Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom reported these items from the Western Plastics Expo, held Jan. 6-8 in Long Beach, Calif.
60-ton MHI machine planned for spring
MHI Injection Molding Machinery Inc. plans by May to introduce a 60-ton, MJII two-platen machine in the North American market, said Minoru Shibata, executive vice president of joint venture MHI in Wood Dale, Ill.
The MJII has a smaller footprint and more molding applications, said Gen Hamada, technical general manager. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. will build the machine in Nagoya, Japan.
During 1997, MHI reported about $50 million on sales of 180 injection molding units, mostly for automotive applications.
Last year's largest sales were to a new Decoma International Inc. facility in Ohio and a Toyota Canada plant near Toronto.
MHI and Gain Technology jointly are opening a technical center in Sterling Heights, Mich., to design and test bumpers. An 1,800-ton, two-platen MMIII press is scheduled to arrive at the center in March.
Arburg tech centers adding engineers
Arburg Inc. is upgrading the skill levels in its U.S. technical centers and plans to relocate its Chicago site to Elk Grove Village, Ill., in the second quarter.
Arburg will put a process engineer in each center to conduct tests of molding systems and make prototype parts, said Michael Keane, vice president of sales and marketing for the Newington, Conn., firm. The other technical centers are in Greenville, S.C.; Dallas; and Westminster, Calif.
Keane said Arburg's Selogica control system has helped it double injection molding machine sales for the past six months, compared with the previous six months. The line has models with clamping forces of 17-55 tons, and Arburg plans to add an 88-ton version this year.
The presses cost about $40,000, and are used in precision medical, insert, compact disc and digital versatile disc molding, and in powder metal and ceramic molding.
Arburg Inc. is the North American sales and service subsidiary of Arburg GmbH & Co. of Lossburg, Germany. Gain is based in another Sterling Heights facility.