Pascal Corp. of Itami, Japan, is a new kid on the magnetic-mold-clamping block - but the company is hardly a newcomer to quick-change mold systems.
Pascal is a longtime maker of quick-disconnect equipment, supplying hydraulic coupling devices that do both horizontal and vertical mold changes.
The company makes everything, including large tables that ride on rails to move large molds into position at the injection press, as well as equipment to rotate molds.
That background in quick-mold-change technology gives Pascal an advantage in the field of magnetic mold holding, said Tom Erwin, Pascal's manager for magnetic clamps in the United States.
``They make rollers. They make tables. They make everything for the mold business,'' Erwin said in an interview at Plastics News offices in Akron.
``This company is the complete source for the mold industry, and believe me, they will be very competitive.''
Erwin said the Japanese company, which formerly was known as Aioi Seiki Inc., does about $150 million in annual sales.
Pascal's U.S. headquarters, Pascal Engineering Inc., is in Elk Grove Village, Ill.
Erwin, a veteran who used to sell for Italian magnetic-clamp supplier Tecnomagnete SpA, said Pascal got into magnetic systems a few years ago after officials of the Japanese company realized that the growing quick-change technology could affect sales of their hydraulic systems.
Pascal expects to sell about 30 magnetic clamping systems in the United States by the end of this year. Customers include Delta Technologies Group of Auburn Hills, Mich., and Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. for its Detroit Technical Center in Novi, Mich.
TS Trim Industries Inc., a Japanese automotive molder in Canal Winchester, Ohio, will take delivery of three Pascal magnetic systems in June.
Erwin said Pascal has sold quite a few units to Japanese molding plants that serve automakers in the South.
Erwin estimated about 1,500 magnetic mold clamps have been sold in the U.S. market so far, mostly for injection presses with 500 tons of clamping force and larger.
Magnets are diversifying beyond their core market of automotive, he said.
``Anybody that has an injection machine that changes molds once a week, they want a magnet,'' said Erwin, who is based in Detroit.