It was a privilege and honor to welcome Senator John Blake, who after Governor Tom Wolf’s plane experienced engine problems stepped in to address Simplex Industries.

It is an exciting time for Simplex –  we are celebrating our 45th anniversary. We made it through the depths of the recession and better days are ahead not only Simplex, but for our industry.

2 years ago, Ken Okrepkie from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of NEPA introduced Simplex to the good people at Lehigh University as we started to look into 3D printing technology. We quickly realized that in order to implement 3D printing efficiently, we also needed to draw the blue prints in 3D technology rather than 2D which is the industry standard. As easy as that sounds, it wasn’t. No one in our industry has commercially developed this technology to the level and to the speed we needed.

While looking into 3D drawing, we also investigated the bottle necks within the production line. During the recession, Simplex needed to re-invent ourselves in order to survive. The Single family housing market was non-existent at the time and today it is still very soft, so we sought the multifamily and student housing markets. As expected, these type of products brought challenges to our production line. Multifamily and student housing units are more difficult to build. They have complicated structural requirements, which include the stacking of modular boxes 4 stories high and some more sophisticated mechanicals such HVAC and sprinkler systems. We identified the need to re-engineer our plants with modern technology to increase both efficiencies and output.

The Pennsylvania First Program Grant, coordinated through Governor’s Action Team will now enable Simplex to implement the re-engineering of the plants and develop an automation drawing program to create these state of art 3D drawings.

All the good works that Simplex has completed so far had been made possible through the successful collaboration of academia, government and our industry so that everyone wins. For example, it is a good hands on, practical learning experience for the talented students of Lehigh University, especially for those in the fast growing STEM field. They played an integral part in designing this software which is remarkable. These grants to implement this technology, made possible through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is making Simplex more competitive – so we can continue to be a successful and steady Pennsylvania employer.

Here at Simplex, we can grow our business, teach our employees how to utilize this technology, and offer competitive housing products to the residents of Pennsylvania.

We would like to personally thank Robert Watts from the Governor’s Action Team for his assistance in obtaining these grants. We would also like to thank Ken Okrepkie from Ben Franklin Technology for his guidance throughout the years and I like to thank Gus (Robert) Gustafson, Dr. Emory Zimmers from Lehigh University Enterprise Systems Center and all their students for their dedication and efforts in engineering these sophisticated plant designs and developing this 3D drawing program.

Lastly, we like to thank all the committed employees of Simplex for their willingness and patience in helping to make these projects a reality.