Mack Molding Co. is investing about $5 million to construct and equip an addition to its Inman, S.C., special-purpose molding facility.
Mack is boosting space of the dedicated large-part facility by 47 percent, installing two more mega-sized presses and projecting the addition of 30-45 jobs over three years.
Including the expansion, the facility will house six injection molding presses with clamping forces of at least 2,500 tons.
Space will remain available for two more presses after the current installation of the two new Cincinnati Milacron machines - one each of 4,000 and 2,600 tons.
Mack executives opted in 2000 to boost capabilities for molding unconventionally large parts at its Southern division facilities in Inman and Statesville, N.C.
The Inman stand-alone special-purpose 20,000-square-foot facility opened in 2001 with a 3,000-ton Engel, adding a 2,500-ton Engel in 2002, a 3,300-ton Demag in 2004 and a 3,350-ton Toshiba in 2007.
``We are a large player in large-part molding,'' said Ray Burns, president of Mack's Southern division.
The latest investment includes constructing an additional, 18,000 square feet to the special-purpose facility and buying the equipment. The company broke ground in September, and Mack expects to complete construction and get equipment operational by the end of February.
The entire facility has a ceiling height of 45 feet, is accessible by crane and has a reinforced-concrete foundation.
Mack purchased a seven-axis Kuka robot for each new press; automated material-handling conveyor systems from Automated Directions Inc. of Charlotte, N.C.; and Wittmann central drying and loading systems.
Milacron Inc. built the two Cincinnati Milacron-brand Maxima MG 2-Platen Series presses in Batavia, Ohio, and worked with Mack's rigging contractor for equipment disassembly, loading components on 20 trucks, staggered deliveries and sequenced offloading at the Inman facility.
Three super-sized loads had gross weights exceeding 120,000 pounds each and required police escorts through some states, said Ken Valko, Mack's facilities manager in Inman.
End markets for Mack's large parts include heavy trucks, recreational and utility vehicles and commercial home products including those for heating, ventilating and air-conditioning.
For one straight-injection project, Mack uses 23 pounds of resin in a single shot in molding a 60-inch-by-40-inch part.
In addition to the special-purpose Inman facility, Mack's Southern division has other Inman operations occupying 230,000 square feet and housing 12 injection molding machines from 1,000-2,000 tons of clamping force; and a 125,000-square-foot Statesville plant with 22 presses from 150-1,100 tons.
The division handles design and development functions in both locations, and both have grown. Some differences exist between the plants, but the facilities share many customers, said Joe Carinci, director of operations for the division.
Currently, Mack's Southern division employs 184 in Inman and 190 in Statesville and projects annual sales growth of 20-30 percent.
Arlington, Vt.-based Mack had sales of $291 million for the fiscal year ended June 30.