Senior reporters Bill Bregar and Joe Pryweller gathered these stories from the National Design Engineering show, held March 5-8 in Chicago.
Pathway Systems expands, buys router
Plastics fabricator Pathway Systems Inc. has expanded its manufacturing space in Belgrade, Mo., and purchased a computer numerically controlled router.
Pathway Systems has leased an 8,000-square-foot building that will be used as a center for CNC routing and machining. The company's 15,000-square-foot headquarters will house administration and a clean assembly area.
Citing an increased demand for plastics in the semiconductor industry last year, the company added its third Komo-brand CNC router. Many of Pathway's customers make semiconductor equipment.
In addition to plastics fabrication, Pathway also does electromechanical assembly and builds control systems.
At the design engineering show, Pathway introduced a new focus, engineering software called Sole Authority Part Agent. The program helps component suppliers share access to computer-aided-design files.
Pro-face America purchases Xycom
Xycom Automation Inc., which makes personal-computer-based controllers for plastics machinery and other industries, has a new owner.
Pro-face America Inc., a subsidiary of Digital Electronics Corp. of Osaka, Japan, finalized the purchase Feb. 15. Xycom will continue to operate from its facility in Saline, Mich. The Xycom name will remain.
Xycom makes a PC-based controller for injection molding machine maker Ube Machinery Inc. in Ann Arbor, Mich., said Kevin Moran, sales director for Canada.
The company also supplies controllers to a second injection press maker that it did not identify, according to Moran. Xycom also has targeted blow molding machinery.
The new ownership will enable Xycom to increase its presence in operator-interface panels, a specialty of Pro-face and Digital Electronics.
In addition to plastics machinery, Xycom supplies controllers to industrial, aerospace, packaging and textile markets.
Pro-face, based in Glendale Heights, Ill., bought Xycom from an investment group. Terms were not disclosed.
Xycom discussed the new ownership during the Chicago show.
Digital Electronics, founded in 1972, is a major producer of operator interface panels for machinery. Company literature claims the Japanese firm developed the world's first flat-panel computer.
Bruce's new presses mold sports flooring
Bruce Plastics Inc. is adding several new injection molding presses to help manufacture a sports flooring product just released by the company.
The Pittsburgh-based firm has started molding Pro-Line, a soft, gridded deck surface used for outdoor activities such as tennis or hockey, said President Dhiren Shah.
The product is molded from thermoplastic olefin materials, Shah said during a March 5 interview.
The company already has added a 700-ton injection press and plans to install several more presses this year, Shah said. Bruce currently has 35 presses, with clamping forces of 38-700 tons.
The 50-year-old company custom molds a variety of products, including plastic handles, wheels and bumpers and parts from thermoplastic elastomers.
Polygon launches line of CFT materials
Polygon Co. of Walkerton, Ind., launched a line of continuous-fiber thermoplastic (CFT) materials for composites.
Applications include extrusion stiffeners, automotive impact management systems, civil engineering projects and medical markets.
Polygon said CFT products are different from other thermoplastic composites, because CFT uses continuous filaments throughout the cross-sectional area of the material. Other filled thermoplastics only use short- or long-fiber reinforcements, which limit their potential applications, according to Polygon.
Polygon claims that its CFT material offers improved durability and toughness, better energy absorption and the ability to do post-forming by heating a sheet and then clamping it into a mold.
CFT materials also can be recycled with reground CFT, which retains mechanical and physical properties.