Custom injection molder McKechnie Plastic Components completed expansions and upgrades of its Minneapolis and Easley, S.C., facilities and plans more for 1997. McKechnie recently added four new injection presses at Minneapolis, where it also opened two clean rooms this month. In April, McKechnie installed 11 new Van Dorn Demag presses in Easley in a program to replace 20-year-old HPMs.
Mark Schaefer, vice president of sales, said the clean rooms in Minneapolis are for new medical products business and defense and military work. The Class 10,000 clean room, with 700 square feet of space, and the 8,500-square-foot Class 100,000 facility cost about $325,000. They occupy about 7 percent of the Minneapolis plant's space. McKechnie moved four presses into the clean rooms and expects to add two more presses this year, Schaefer said.
McKechnie said in a news release that the facility's medical customers include Medtronic, United States Surgical and Karl Storz. Among its major medical items are connector tops for defibrillators. Defense product customers include Rockwell, ITT and Lockheed Martin. The Class 10,000 room will focus on making the clear nose piece and laser lens for the Rockwell Martin Hellfire missile.
Minneapolis installed a Cincinnati Milacron Vector 40-ton shuttle table insert molding press to handle a ``surge of business from the medical products sector.'' New orders in commercial products spurred it also to add a 50-ton Van Dorn Demag press. Schaefer said Minneapolis has just added two more 80-ton Van Dorn Demags as replacement presses in the 40-plus press operation. All its new presses have robots, dual core pulls and state- of-the-art controls.
Schaefer said the new machinery was part of McKechnie's capital budget of $900,000 for Minneapolis in fiscal 1996 ending July 31. It slates spending another $1.5 million next year.
In Easley, the firm spent about $1.6 million on the 11 replacement presses with clamping forces of 120-300 tons. Its press count is more than 75. Kraig Shoemaker, general manager for the International Plastic Components division, said press upgrading also is planned next year. It molds for business equipment, power tools, heavy trucking, automotive and industrial markets. Last year it spent $3.5 million there for a 3,500-ton HPM press and a 25,000-square-foot paint facility, which recently went to two shifts. The HPM press includes a 600-ounce injection unit, a 20-1 double weight screw and tie rod spacing of 84 inches by 72 inches.