Milwaukee manufacturer to launch new division

Triangle Tool Corp., a Milwaukee-based specialty tool maker, recently broke ground on an 18,000-square-foot expansion that will house a new specialty machining division.

Triangle builds large, highly engineered molds used in the manufacturing of plastic components such as garbage bins, plastic pallets, dishwasher inserts and other large pieces for household appliances. Most of those components are injection- or blow-molded in a single-stage operation, requiring a large, complex mold.

"These are the same mechanics as a highly engineered tool that would make a cell phone case," said Victor Baez, technical sales manager at the firm. "But when they get bigger, there are more complications. Now you have to deal with a 100,000 pound tool. These molds are highly engineered, even if they don’t look like it."

Triangle’s highly engineered molds require a large amount of specialty machining. The company’s new addition will be devoted to a specialty machining division that is being marketed to other manufacturers who need their tools and dies re-machined, Baez said.

"There are many large specialty machining companies (who need our services)," he said. "They’re using our open spindle time now, and the expansion will have dedicated machinery and space for them."

The expansion and the new machinery inside are expected to cost about $6 million. The company expects to start machining inside its expanded space by July, Baez said.

Triangle Tool’s existing facility is about 155,000 square feet. The company has about 145 employees in Milwaukee; its sister facility named A1 Tool in Melrose Park, IL employs about 80.

Triangle Tool has seen significant growth over the past three years – its profits rose about 15 percent in 2008. Much of the company’s growth has been because of growing interest in recycling and "green" products, Baez said. Triangle Tool makes molds for producing garbage and recycling bins and carts, as well as reusable plastic pallets, collapsible plastic storage bins for fruits and vegetables and bread and meat trays used by food producers and supermarkets.

"The industry is growing," Baez said. "And tools like this don’t get built overnight – these are often $500,000 to $750,000 tools. There is steady growth in (the recycling and green product) industry, both on the industrial and consumer side."

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