A family-owned plastic engineering firm may have to take the roof off its factory to fill an order after installing a Wegener GmbH SM 440 RQS butt welding machine.
Viking Plastics Engineering Pty. Ltd., based in Melbourne, bought the German-manufactured machine in a bid to expand its polyethylene/polypropylene industrial tank production business.
Viking Managing Director Malcolm Ling said: ``We needed the machine to get business, so we're hoping the business will expand now we have the machine. We may have to rethink our workshop though.
``I submitted a quote on a tank the other day and realized afterward that, if we win the contract, we won't be able to get the tank out through the factory door.''
The tank, Ling said, is 13,000 gallons; the door is not quite 20 feet high and is about 13 feet wide. The machine can weld sheet plastic up to about 1½ inches thick and 13 feet long, he said.
``It's one of only four or five such machines in Australia. The real benefit comes in being able to make cylindrical products.''
The butt welding machine is worth A$200,000 (US$147,900) with attachments, and Ling said he is seeing benefits already.
``It certainly speeds our manufacturing process,'' he said. ``The tanks we build are designed for the chemical and manufacturing industries, where structural integrity is very important. The best result from our old machines was 60 percent original sheet strength, but we get 80-90 percent strength with the butt welder.''
Viking's primary business currently is manufacturing PE/PP fume cupboards and extractors, but Ling said he expects industrial waste pre-treatment tanks to become its main business.