The Brown Machine Division of John Brown Plastics Machinery has built what it claims is the Godzilla of thermoforming machines — the world's largest four-station rotary thermoformer, for the new Thermoform Plastics Inc. factory in Belmont, N.C., near Charlotte.
Some statistics on Brown's R-224 thermoformer:
A mold size measuring 10 feet by 22 feet, with a 52-inch draw. It accepts molds weighing up to 10,000 pounds.
Wheel diameter of about 60 feet, and a height of 24 feet.
To form the giant parts, the machine requires a vacuum system using 5,000 gallons of reservoir capacity.
Brown Machine used more than 80 tons of steel to make the R-224.
Brown Machine built the machine at its Beaverton, Mich., factory, took it apart and shipped it on nine flatbed trucks to the Thermoform Plastics plant in North Carolina, where the machine is being re-assembled.
Thermoform Plastics, based in St. Paul, Minn., invested $7 million in the new, 100,000-square-foot factory, which has 30-foot-high ceilings. The company has moved its nearby Gastonia, N.C., operation to Belmont.
Curtis Zamec, chief executive officer of Thermoform Plastics, said the big machine will not be dedicated to any single customer. ``We're a custom job shop, so we're going to do custom products on it, everything from boat hulls to material handling and dunnage trays,'' Zamec said.
A controller based on Windows NT runs the final heat station on the R-244, which has 572 heater zones, Brown said.
The firm also bought a smaller, three-station Brown thermoformer, with a mold size measuring 7 by 11 feet, for Belmont.
Zamec said Thermoform Plastics spent $1.75 million on both machines.
In other new-product news from Brown, the company has introduced the CS-5505-S thermoformer and a T-345-V trim press. The thermoformer can accept molds up to 50 inches wide by 50 inches long. Maximum draw depth is four inches. Later this year, Brown plans to introduce a version with a 7-inch draw, with an optional third platen-motion for plug-assist.
The trim press features four-point guiding using linear bearings. Maximum speed is 160 strokes per minute.
Tel. (517) 435-7741, fax (517) 435-2821.