Simplex Industries Inc., a custom manufacturer of modular homes and light commercial buildings, will expand operations in Scranton. As one of Lackawanna County’s first companies to realize significant growth from the application of 3-D technology, it will create 40 new jobs.
The Scranton-based company Simplex Homes, which builds modular structures in the Keyser Valley section, reported it plans to hire 40 additional workers and expand production through its utilization of 3-D design technology. The advancement allows the company to save time and reduce waste while building modular structures faster.
When discussion began in recent years about the potential impact of additive manufacturing, the production of goods from three-dimensional digital models, discussion about 3-D design technology applications still seemed futuristic.
Simplex tapped into connections at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, a state-funded economic development organization, to work with Lehigh University and develop a workable 3-D rendering model for its modular production. Although advanced technology often is associated with job losses, the outcome proves that government, through channels such as Ben Franklin Technology Partners, is not an opponent of business. This sort of teamwork helps companies expand and become more efficient and competitive.
“This can be a poster child for successful collaboration between government, academia and industry,” said Patrick A. Fricchione Jr., Simplex’s president and CEO.
Simplex Industries will re-engineer both of its manufacturing plants to modernize machines and equipment to integrate 3D printing technology, which will provide cost and operational deficiencies. The company will invest more than $3 million in the project, and has also committed to creating 40 new, full-time jobs, while retaining 215 existing positions over the next three years.
Simplex Industries received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development that includes $80,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs, $18,000 in WEDnetPA funding for employee training, and a $100,000 Pennsylvania First program grant.
Simplex provides an illustration of manufacturing resilience. The company relied for decades almost exclusively on the single-family home construction market. When the housing sector virtually collapsed during the Great Recession, Simplex expanded into commercial and institutional construction, such as apartments and dormitories. Its venture into 3-D design affirms its ability to adapt and provides a glimpse at the potential of the technology’s application for other industrial and manufacturing purposes.
Simplex Industries was founded in 1971 by the Fricchione brothers and is headquartered in Scranton. Simplex Industries remains a family owned and operated company, and it is one of the oldest continually operating modular manufacturers in the country.