Horizon Plastics Co. Ltd. is refurbishing a structural foam molding machine to be ready for a pickup in orders.
The Cobourg, Ontario, firm is nearing the end of the summer slow season and is completing maintenance programs for an expected surge in orders this fall, according to Mike Springer, vice president of sales and marketing.
``Now is a good time to refurbish the machinery,'' Springer said in a telephone interview. ``We're busy in fall, winter and early spring.''
Springer said Horizon is taking on new molding programs and the tools are being built for them now. He declined to specify the applications and customers, but said the projects span four different industries and include new customers.
``These are new programs for September to December launches,'' he said.
Horizon's refurbished machine will be its 21st in production, the most structural foam machines in one corporate location anywhere, the company claims. Horizon's 21st press is a 750-ton Uniloy with a shot size exceeding 100 pounds. Horizon's molding machinery is spread among 300,000 square feet of space in multiple locations in Cobourg. About 400 employees run the machinery and do sales and administrative work.
Springer said an unexpected layoff in the spring was due to late wet weather that curbed orders for many outdoor products such as swimming pool accessories. Some 70 workers, many of them students, weren't needed when spring and early summer orders nose-dived. Springer said the slowdown was an anomaly because the company is growing.
In addition to structural foam molding, Horizon does structural web molding, a variant of structural foam molding that uses nitrogen gas to help fill out the mold rather than a chemical blowing agent.
Structural web molding, similar to gas-assisted injection molding, gives a Class A finish without the swirls evident on the surface of structural foam molded parts. Structural web molding gets its name from the weblike internal pattern typical of the process.
Springer said examples of structural web components include parts for swimming pools, medical equipment and some vehicles.