HUSKY TO MAKE PARTS IN-HOUSE AT NEW PLANT

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CHICAGO—Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. has announced it is building a 200,000-square-foot plant at its Bolton, Ontario, headquarters to bring in-house manufacturing of machine components and subassemblies. Currently, local manufacturers make those parts to Husky specifications, and ship them to Bolton. Husky officials say demand for the year-old G-Series press is driving the expansion.

In a statement issued June 16, the first day of NPE, Husky said: ``The large increase in machine sales has resulted in economies of scale that justify the in-house manufacture of a wide variety of components. Although most of the parts will be for machines, there will also be some manufacturing for mold and robot components.''

The new facility also will build some parts for Husky's upcoming small-tonnage line of machines — details of which will be released later this year.

Husky is at Booth S1982.

In other news, Husky has decided to proceed with building a manufacturing facility in Milton, Vt. Husky officials first announced that plant, designed as a Husky-style manufacturing campus, in September, but it was contingent on local government and citizen approval.

Husky President Robert Schad made the announcement June 14 in Milton. Husky has upped the amount of its initial investment to $80 million; the original amount was $50 million. Employment in Milton, where the company initially will make hot-runner systems, is expected to be a few hundred people at first. But Schad has said that more products, and employees, probably will be added over the next decade.

Schad's visit to Vermont to deliver the news follows a citizen vote in Milton earlier this month in favor of Husky. According to published reports, Milton residents overwhelmingly supported a 10-year tax stabilization plan agreement for the Husky complex. Voter approval reportedly was the final requirement set by Husky before the company could officially decide to build on its 700-acre site there.

Production should begin in Milton next June. Schad, in a statement, said the Milton campus ``will set new standards of excellence and will be a showcase of modern hot-runner manufacturing.''

The company said the 200,000-square-foot Bolton building was driven by demand for its general-purpose G-Series injection molding press, introduced one year ago.

Husky, known for machines to mold PET bottle preforms and thin-wall packaging introduced the G-Series to capture more business from custom molders.

In the first year, Husky has sold about 200 G-Series machines, according to Michael Urquhart, vice president of sales and service for the Americas.

He said Husky is targeting the ``high-end, general-purpose market'' for applications where speed, repeatability and reliability are important.

``We're certainly expanding more into custom molding markets. Most of these are not traditional Husky markets,'' Urquhart said.

New markets include automotive and medical, and machines for closures and technical parts.

``We've done a lot of closure molds, but we didn't sell a lot of machines to that market,'' he said. ``Now we've got a machine that's well-priced for that market.''

The G-Series comes with clamping forces of 180-825 tons.

Husky had 1996 sales of $568.2 million. The equipment maker is in a hiring mode, given all the expansion.

``We currently have more than 200 positions to be filled, 120 of which are engineering-related,'' Urquhart said.