Sixty-five employees strong, South Elgin, IL-based Armin Tool & Manufacturing bills itself as a turnkey supplier—including everything from acquiring the injection press per customer specifications and mold sampling to supplying the customer with completed production parts—with an average leadtime of 14 to 16 weeks.
Armin serves the closures, medical, personal care, packaging, electronic, automotive, military and aerospace industries with high-volume, multi-cavity, multi-material/two-shot, insert, unscrewing, stack, thermoset compression, transfer and liquid silicone injection molds, in addition to multi-layer extruder heads and components for injection blow molding.
Not surprisingly, foreign competition has posed a bit of a challenge to Armin Tool. To combat this, Rich Lauritzen Technical Sales Engineer, explains the company launched an “aggressive” equipment acquisition program. “Jeffery Brost, Vice President of Manufacturing, and Plant Manager Steve Missele keep a close watch on the shop throughput,” Lauritzen says. “We try to be proactive in selecting the equipment for the departments, which will have the biggest impact on production. This allows us to automate more of our tooling functions, such as equipment with additional pallet changers and/or robotics.
“In addition, our commitment to the highest quality standards, integrity and interchangeability (repeatability between ‘like’ details, for example, if we build a 64-cavity mold with 25 percent spares, any one of those 16 spares will fit in any cavity without fitting or re-work, the details will be built to the mold files we provide if Armin is contracted to design and build the mold) have served to make us a competitive and dominant force in the injection mold manufacturing field,” Lauritzen adds.
Lauritzen notes that Armin employs a number of strategies to keep on top of its stringent leadtimes. “Projects are scheduled and routed through our facility based on the number of hours and weeks quoted for completion. The shop workload is not allowed to exceed the total number of hours per week that we can produce. Close attention to ‘hours per week’ needed for completion ensures an on-time delivery.”
A series of meetings helps Armin realize these goals. “Every morning, there is a short ‘highlight’ meeting with the supervisors, tooling engineers, plant manager, VP of manufacturing and president to discuss specific needs for tools in production,” Lauritzen says. “Every Monday afternoon the supervisors and the plant manager go over every job in the shop in detail, critiquing progress, etc. Every Tuesday morning there is a production review meeting including sales, managers, VP of manufacturing and ownership.
Brost reviews each quote and applies deliveries based on Armin’s workload—and was responsible for developing the company’s on- time delivery tracking. These measures have resulted in a 93 to 96 percent on-time delivery record for the past four years.
Lauritzen points out that the employees’ “superior work ethic and worker loyalty” are evident in the quality of molds Armin builds. “Our employees’ exhibit a fierce pride in the products they produce and that is a guarantee that their work is to the highest standards achievable,” he emphasizes.
“Senior employees have taken the responsibility of passing down and educating those with less exposure to the industry,” Lauritzen continues. “We also are involved with the local school district, serving on the board that advises the Machine Tool Technology programs. We are helping to prepare the young adults for manufacturing opportunities after graduation.”
Armin Tool believes in penetrating deeper into existing markets. Lauritzen notes that the company will continue to expand into the closure, packaging, medical, military and aerospace industries. “The majority of our customers have multiple manufacturing facilities worldwide.”
Equipment expansion also is in Armin’s future. “We are currently investigating the purchase of a second high-speed machining center,” Lauritzen says. “A purchase should be complete within the next three to six months, once we are finished researching various manufacturers. We see the benefit of high-speed machining technology—the accuracy, improved surface finish and reduced machining time. We see this technology as having even more of positive impact on our leadtimes.” As a Leadtime Leader, that’s the bottom line.