River Bend upgrading press fleet in Iowa

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River Bend Industries LLC is installing six new injection molding machines at its Iowa operations in a $1.5 million upgrading program.

The company, a subsidiary of Quantum Plastics LLC, is putting five Haitian injection presses in Victor, Iowa, with clamping forces ranging from 101 to 1,100 tons. The firm's Fort Smith, Ark., facility is getting a 360-ton Haitian press. Victor also is installing Yushin robots in the program while Fort Smith is slated for a HyRobotics robot.

"The new machines are replacing aging machines at the RBI locations," noted Bill Collins, River Bend regional vice president of operations, in a news release.

All the presses are equipped with Mars II energy-saving servo-hydraulic technology.

"These new machines will allow us to fine-tune our craft and better accommodate our customers with improved technology and greater efficiency," said Ron Embree, chief operating officer of Quantum Plastics.

The River Bend press upgrades follows by a year a $2 million machine investment at River Bend's molding operations.

Iowa is a key market for appliance manufacturing, Quantum noted. Other major sectors in the region include consumer, recreation and utility vehicles.

Quantum's subsidiaries run a total of 300 injection and blow molding machines. Injection presses range from 30 to 3,000 tons. In 2014, several molding businesses, including River Bend, were combined under the Quantum name.

Coincident with the new press installations, River Bend is partnering with Iowa's Indian Hills Community College and a local high school in an apprenticeship program.

"It's great to give back and offer this kind of opportunity where we can help to mold the next generation of tool makers and manufacturing engineers," Collins said.

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