SPI, OSHA launch online safety course
The alliance between the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed an online injection molding machine safety course and launched a Web site that spells out proper machine guarding for horizontal injection presses.
The course is a ``train-the-trainer'' class that can be accessed directly from the Web or downloaded as a Power Point presentation. Included are machine guarding and special lockout/tag-out modules. The course also describes the types of injuries seen in injection molding and addresses possible causes of those injuries.
The Web site for the courses is: www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/spi/ imm_ppts.html.
Washington-based SPI and OSHA also offer an interactive machine guarding ``eTool,'' which explains the guidelines and safety measures for horizontal presses. It includes a detailed safety tour, listing of hazards and their solutions, lockout/tag-out procedures and other safety measures. The site is: www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/ machineguarding/plastics.html.
Husky joins Hekuma to expand labeling
BOLTON, ONTARIO - Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. is working with German automation manufacturer Hekuma GmbH to boost in-mold labeling in North and South America and Asia.
A Hekuma robot ran at Husky's booth at the Fakuma show in Germany in October, molding cups on a four-cavity mold.
Husky, of Bolton, said its thin-wall molding technology is a good match for Hekuma, of Eching, Germany.
In-mold labeling, or IML, is popular in Europe, but is still fairly rare in the United States, said Matthew Brett, product manager for in-mold labeling at Husky. In Europe, he said, the many small food manufacturers value IML as a way to differentiate their products, with bright, bold graphics. The United States has fewer, very large food product suppliers that focus on low-cost packaging. Often, that means basic round containers decorated by printing.
But things are changing. Brett said premium ice cream is one of the first types of packaging to use IML.
In some cases, IML has helped increase a product's sales by more than 30 percent, Husky said. Also, the elimination of separate downstream printing operations reduces inventory.
In other news, Husky and Matsui Mfg. Co. Ltd., the Japanese maker of drying and conveying equipment, have signed a reciprocal sales agreement for the Asia-Pacific market. Husky will designate Matsui as a preferred supplier of auxiliary equipment, while Matsui will offer Husky hot-runner systems to its customers in Japan.
Matsui has established an Asian network covering China, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Engel adds center near Austria plant
SCHWERTBERG, AUSTRIA - Engel Austria GmbH has built a training center just three miles away from its main injection press assembly plant in Schwertberg.
Engel is offering half-day seminars tailored to the individual skills of the trainees; the center features two lecture rooms that seat 12 and 16 people, respectively. Adjacent workshops house four Engel injection molding presses equipped with the company's robots.
The company also offers training over the Internet.
CTI moves to larger site, plans additions
TREMPEALEAU, WIS. - Composite Technologies Inc., which makes replacement parts for twin-screw compounding extruders and strand-die pelletizers, and refurbishes the machines, has more than tripled its manufacturing space by moving into a larger building - and the firm plans to add on to that factory this year.
Last September, CTI moved from Winona, Minn., where it occupied two buildings with a total of 7,500 square feet of space, to a 25,000-square-foot building in Trempealeau, according to President Travis Steinfeldt.
This spring, the company plans to build a 15,000-square-foot addition to its new plant, he said.
Steinfeldt founded CTI in 1993, as a maker of screws and barrels for twin-screw extruders. The company later expanded into pelletizers, and began to supply spare parts, and to refurbish extruders and pelletizers. Today the company employs 14.
With the move, CTI also has added more metal-cutting equipment to increase its output.
Nissei's India plant provides fiscal boost
NAGANO, JAPAN - Higher production at its plant in India helped Nissei ASB Machinery Co. Ltd. move into the black in 2003.
The company in Nagano makes stretch blow molding machines for PET packaging.
Nissei ASB also credited its focus on higher-volume machinery orders that have lower costs and expenses.
Nissei ASB reports financial results in both consolidated numbers and nonconsolidated. In both categories, the company bounced back after losing money in 2002.
On the consolidated side, Nissei ASB generated a profit of 357 million yen (US$3 million) on sales of 14,967 million yen (US$125 million), in fiscal 2003, which ended Sept. 30. Sales increased nearly 24 percent from 2002, when the company reported sales of 12,101 million yen. Nissei ASB lost 476 million yen in 2002.
``Profits were boosted by lower production costs as a result of higher production at their facility in India, and lucrative reduction of fixed costs,'' the company said in its financial report. Nissei ASB started production at the factory in Maharashtra, in 2000.
In nonconsolidated results, Nissei ASB reported 2003 sales of 12,024 million yen (US$101 million), an increase of 20 percent from 2002 sales of 10,010 million yen. The company turned a profit of 121 million yen (US$1 million), after losing 65 million yen in 2002.
Orders received in 2003 also increased. Stretch blow molding machines account for about 55 percent of total sales. Molds account for about 25 percent.
Report: Robot orders rise 28% through '03
ANN ARBOR, MICH. - The urge to automate remains strong, according to the Robotic Industries Association, which said orders for industrial robots jumped 28 percent through the first nine months of 2003.
Through September, North American robot suppliers got orders for 10,051 robots, valued at $698.2 million. An additional 331 robots, valued at $29.3 million, were ordered by manufacturers from outside North America.
The combined totals - 10,382 robots valued at $727.5 million - represent an increase of 28 percent in units and 15 percent in dollars over the first nine months of 2002, said the RIA, based in Ann Arbor.
Another study, from the United Nations, said robot orders jumped 26 percent in the first half of 2003, led by a 35 percent gain in North America and a 25 percent increase in Europe.
Robots have rebounded from 2002, when worldwide demand fell 12 percent, according to the United Nations.
Globally, the automotive manufacturers and suppliers remain the largest customers for robots, both studies said. But the Robotic Industries Association said other markets continue to show strength, including plastics and rubber, medical, electronics, food and consumer goods, and fabricated metals.
The United Nations said at least 770,000 robots are working worldwide, including 350,000 in Japan, 233,000 in the European Union and 104,000 in North America.
But, according to RAI, there are 132,000 robots installed in U.S. factories, placing the United States second to Japan.
Nucon Wittmann creating robot group
MARKHAM, ONTARIO - Nucon Wittmann Inc. is establishing a dedicated robot and automation systems group at its Markham site, spurred by what it said is growing demand for automation in Canada.
Nucon Wittmann said it will provide support for engineering, installation, training, service and spare parts for the firm's robot and automation lines.
The group will include technicians based in Markham and options for training in Markham as well as at Humber College and Durham College, both in the Markham-Toronto area. Wittmann product manager Christian Weiss will head the group.
Wittmann robots can be integrated with a variety of injection presses and downstream equipment, the Markham-based company said. Product capabilities range from individual robots and sprue pickers to complete automation work cells for automotive, medical, housewares and other industries.
The new group complements Nucon Wittmann's auxiliary equipment offerings such as dryers, loading systems, chillers and granulators.