In rotational molding plants, machine operators typically use buckets to scoop out resin, weigh it on a scale and then dump the powder into the mold. ReSource Inc., a Tallmadge-based custom machine fabrication house, is bringing automatic color blending and resin dispensing to rotomolding.
Chief Executive Officer Dirk Yerian described it as ``Coke machine concept,'' a single machine that brings everything together and dispenses the finished material. Doing a color change is only a 10-minute operation, he said.
``The whole idea is to have your material completely processed at the machine,'' Yerian said in an interview at the company.
ReSource's material dispensing system includes a vacuum hopper, stations for batch weighing and color blending. The machine dispenses the correct amount of colored, weighed resin down a chute and into a bucket.
ReSource also makes a preheating system that heats virgin resin to just below the melting point - dramatically reducing cycle time in the oven, the company said. The preheating unit can stand alone, or feed the material dispensing system.
Automatic resin coloring typically is used in injection molding and blow molding. Yerian said the ReSource machine brings the technology to the rotomolding industry.
Currently, the larger rotomolders blend material in advance, at their plants. But smaller molders buy batches of pre-blended material. ``We're being very careful to make a system that's affordable for the smaller companies,'' Yerian said.
One reason it's affordable: a touch-screen, laptop personal computer can run four of the dispensing units. The PC gives real-time production reports.
Rotomolders also can use the equipment to pre-blend specific formulations for batch storage, to be used later.
The preheating equipment uses three jacketed pipes. Resin is circulated through the pipes so that only a small percent of the total material is pulled out for molding, and is replaced by new virgin resin.
ReSource claims the preheater takes about 25 percent of the cycle time out of the molding process, since the resin goes into a mold at a higher temperature, even before it reaches the oven.
``You remove the first part of the molding process where the mold has to bring the material up to the melt temperature. It's just below the melting point, so that most of the time in the oven is spent in curing the part,'' Yerian said.
ReSource has supplied the preheating and dispensing system to Step2 Co., the rotomolder of toys and home and garden products based in Streetsboro, Ohio.
ReSource, which employs 10 people, already has a line of blenders - both gravimetric and volumetric - for blow molding, injection molding and extrusion.
Yerian founded the company in 1994, originally calling it Action Design. He changed the name to ReSource in 2001.
Some of the large custom machines made at ReSource do very specific tasks.
* When two garbage cans are blow molded in a single mold, they come out joined together. ReSource designed a machine that automatically cuts them into two separate cans.
* A patented machine applies reflective tape to highway drums.
* Another machine makes a button-shaped flare on the ends of the synthetic rope on a plastic tote, so the rope doesn't pull out of the holes.
The other executives at ReSource include Yerian's wife, Laura Marker, who is chief operating officer, and Daniel DiMassa, manufacturing engineer. Marker and DiMassa worked together at Rubbermaid Inc. Marker also spent 15 years in product development at Fisher-Price Co. DiMassa was involved in buying capital equipment.
Tel. (330) 634-0640, fax (330) 634-0643, e-mail [email protected]