Craftsman Adds Equipment, Expands Capabilities

Mold base manufacturer Craftsman Tool & Mold has added $1 million in new equipment over the past year. The purchases have also allowed the company to expand capabilities with more lights-out machining.

Mold base manufacturer Craftsman Tool & Mold (Aurora, IL) has added $1 million in new equipment over the past year. Two machines the company purchased specifically to replace an employee who is retiring because Craftsman could not find anyone to replace him—and the manual work he had been doing. The purchases have also allowed the company to expand capabilities with more lights-out machining.

Two Kuraki boring mills—a KBT-13 with 118 inches of travel on the X axis and 78 inches of travel on the Y axis, and a 63-x-73-inch full rotational turntable and a KBM-11 with a 39-inch square table, each with 60-tool tool changers—replace the retiring employee. According to Craftsman Shop Supervisor Tim Roth, the employee gave a year’s notice.

Additionally, a new Mitsubishi MV15-20 pallet system features two tables, which allows Craftsman to perform a set-up on one table while the other is cutting, Roth adds. “We have been finding it tough to stay ahead of leadtimes without more machines,” he says. “Price is becoming less of an issue, while leadtimes are getting tighter.”

“Our capacity is such that we were finding it tough to stay ahead of the lead times unless we bought more machines,” Roth comments. “Price has become less of an issue for molds, while leadtimes are getting tighter.”

Craftsman also added another machining center for the roughing department—and OKK 820 vertical mill in the medium-sized range for the roughing department, to increase the company’s throughput and capacity.

Craftsman President Wayne Sikorcin states that the company is also getting orders for larger mold bases as its customers get orders for larger molds. “Adding this equipment is a move up to increase our capability in the size of the mold bases we can do—in addition to our capacity,” Sikorcin says. “It has helped to remove our bottlenecks so we can take on more work, and solidify our niche in mold bases for large cavitation, close tolerance molds.”

Sikorcin adds that 2012 was the best sales year that Craftsman has ever experienced, mostly due to “working smarter.”