Mastercraft adds to engineering services
PHOENIX — Mastercraft Cos., a custom injection molder and mold maker based in Phoenix, has expanded its engineering services with the development of its mold tryout, debugging and pre-production molding department.
``We are using the department to specifically sample and improve the molds,'' said Dave Larson, vice president and chief operating officer. ``Before, when a mold wasn't right, it would take us about three or four days to correct it. Now ... it only takes us about 20 minutes.''
Mastercraft hired two engineers to help with the unit's four new presses, which have clamping forces of 40-440 tons. The company spent about $500,000 on the new machines.
Larson said the department will help Mastercraft reduce costs and produce more-precise custom injection molds.
``We manufacture a lot of nondisposable medical products that are expensive to reproduce. Using this department, we are able to get molds right without having to spend a lot of time and money,'' Larson said.
Mastercraft's capabilities also will be available to other custom injection molders and mold makers, he said.
Mastercraft reported $9 million in injection molding sales in Plastics News' recent survey of North American injection molders.
BJB opening plants in Mexico, Ontario
BRAMPTON, ONTARIO — Profile extruder BJB Polymer Systems Ltd. of Brampton plans to open a new plant in Brampton and move its operation in Ixtapaluca, Mexico, to Monterrey, Mexico.
Plant manager Stewart Rodgers said BJB wants to double its manufacturing capacity using PVC, ABS and thermoplastic elastomers.
Rodgers had no estimates of how much the new facilities will cost. He said decisions about the construction will be finalized toward the end of 1998.
BJB Polymer Systems has nine extrusion lines that serve the automotive, weatherstripping, furniture, industrial products and appliance markets. The firm's profile-related sales for 1997 were $2.3 million.
1st Tech expanding mold-building shop
TORONTO — Custom injection molder 1st Tech Molding Inc. is completing an expansion of the mold-building shop it acquired in September.
1st Tech Chief Operating Officer Scott Kelley said the project is the latest in a string of expansions since the firm began operating in late 1995. The company is building an 8,000-square-foot addition at its Fast Tool Technologies mold shop in Georgetown, Texas, formerly known as Cardinal Mold & Tool Inc.
Kelley said 1st Tech specializes in fast-turnaround molding jobs in which it is involved from concept through production. The firm bought the mold shop to help it keep as much work as possible in-house.
``Injection molding is our primary business and all our other services revolve around it,'' he said by telephone from 1st Tech's Austin, Texas, office.
The firm's major markets are consumer electronics, computers and packaging products. Kelley predicts sales will reach $12 million this year. The firm had four presses when Kelley joined about a year ago and it now has 14.
Kelley said 1st Tech co-founder Gary Pankonien saw a niche in the Austin area for a full-service molder. Pankonien helped launch Compaq Computer Corp.'s notebook computer. Kelley joined the company after leaving computer parts molder Texas Jacobson Co. of New Braunfels, Texas.
Kelley said his firm's fast mold turnaround has been key to 1st Tech's growth.
``We once built a P20 production tool in 13 days,'' he added.
1st Tech is considering an alliance with a sheet metal worker to expand its capabilities to computer firms. It also is considering buying a 1,200-ton press to mold computer monitor housings.
Macro starts up test blown film line
TORONTO — Macro Engineering & Technology Inc. started operating a five-layer blown film line in mid-May at its Mississauga, Ontario, facility.
Macro will use the new line for research, customer demonstrations and short production runs. Marketing manager Jim Stobie said by telephone that the line includes the firm's new Macropack die design. He said the new die cuts residence and purging times, making it especially suited to running polyvinylidene dichloride and other sensitive resins or expensive barrier materials.
The five-layer system is production-size, with an 18-inch die capable of making 64-inch-wide film. During the recent Plast-Ex 98 trade fair near Toronto, Macro ran various barrier materials, including PVDC, nylon and ethylene vinyl alcohol, for potential customers. The line features new horizontal oscillating nips, a new 50-inch turret winder and improved grooved feeders.
Stobie said the line complements Macro's other research lines, a production-scale, monolayer line for biaxial PVDC and a lab-size, monolayer system for various materials. The new line is not Macro's first five-layer type, but it is the first for its lab. Stobie said Macro will convert it to a seven-layer line at the end of the year to explore more exotic film constructions.