Custom thermoformer Les Produits Plastitel Inc. of Laval, Quebec, has increased efficiency, added new equipment and, last year, experienced a 9 percent boost in sales.
``With our setup here, it is possible to go up about 25-35 percent'' before reaching production capacity, said President Normand Lucier.
In April, Plastitel began operating a large vacuum forming machine from Geiss AG of Sesslach, Germany. The forming area measures 98.4 inches by 62.9 inches by 29.5 inches, and the machine has a fully automatic sheet loader magazine.
Plastitel operates ``the biggest Geiss machine sold in North America,'' said Michael Roche, regional sales manager for the manufacturer's Geiss Thermoforming USA LLC unit.
Plastitel operates seven thermoforming machines - including the new one from Geiss, two from Maac Machinery Corp. and four made in-house - and three computer numerically controlled machines, each with five axes.
CMS SpA of Zogno, Italy, supplied all three CNC machines with the most recent becoming operational in November 2006 and offering cutting capability to 11.8 feet by 8.5 feet.
``With these three CNCs, it is like six machines'' with less sophisticated characteristics, Lucier said.
The latest productivity gain allowed Plastitel to donate one older CNC machine to College St. Jerome, an institution of general and vocational education in St. Jerome, Quebec, in February 2007, and sell another surplus CNC to a Los Angeles-area firm.
Plastitel utilizes three thermoforming processes with about 35 percent each in vacuum and pressure modes and the remaining 30 percent in twin-sheet forming.
Plastitel can mold shapes in different planes, achieve high-quality welds and work with various inserts composed of metal, wood or pultruded parts.
Plastitel has formed components for medical equipment, industrial devices and transportation systems including buses.
In April, FranÃ§ois Cauchon joined Plastitel as sales and marketing director, a new position for the firm.
Plastitel was founded in 1987, employs 50, including four toolmakers and three engineers, occupies 35,000 square feet and had 2007 sales of C$5 million (US$5.1 million).