Reduction Engineering Inc. has opened a 10,000-square-foot rotational molding laboratory for its Rotoline rotational molding machinery business, with a full-scale rotomolder, two pulverizers, a mixer and a cryogenic grinder - all items supplied by the company.
The lab is available for mold trials and material testing.
President Robert Sly said the working lab is the first of its kind for the rotomolding industry. Part of the challenge is that rotomolding, unlike, say, injection molding, requires a giant amount of space for a demonstration area. For example, the machine in the lab is a two-arm Rotoline shuttle machine with a 10-foot swing. A small lab-sized rotomolder also is available.
The rotomolding lab, along with service and spare parts, is housed within the 30,000-square-foot space where Reduction Engineering had been assembling pulverizers. Pulverizer fabrication was moved to a 32,000-square-foot building across from its Kent headquarters.
Reduction Engineering got into the rotomolding equipment business in 2001, when Sly bought a machinery maker in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Since then, the company has sold 75 of its Rotoline machines to customers around the world, Sly said. Rotoline has partnered with firms in several countries to handle start-up and maintenance of the machines.
On the Rotoline shuttle machine, the two arms are set on either side of the oven, and the arms move in and out on rails. The operator can remove parts from one arm while the other is inside the oven. The oven has a round shape, to cut down on the wasted air space in traditional square ovens, said Alain St. Pierre, Rotoline's head of sales. The oven design means the Rotoline oven uses less gas and saves money, he said.
Sly said the Rotoline machines are shipped as a turnkey system, so they can be set up quickly in the customer's factory. Each machine is equipped with an Allen-Bradley controller.
Later this year, Reduction Engineering plans to start a powder-coating operation, giving the company more control and production flexibility, he said.
Sly said Reduction Engineering has added seven employees this year, bringing its total in Kent to 55. Worldwide employment, including Brazil, totals 85 people.