By: Robert Grace
April 6, 2012
ORLANDO, FLA. (April 6, 11:30 a.m. ET) — Canada’s Horizon Plastics International Inc. recently started up what it believes is the largest low-pressure structural foam molding machine in existence at its headquarters plant in Cobourg, Ontario. The 2,500-ton Uniloy multi-nozzle machine has a physical footprint of approximately 14 feet wide by 65 feet long, and stands nearly 25 feet high.
CEO Brian Read detailed the $4 million investment in an April 4 interview at NPE2012. The machine’s vital statistics are impressive: The platen measures 157 by 102 inches, with 130 inches of daylight. Its 320-pound shot size is fed by twin 6-inch screws.
The new machine, which began operating about three months ago, is Horizon’s 33rd structural foam machine in Cobourg. Read, who is also the privately held firm’s sole owner, said the site is home to the most multi-nozzle structural foam machines in any single plant in the world. The 320,000-square-foot facility operates around the clock seven days a week, and Horizon now employs more than 350 people.
Read said the new machine, which sits on a 3-foot-thick concrete slab, is ideal for making large, lightweight parts with low stress factors, and it has been modified to allow Horizon to run a wider range of resins, including more recycled materials. Horizon foams its parts with non-ozone-depleting nitrogen, he noted, pointing out that by using different nozzles they can process polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, ABS, polycarbonate among other materials.
Read foresees applications in such sectors as building and construction, automotive and materials handling. He added that the new machine’s massive dimensions will allow Horizon to integrate several parts into one in the molding process, thereby eliminating the need for metal fasteners, which in turn will make the resulting parts easier to recycle.
Horizon remains committed to the North American structural foam market, Read noted, and still has more room for potential future expansion.