Ecowater Systems Inc., a St. Paul, Minn., maker of water softeners, reverse-osmosis water filters and water-distilling machines, is buying two accumulator-head blow molding machines from Graham Engineering Corp.
John Junker, Ecowater industrial engineer, said the company spent $1.4 million for the machines. New water-softener business, and the need for fast material changes, prompted the purchase.
One of the new Grahams, which makes 15 water-softener tanks an hour, replaced a 15-year-old Sterling that turned out just eight tanks an hour, he said.
Ecowater now runs six blow molding machines that produce ABS and polyethylene tanks. The Graham blow molders include a single-head machine that delivers a 40-pound shot, and a dual-head machine that blows a 25-pound shot. Graham also makes filament-wound water-softener tanks.
The blow molded tanks range in size from 2-131 gallons and measure as big as 24 inches in diameter and 72 inches long.
Graham Engineering of York, Pa., touts the quick-change ability of its accumulator-head machines. Workers can change color and material in an hour or less, Graham said. Junker said changing an older machine can take six to eight hours and the new technology also produces much less scrap.
Ecowater builds tanks to order, under a just-in-time delivery schedule, molding ABS and PE on the same machines.
Other features of the machines include servo-valve actuation, which Graham claims is more accurate than rack-and-pinion systems for synchronizing mold open-and-close cycles. Each mold half can operate independently.
Ecowater opened an injection molding and assembly plant last year in Ripley, Miss. The company also has an office in Belgium.