Mack Molding Co. has added six new Toshiba injection presses this year, including four with clamping forces topping 1,000 tons.
The new machinery continues Mack's moves into large-tonnage molding, especially at its southern division plants in Inman, S.C., and Statesville, N.C.
Mack continues to strengthen its molding work for big parts used on large trucks, utility vehicles, golf carts, and lawn and garden equipment.
Julie Horst, Mack's communications director, said the Arlington, Vt.-based company now has 32 injection molding machines with clamping forces of 1,000 tons or more. She declined to put a dollar amount on the current six-press investment.
One of the machines, a 3,350-tonner installed at Mack's Inman site in mid-May, is one of the largest injection molding presses sold this year in the United States and the biggest ever for Mack. Inman's previous largest machine, a 3,300-ton press, was installed three years ago.
Mack had built a 25,000-square-foot addition to accommodate very large presses. The 3,350-ton Toshiba now fills out that expansion, said Joe Carinci, operations director at the southern division. In March, Mack finished a 16,000-square-foot addition to enlarge the Statesville factory.
Mack gave the following breakdown of the six Toshiba machines:
* 3,350-ton, 570-ounce press installed at Inman.
* 1,150-ton, 250-ounce press installed at Inman in mid-April.
* 1,150-ton, 250-ounce machine put into Statesville in mid-April.
* 720-ton, 104-ounce machine at Statesville in mid-April.
* 1,450-ton, 343-ounce press at Mack's plant in East Arlington, Vt., that makes cases for industrial batteries.
* 390-ton, 37.5-ounce all-electric press for a plant in Cavendish, Vt.
Carinci said the 1,150-ton press in Inman and the 720-tonner in Statesville replace older, 500-ton presses.
``We have an ongoing revitalization of our equipment. When it gets dated, we move into new equipment so that we are constantly upgrading our technology,'' he said.
Mack also continues to win new large-part work. Its big presses put the company into a select group of molders in the Southeast with such large presses.
Mack is not neglecting its northern division, however. The 1,450-ton press at East Arlington gives that plant additional capacity to mold battery cases.
Marc Colety, manager of the Cavendish factory in Vermont, said the 390-ton, all-electric Toshiba is molding a medical part.
Mack does not have many all-electric presses, but the company has good things to say about the new machine.
In Cavendish, Mack ran the same job, a medical part, on both the all-electric, and on a 350-ton hydraulic press. The all-electric averaged a 70 percent reduction in electricity consumption.
Colety said Mack needed the machine for the specific job, and decided to check out electric technology thoroughly.
``We wanted to make a determination on all the claims that have been made relative to energy usage,'' he said. ``We also had some products that we wanted more finite control over.''
Toshiba installed the all-electric press in January. Mack molded the part for four days on the hydraulic press, then on the all-electric. Central Vermont Power Service installed a meter to measure consumption on each machine. The state's energy-efficiency program helped to interpret the data.
Mack also found the all-electric Toshiba to be fast and accurate. Production records for eight different parts showed the all-electric press demonstrated anywhere from 7-30 percent cycle-time improvement, and scrap reduction of 4-20 percent.
``The investment's significant, and we wanted to validate the difference between the hydraulic and electric and when were we going to get our money back, and what was the return,'' Colety said.
Mack, with $277 million in 2006 sales, is the 22nd largest injection molding in North America, according to a Plastics News ranking. Mack also won Plastics News' 2006 Processor of the Year Award.