Micro Mold Company Inc., a precision moldmaking business headquartered in Erie, PA, announced the expansion of its R&D facility as the company prepares to celebrate its 40th year in business. Established in 1978 by Tim Katen and Dave Mead, the two entrepreneurs invested their personal savings to start the company.
Micro Mold began in a small, rented garage of 1,160 square feet while both men had full time day jobs. At night, they worked at Micro Mold. “We had no heat for the first few weeks we were in business. I would run the equipment wearing a winter hat and gloves,” said Katen, reflecting on those early years. “Also, my wife was pregnant with our second child and I remember asking our neighbor if my wife could call their phone in case she went into labor. As I look back, I’m grateful for those early days, because it’s given me such a sense of appreciation. It’s amazing how fast 40 years will fly by.”
The most recent expansion effort within Micro Mold’s R&D facility is the installation of a new Arburg 88-ton molding machine, purchased to enhance the company’s sampling and validation capabilities. Additionally, the molding machine is outfitted with eDart process monitoring software from RJG.
“We pursued Arburg on this effort to better align our capabilities with those of our sister company, Plastikos,” commented Ryan Katen, General Manager of Micro Mold. “This new molding machine will allow us to transfer process data more accurately and efficiently during first article sampling and process design of experiments (DOEs). Also, many of our OEM clients value the fact we can conduct multiple samples off-line and leave a press idle overnight when conducting multi-day validation runs. That’s much more difficult to accomplish in a production setting such as Plastikos.”
Additional growth plans within the R&D expansion have been budgeted. “We built the expansion with intentions of having up to three molding machines available,” said Ryan Katen. That said, I predict as demand for R&D capabilities grows, so will our plans to further expand this section of our business.”
Micro Mold and Plastikos specialize in precision mold design and fabrication as well as tight-tolerance custom injection molding. The companies’ core industry expertise focuses on medication delivery systems, surgical eye care, microfluidics, and electronic connectors. Plastikos’ medical molding room is controlled through an ISO Class 7 cleanroom (Class 10,000) with presses ranging from 88 to 220 tons.