Irrigation system specialist Hunter Industries Inc. of San Marcos, Calif., is adding more injection molding machines from Arburg Inc.
A 110-ton horizontal press was slated for June delivery to Hunter's Tijuana, Mexico, plant, and a 165-ton two-shot machine should arrive in San Marcos in July, said Marco Guerrero, Hunter molding production manager.
Hunter intends to add eight more Arburg horizontal, two-shot and specially built vertical machines during 2007, Guerrero said in an interview at NPE in Chicago.
Prior to the additions, Hunter was operating a total of 236 injection molding machines of 25-398 tons including 27 Arburg Allrounders, most with clamping forces of 60 tons.
Edwin J. Hunter, an inventor, entrepreneur and plastics advocate, founded Hunter Industries in 1981 in advancing development of a popular rotary sprinkler along with gear-driven rotors, controllers, valves, sprays and accessories. He retired in 1994 and died in 1998 at the age of 80.
The firm's original professional gear-driven pop-up sprinkler remains in production.
To meet internal needs, Hunter Industries began in-house production of injection molding machines, but maintenance was time consuming and downtimes could be lengthy.
In 2003, the firm decided to begin buying presses from mainstream equipment makers, and that brought an initial Arburg Allrounder into the Hunter inventory in early 2004.
Hunter bought 22 more Arburg horizontals and commissioned four 160-ton vertical Arburg custom machines with long strokes. Guerrero said properties of the specially built verticals are unique in the injection molding industry. The verticals are used to produce two types of 12-inch rotary sprinklers in San Marcos.
Internally, Hunter began making the verticals in 1993.
Guerrero said the Arburg verticals reduced overall cycle times of the two types by about 28 percent and make it possible for Hunter to reduce machine downtimes by 20 percent.
Hunter operates 152 presses in San Marcos, 19 in Tijuana and 85 at a plant in Cary, N.C.
In addition to rotary sprinklers, Hunter makes spray sprinklers and nozzles, valves, controllers, central controls and sensors.
Hunter Industries employs more than 1,000 and competes largely with Toro Co.'s Riverside, Calif.-based irrigation business and Rain Bird Corp. of Glendora, Calif.