Maca Plastics Inc., which already was running six small-tonnage, all-electric Roboshots from Milacron Inc., took a big step by purchasing a 935-ton Powerline for two-component molding.
Maca is molding a side trim panel for an automotive seat on the Powerline, which is equipped with injection units of 72 and 5.8 ounces. The job marks the first multicomponent molding work for the Winchester molder.
The customer, which Maca identified as a large automaker but did not name, approached Maca with an idea for two-shot molding, said Andrew Culbertson, chief executive officer.
``The customer had a part that was being molded on two machines, then assembled,'' Culbertson said.
Two-shot molding on one machine eliminates the other press, a mold, extra auxiliary equipment, labor and assembly costs, and reduces scrap. The part is made of polypropylene and thermoplastic elastomer.
Robert Strickley, marketing director at Milacron in Cincinnati, said the Powerline 935 could be the largest two-component, all-electric press in North America.
Machinery makers are confident that two-shot molding will move up to larger parts, in automotive and other markets.
The two-cavity mold has three sliding cores per cavity that have to move at different times to avoid colliding. Milacron developed sequencing software to coordinate the movements.
Milacron's Specialty Equipment Business helped Maca integrate the robot with the machine. The robot was put inside the guarding for the second injection molding, on the nonoperator side, so its safety system could be tied into the guarding, saving money.
Production volumes for seating parts are more than 30,000 units a month, including time for three color changes a day.
Maca purchased the Powerline in late 2004. The companies announced the news in April.