Injectech Engineering LLC, which builds custom automation systems and special vertical-clamp insert molding presses, has picked up a new investor. The firm also is preparing to launch a line of downstream assembly equipment later this year, President Kenneth Heyse said at MassPlastics 2002.
Heyse plans to commercialize the equipment later this year. At MassPlastics, he declined to give many details, but said equipment will be programmable, so it can be changed to accommodate different plastic parts. The automation system will be suited for horizontal and vertical injection presses.
``It's going to be a standard product that can be reconfigured,'' he said.
Heyse, whose background is in the robot sector of plastics machinery, said the line of standard assembly equipment will work with commercially available robots.
``We're doing a lot of secondary operations on vertical machines. Now we're going to try and make some platforms to make it easy for molders to do secondary operations,'' Heyse said March 28 at the Fitchburg trade show.
Examples of automated, secondary operations that can be done near the press include quality control, insert loading, welding, degating, decorating and pad printing.
Injectech employs 10 in Torrington, Conn. Heyse is the former general sales manager at robot maker Wittmann Robot & Automation Systems Inc., also in Torrington. In 1996, he left Wittmann to found a company to sell used robots and supply end-of-arm tooling, called Plastics Automation Exchange Inc. PAE was based in Wallingford, Conn., at used equipment dealer Plastics One Inc.
Plastics One President Robert Risbridger was part owner of PAE, which claimed to be the first company to focus on selling used robots to plastics processors.
In 1997, Harbour Group Ltd., owner of auxiliary equipment supplier AEC, bought into Plastics Automation Exchange. Risbridger sold his stake in the company.
Heyse stayed on, and he headed up AEC's automation business until he bought Injectech in 1999.
Now Risbridger has invested in a Heyse-run company for a second time, as he has joined Injectech as a director and stockholder. Risbridger declined to say what percent of Injectech he owns, but indicated he is a minority owner.
Risbridger said injection molding companies are under pressure to automate - but he is not just talking about parts-picker robots. The key to survival will be to use more downstream automation, he said.
``To me, the next big emphasis on plastics processing is going to be what happens to the part after the robot drops it off,'' Risbridger said in a March 25 interview at the Plastics One headquarters in Connecticut.