Buckhorn Inc., which makes shipping containers and pallets, confirmed that it has purchased the mammoth Husky injection press with 8,800 tons of clamping force - one of the world's largest injection molding machines.
Buckhorn and its parent company, Myers Industries, are not saying much about their plans for the history-making press.
The behemoth graced Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.'s technical center in Novi, Mich., when it opened in 1999. Husky used the press, which can process 145 pounds of plastic in a single shot, to mold Jeep Wrangler hardtops. Husky heralded the press as a forward-looking demonstration of very large plastic parts, such as car bodies.
Husky called the press the world's largest two-platen injection molding machine.
Then the company moved the press - quietly, or at least as discreetly as possible when moving an 8,800-ton press - out of Novi. Industry sources said Husky sold the big machine late last year, but Husky officials declined to name the buyer.
Today, a 4,400-ton Quadloc sits in its place in Novi. Buckhorn, with headquarters in Milford, Ohio, is a unit of Akron-based Myers Industries Inc.
Max Barton, Myers' industrial relations manager, said Buckhorn bought the big Husky and plans to use it to make material-handling products. He declined to say which Buckhorn plant is housing the machine or give more details. Buckhorn officials did not return telephone calls.
The 8,800-ton Husky stands in limited company. Cascade Engineering Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich., molds waste containers and other big parts on a 9,000-ton press from Battenfeld of America Inc. Purists note that the Cascade machine uses two 4,500-ton presses mounted side by side, so you can run one or both - the Husky has a single injection unit.
Paris-based Cie. Plastic Omnium SA runs a similar machine, with two 5,500-ton presses linked in tandem for a total of 11,000 tons of clamping force.
A few years ago, Italy's MIR SpA built an 8,800-ton injection press for Contenur SA in Madrid, Spain, which molds containers to collect municipal solid waste and makes industrial storage products.