Sports Molding Inc. in Clearfield, Utah, has installed a new Cincinnati Milacron VSX press with 85 tons of clamping force, to replace an older piece of equipment. But its 1985 Kawaguchi with 45 tons of clamping force won't be retired. Terry Greenman, vice president and general manager of Sports Molding, said plans to sell the press for $10,000 were scrapped when company owner Gordon Blumenfeld decided to donate it to the University of Wyoming in Laramie.
``We've got a molding machine which no longer fulfills our requirements from a production standpoint, but one that is still a viable piece of equipment,'' he said.
Greenman found out about the university's need through a vendor, Integrated Design Engineering Systems. A Laramie-based software engineering firm devoted to the plastics industry, IDES provides consulting serv-ices, plastics part design, material selection and mold-flow analysis. ``We're Laramie's tie to the plastics industry,'' said IDES spokesman Robert Crouch, adding that everyone at the company is a graduate of the University of Wyoming.
IDES works closely with the university, helping it expand its plastics program to include thermoplastics.
David Walrath, associate professor of mechanical engineering, said the program has focused primarily on composites. Recently, the school has included mold design in its senior mechanical engineering program. Crouch said the idea behind the expanded program is to train mechanical engineers to be more plastics savvy.
``There's a lack of plastics knowledge in the mechanical engineering world and a lack of mechanical engineers in the plastics industry,'' he said. ``We're trying to bridge that gap.''
Walrath said he is grateful for the support of IDES and the company's efforts to get equipment donated. Like many schools, there is not a lot of extra cash to purchase injection molding presses.
``I'm leery of donations,'' according to Walrath. ``I've had some donated equipment where they strip it of all the controls before we get it so that basically it's junk.''
Blumenfeld said he feels strongly that the plastics industry as a whole, and specifically his companies, benefit from the donations.
``Anything we can do to further the knowledge among students about the plastics industry, and perhaps get us a couple of employees, more than offsets any monetary gain we might have gotten from selling the equipment,'' he said.
Sports Molding started in May 1981 molding ski poles and goggles for two original equipment manufacturers in the ski and motorcycle industries. Although sporting goods-related customers still make up the majority of the company's accounts, it has diversified to become a true custom molder.
Sports Molding operates 13 presses in a 36,000-square-foot facility, and employs 47 full time. The company also offers in-house mold making, and secondary operations such as hot stamping, heat transfer and sonic welding.