DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - The Boy is getting bigger - both in injection press sizes offered and from an expansion at the Dr. Boy GmbH assembly factory in Fernthal, Germany.
And no, Boy has no plans to join the all-electric machine movement. Chairman Carl Schiffer said Boy remains fully committed to its hydraulic-clamp technology.
Some machinery observers are saying all-electric technology will sweep through the small-tonnage injection press sector - Boy's bread and butter. Interviewed at K 2001 in Dussedorf, Schiffer said Boy remains convinced full hydraulics offer the best system for injection presses. In a position paper, Boy said all-electrics with toggle clamps have some disadvantages, such as mold wear and height adjustment, and some ``inherent design weaknesses,'' such as the need for mechanical conversion of the rotating drive to linear motion.
Boy also claims its machines use only a marginal percentage more electricity than all-electric machines. Hydraulic presses also are less-expensive.
The firm's focus has paid off with growing demand for its machines. Now, Boy is investing 5 million deutsche marks ($2.3 million) to build a 40,000-square-foot expansion at Fernthal - the single-largest investment by Boy in its 33-year history.
Boy will move a warehouse, electrical assembly, testing, painting and shipping operations into the new facility. The company will convert areas formerly occupied by those departments to additional production space, boosting machinery assembly capacity by 30 percent.
The firm has sold more than 35,000 injection presses since it was founded in 1969. All of them have clamping forces under 100 tons - but now Boy is flirting with the century-tonnage mark.
Boy used to top out at a clamping force of 88 tons. At K 2001, Boy introduced new two-platen presses with clamping forces of 60 and 99 tons. The two-platen design reduces the length of the machine by 30 percent from the conventional three-platen design.
The four tie bars also serve as piston rods, to move the clamping mechanism. Boy said that means clamping force is distributed uniformly, since the power is centered at the tie bars.
The clamping system is lubricant-free.
In other news, Schiffer said Boy is fighting back against Milacron Inc.'s allegations of patent infringement over personal-computer-based machine controllers. In July, Milacron filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission against Boy and three other European equipment makers, asking the ITC to bar them from importing machinery to the United States.
But in June, before the ITC complaint, Boy sued Cincinnati-based Milacron in U.S. District Court in New York. Schiffer said Boy thinks Milacron's patent on the PC-based control is invalid because the technology existed before Milacron applied for the patent.