customers," Earnhardt said. "They don't want to interrupt their production in the clean room and want us to validate the mold prior to shipping. We used to go to a custom molder for sampling but now they don't want to break into their production runs either."
Earnhardt said he plans to put the two molding presses the company currently operates into the new building, as well as add more presses in the near future. "The Tech Center is where we will sample molds that we build plus offer our customers an area where they can send their molding machine and the automation, and we can do mold and process validations then deliver it as a turnkey solution."
Currently, Superior Tooling has one 100-ton press and a 200-ton press. Earnhardt said that he would like to add a 300-ton press this year. "It's impossible to buy molding machines to fit every size mold we build," Earnhardt said. "A few customers have asked us to take their machine, put their mold in it and do the run-off with their engineers overseeing the process, then moving the machine and mold to their facility."
Earnhardt added that moving the injection molding machines to the Tech Center will free up production space in the company's current 20,000 sq-ft facility, to which the company will add new equipment. Superior Tooling currently has 22 employees, and specializes in injection molds, blow molds and die-cast dies for the medical, automotive and appliance industries.