Polytech Industries Inc. is spending more than $2 million on a new headquarters plant and a multistation, low-pressure injection molding machine. This month Polytech began building a 20,000-square-foot facility in West Chicago, Ill., just five miles from its current plant, according to Richard Walls, owner and president. By August the firm should be moved in and making parts on its new low-pressure press, supplied by Hettinga Technologies Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa.
The machine uses Hettinga's thermoplastics cellular molding technology, trademarked TCM, which competes with structural foam molding.
Hettinga's molding arm, Priema Plastics Inc., has been running the parts for Polytech until it takes delivery of the machine, said Jeanine Hettinga, Hettinga's president and chief executive.
At its current 7,000-square-foot manufacturing site, Polytech does not have space to install the new Hettinga machine, which will be ready in June, Walls said in a telephone interview April 24.
``We can't even move here, we've got so much going,'' he said.
The new, 2-acre location can accommodate a 40,000-square-foot facility.
Polytech, which used to manufacture its parts through reaction injection molding of liquid poly-urethane, is phasing out that operation gradually and replacing it with TCM, using an in-house, high-impact plastic blend it calls Polyfoam IV.
The TCM process ``does not give as much material swirl, or flow lines, through the part [as structural foam molding],'' Het-tinga said. Using RIM, Polytech had to trim and degrease its parts to finish them, according to Hettinga. The TCM parts do not require trimming or sanding.
Although the TCM production price per piece may be a little higher than structural foam molded parts, the lighter-weight aluminum molds cost much less - that, combined with higher-volume runs, gives low-pressure TCM molding an edge over structural foam, Walls said.
When production requires, Polytech can fit its press with as many as four more stations, Het-tinga said. The stations, which are not connected to the injection unit, are arranged in a semicircle around it. Each station can run a completely different part, since each receives its own set of molding parameters, she said.
Polytech makes large parts - up to 17 pounds - mainly for medical and industrial testing equipment and computers; control panels for X-ray equipment; and louvered door panels as long as 6 feet for a computer database. Walls would not disclose sales.
Polytech employs about 32.