Innovend LLC has completed a $3 million upgrading program to help it compete against offshore molders in medical markets.
Innovend automated production and assembly at its Leominster, Mass., plant ``to take away the offshore advantage of low labor costs,'' President Roger Fluet said in a telephone interview. The firm specializes in injection molding of single-use medical products. The private company was established in 1982.
Innovend, formerly known as Hightech Precision Moulders, changed its name this year to distinguish it from numerous other companies that carry the ``high-tech'' moniker in their names, Fluet said. The name change also marked completion of a three-year modernization program in which Innovend boosted its robotics through purchases from Star Automation Inc. and Yushin America Inc., and replaced some older injection presses with new Nissei models. More than 85 percent of the operation is automated, quadruple the level of a few years ago.
The firm now runs 26 injection presses with clamping forces of 30-300 tons. It processes a range of engineering and commodity resins at its 60-employee plant.
Fluet said his company is working more closely with customers to improve productivity. It molds some 2.5 million parts per day and continues to expand its services in design and assembly to provide more value per job landed by the firm. Fluet said Innovend sees adding value as a key selling point in the battle for molding contracts that could migrate offshore.
As well as investing heavily in automation and clean room systems, Innovend has a sustaining capital program whereby it invests as much as 8 percent of sales in new equipment and continuous improvement to keep its technology up to current standards.
It established engineering teams to identify cost-reduction opportunities and to seek out technological advances the company can incorporate.