Meese Orbitron Dunne Co. has installed North America's first fully automated Leonardo rotational molding machine, in its Madison, Ind., plant.
The company needs the equipment for additional capacity now and anticipated growth later, President Robert Dunne said.
The machine is making a proprietary line of recycling containers for the materials-handling industry, he said.
Before making the purchase, Meese Orbitron Dunne analyzed the competitive environment, the variety of available processes and materials, and the need to design and manufacture products better and faster.
The firm did not disclose how much it paid for the stretched Super 2000 model.
Meese Orbitron Dunne plans to expand its range of material offerings and to target markets where rotational molding has had little exposure. At certain volumes, ``this machine allows us to be more competitive with other processes including injection and blow molding,'' Dunne said.
The Leonardo can deal with ``almost anything that can be rotomolded.''
Leonardo maker Persico SpA touts the machine's ability to rotomold water filters, toys and pallets.
The machine has pneumatic cylinders for mold opening, primary and secondary rotation systems, an automatic product de-molding arm, automatic dosing systems and a spider with mold systems ready for changes.
The compact, energy-efficient machine reduces material waste, needs minimal operator attention, can directly control curing and heating cycles on the basis of internal temperature, and confines heating and cooling changes to the mold surface area, according to Persico.
Ashtabula, Ohio-based Meese Orbitron Dunne, a division of Meese Inc., had 2007 sales of $31.8 million, up slightly from the previous year. Meese Orbitron Dunne placed No. 17 on Plastics News' latest ranking of North American rotational molders.
Meese Inc. is part of family-owned Tingue, Brown & Co. of Saddle Brook, N.J.
In addition to Madison and Ashtabula, Meese Orbitron Dunne has plants in Saddle Brook and La Mirada, Calif., employs more than 200 and operates 28 rotational molding machines.
Persico of Nembro, Italy, launched the Leonardo more than three years ago. An unidentified U.S. company has two machines on order for this summer, according to Persico. Currently, 11 Leonardo machines operate in Italy, seven in France, five in England and one each in Spain and Australia.