Triangle Tool Corp., a Milwaukee-based specialty tool maker that serves the plastics industry, recently completed an 18,000-square-foot addition to house its new specialty tooling division.
The expansion has increased the company’s total square footage to 173,000 square feet. The $6 million expansion project provides a home for one machine that is capable of highly specialized machining to repair or design new tooling for oversized industrial applications, said Victor Baez, technical sales manager.
“This is not high-volume manufacturing,” he said. “This would be one-ups or custom machining based on extremely large projects in industries like wind power, military applications and the foundry industry. We’ll be seeing small volume specialty items that are very large.”
For example, the five-axis machine tool that the expansion was built for is capable of machining a 15-foot diameter rotor hub used on a wind power windmill, Baez said. The machine can also produce some of the metal components used on a windmill’s base, which are often single castings that can weigh 30,000 pounds.
Triangle’s primary business is building 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. And many of its molds are quite large, giving the company experience and tooling that can assist in the machining of large, specialized components.
“We’re taking advantage of the equipment that’s here, filling in any idle time,” Baez said. “The smaller shops can’t do that. Their spindles are made for smaller work. We’re looking for the large one-ups.”
Although Triangle’s expansion has only been operational since July, the company is already finding steady demand for its specialty machining services.
“It’s surprising how much work (we’ve gotten),” Baez said. “Now that we’ve gotten our name out there, we’re getting calls coming to us. As our name grows in the market, we see a positive growth in that model.”