Plastics News senior reporter Joseph Pryweller wrote the following items from the Medical Design & Manufacturing East show, held June 13-15 in New York.
Cycles Inc. adding 5 injection presses
Cycles Inc. is ramping up at its new, 77,000-square-foot addition in Massachusetts by adding five injection molding presses and automation equipment.
The custom molder has installed automated work cells and three 200-ton all-electric Nissei presses to produce medical diagnostic parts for a customer, said Larry Costello, New England sales manager for Sterling, Mass.-based Cycles.
Cycles has added conveyor lines and a robotics system to the new cells, each of which includes a visioning system to inspect parts coming off the press, Costello said. The company expects to install more automated work cells at the site for other customers.
The company is spending about $700,000 on automation, he added. One press picks parts from a 32-cavity mold and automatically stacks the pieces into dispensing trays.
Cycles also added a 15-ton Nissei with a shot size of 0.5 gram to 1 gram to perform micromolding in its Class 100,000 clean room. The company now can make ultrasmall parts for medical applications, a growing trend in that market.
Cycles also added a 150-ton injection press to the site. With the new machines, the company has a total of 36 presses in Sterling, Costello said.
The company has grown rapidly in the medical field during the past several years, after much of the electronics market it had served moved offshore, said Paul Nickerson, vice president of sales and marketing.
Currently, about 80 percent of the firm's work is in medical products.
Cycles recently opened a facility in Tijuana, Mexico, as part of a 50-50 joint venture with injection molder Apon Industries Inc. of Chula Vista, Calif. The partners hope to expand at the 7,000-square-foot site as they take on more low-cost molding and assembly work.
Life sciences spur Extreme expansion
Extreme Molding LLC, which specializes in difficult-to-make parts for medical customers, has more than doubled the size of its plant and added equipment to boost production.
The firm recently completed an addition to its building in Watervliet, N.Y., that gives Extreme 10,000 square feet of space, according to managing partner Joanne Moon. It had less than 5,000 square feet before the expansion.
The expansion, completed early this year, included adding an 85-ton injection press and more contract manufacturing work, Moon said. Extreme is installing another 110-ton press this summer, she said. The firm spent almost $1 million for construction and equipment.
The move will help Extreme make a stronger push for its niche customers.
Founded in 2002 by Moon and partner Lynn Momrow, the firm focuses on the design, prototyping and molding of challenging parts for life-sciences customers, Moon said. That business includes low-volume production of sample parts for companies seeking Federal Drug Administration approval or overmolded components, she said.
The company's sales have grown 20 percent every year, and now it employs 22 compared with six people in 2002.
Extreme credits its growth to customers' needs for manufacturable designs that meet FDA standards. Moon formerly worked at medical supplier C.R. Bard Inc., and Momrow at GE Silicones.
``The commercial issue is huge,'' she said. ``The real challenge is keeping those customers here to manufacture so they don't have to look offshore to China.''