With customers at its door, Armin Molding Corp. has decided to take a small leap forward this year in multiple-shot molding before starting a major site expansion in two to three years.
The South Elgin, Ill., firm will spend more than $1 million to install four new, multicomponent injection molding machines and a central materials-handling system.
The presses will boost capacity in two-color products made from one mold, said business development manager Roger Horneck.
The Krauss-Maffei two-platen presses — two with clamping forces of 175 tons and two 80-tonners — include a turning rotary table on each platen. That allows the machines to shoot a different material over a previously molded part on a specially designed tool, said Pat Caprio, Krauss-Maffei sales and marketing manager.
The new presses will give Armin seven machines that can mold a product in two colors, Horneck said. Armin uses the two-shot process to injection mold office products, and parts for the photographic, automotive and health-care markets, among others.
``Our business is growing, and we needed to add capacity,'' Horneck said. ``A number of years ago, people looked at two-color as a specialty that was expensive to do. Now, it's cost-efficient, and a number of companies do it.''
Armin Molding and its mold-making sister company, Armin Tool & Manufacturing Co., are subsidiaries of Armin Industries. The mold maker occupies 49,000 square feet of the parent firm's 84,000-square-foot Elgin headquarters. The divisions also share space at Armin's Rhinelander, Wis., plant.
But Armin Molding, started in 1974, has been the corporate family's growth leader, with sales rising15-20 percent for each of the past four years, Horneck said.
If that growth continues, the molder will build a 100,000-square-foot plant adjacent to its current South Elgin plant by 2001, Horneck said. Plans for the facility include sublevel materials storage and a vacuum materials-handling system to shoot the resins to a clean-room molding area.
But the 165-person company is waiting for sales to reach a certain plateau before going ahead with those plans, Horneck said. The firm did not divulge sales.
The current equipment expansion includes a new central-vacuum materials-handling system for the two-color presses.
Armin Molding installed the first new, 175-ton press in June and the second in July. The 80-ton presses will be in by the end of October, Horneck said. They will be used for such products as key caps for automotive instrument panels. Those parts are molded in an ABS/polycarbonate overlay on top of transparent acrylic substrate.
Multicomponent presses are becoming a stronger portion of Krauss-Maffei's business, capturing about 10 percent of the machinery supplier's North American sales, he said.
Armin uses its own tool shop to create the two-shot molds, Horneck said. It has been working in two-shot molding since 1982.
The molder has a total of 35 injection presses, with clamping forces of 35-530 tons.