CHICAGO (June 27, 3:50 p.m. EDT) — HPM is investing $4 million into its headquarters plant in Mount Gilead, Ohio, and launched an engineering services company in India earlier this month for use by the machinery maker itself, and customers that need help designing a part, a subassembly, even a Web site.
“We are going to offer a service to our customers to take a cradle-to-grave philosophy, where we take part concept and do full analysis, to mold flow, to the material engineering, and even design the mold,” said Christopher Filos, president and chief executive officer of HPM and its parent, Taylor's Industrial Services LLC.
HPM makes injection molding machines, sheet extrusion lines and die-casting machines. Last year, Taylor's Industrial Services bought Italian injection press maker Sandretto Industrie SpA and Windsor Kunststofftechnologie GmbH, a German maker of retrofit injection units. The company also sells Trueblood vertical-clamp presses.
But you didn't get to see any of that stuff at NPE 2006 — HPM went machineless at its booth in the South Hall of McCormick Place.
HPM is not the first machinery maker to have no machines at an NPE — Milacron Inc. did it in 2003, although Milacron did have plenty of video screens, remote links to customer plants and sample parts.
But HPM may be the first to have gone all the way: There wasn't much in its booth except for some comfy couches, coffee tables, two plasma-screen TVs showing World Cup soccer matches, a black Hummer as a prize for a customer raffle and a VIP lounge for customers. Filos is TiVo'ing the games so soccer fans won't miss any action.
“We just want our customers to come in, have a drink, relax, have something to eat and talk about whatever,” Filos said. “We're not really interested in the hard-core sell of machinery. We're not me-too; we're pretty customized with our equipment.”
HPM specializes in large-tonnage injection presses and sheet lines. Gerry Sposato, HPM director of sales and marketing, said HPM has made sheet lines up to 33 feet wide. The company also has produced coextrusion lines with as many as 11 layers — hard to show at a trade show.
So for HPM at NPE 2006, it was a week-long hospitality suite — in a 65,000-square-foot booth.
“We're 130 years old this year,” Filos said, referring to HPM's founding in 1877 as a builder of apple presses. “We have a very large booth and we decided we can either fill it with machines or we can hold a five-day customer hospitality booth, rather than having a suite one or two nights a week.”
Filos said HPM, Sandretto and Windsor have about 65,000 machines running at customer plants. “If the customer's really serious about a machine, we'll take them to any of our 65,000 machines in operation around the world.”
The laid-back booth is not a reflection of HPM's attitude toward its operations or customers, Filos said. “We're the only one in the industry that can design a machine, build it, rig it, move it and then buy it back,” he said.
The units of Tinton Falls, N.J.-based Taylor's Industrial Services include Taylor's Towing and Heavy Hauling, which hauls injection presses and other industrial equipment.
On June 3, Filos attended an inauguration of Taylor's Engineering Pvt. Ltd. in Chennai, India. The operation, which started in March, employs 32. He said employment should grow to 50 by the end of this year.
Taylor's Engineering will do some mechanical and electrical engineering services for HPM, Sandretto and Trueblood equipment. But the effort goes beyond machinery to customer support, Filos said.
“If there's a customer who doesn't have a large engineering facility, they can come to us and we will assist in the project,” Filos said.
HPM announced the $4 million investment before NPE. It included:
* Additional seats of the SolidWorks computer-aided-design system, plus an upgrade package so engineers can do wiring and piping for machines, all on SolidWorks.
* A digital telephone system that eventually will replace land lines.
* A renovated reception area, including building a two-story atrium. The reception area will display the machinery maker's history and technology.
* Remodeling old offices and adding new offices and a conference room.
* Nitrex equipment for gas nitriding of screws, tie bars, bushings and other wear components.Nitriding hardens those parts to improve corrosion resistance. Filos said HPM used to send the parts out for plasma nitriding. The Nitrex system is big enough to hold wear components for a 3,500-ton injection molding machine, and treat them all in one batch, he said.
* HPM also has added several machine tools, including turning equipment and horizontal machining centers.