By: Bill Bregar
November 15, 2012
ELGIN, ILL. (Nov. 15, 3:05 p.m. ET) — Hoffer Plastics Corp. has purchased eight Wittmann Battenfeld injection presses this year, as Hoffer boosts molding of packaging and appliance parts in Elgin.
The new machines include Wittmann Battenfeld robots and auxiliary equipment, such as grinders and loaders, and mold heaters. Wittmann Battenfeld also supplied a central material-handling facility.
Hoffer Plastics is organized into small “focused factories” with about 12 machines, each managed as its own small company.
The most recent machines — four Battenfeld HM presses, each with 300 tons of clamping force — began molding parts Oct. 1 at a focused factory for packaging. The presses are paired with Wittmann Battenfeld robots, loading systems and mold heaters, said Rocky Brewer, Hoffer’s director of manufacturing.
Brewer said Hoffer repurposed the 8,000-square-foot space, which had been used for storage, as a molding area.
Hoffer started production in April on four 240-ton Battenfeld HM presses. Brewer said three of the injection molding machines are two-shot presses. He said new business required the additional machines, expanding Hoffer’s focused factory dedicated to appliance molding. He declined to identify the parts or the customer, but said the two-shot molding machines will produce multi-component handles for appliance knobs, out of polypropylene and thermoplastic elastomers.
“It’s an extension of our focused factory [for appliances], Brewer said. “We were awarded the new work and needed more machines.”
Hoffer now runs 111 injection molding machines at its factory in Elgin.
President Bill Hoffer noted that Hoffer Plastics will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2013. “Investments of this nature set the stage for the third generation and their future direction and leadership of the company,” he said.
Wittmann Battenfeld Inc., the U.S. headquarters of the Austrian machinery maker, Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH, is based in Torrington, Conn.
Brewer said these are the first Wittmann Battenfeld machines Hoffer has purchased. The company has used Wittman robots for years, and Brewer said the first round of presses that Hoffer bought earlier this year have run well.
“I just thought it would be good to package it all” with a single supplier, he said.