Custom injection molder Vision Plastics Inc. of Wilsonville, Ore., plans to install at least 20 Toshiba Machine Co. electric presses as replacements for hydraulic machines in the next 30 months.
Vision made a $3 million commitment for the electrics at a June 26 meeting with Toshiba at NPE2009 in Chicago, said John Normandin, Vision president.
The order surprised Tom McKevitt, national sales and senior marketing manager with Toshiba in Elk Grove Village, Ill.
I talked to them two or three times during the show, but I did not understand where we stood with Vision, he said in a telephone interview.
McKevitt had discussions at NPE with Normandin and Ronald Stevens, a co-founder of Vision and the company's CEO.
Vision is investing in the equipment to save energy, and to prepare for an improving economy.
We want to anticipate the end of the recession and be in the driver's seat with the most modern equipment, Normandin said. In addition, the new machines will be 50-60 percent more efficient in energy use than the existing hydraulics, he said.
McKevitt said Toshiba will include its optional proprietary iPaqet monitor system on each Vision press, allowing linkage of all of the new machines on one server. Toshiba introduced iPaqet in 2003 and has installations of the real-time system in at least six North American plants now. A standard installation on Toshiba presses is known as iPaqet Lite.
Vision plans to replace some Toshiba, JSW and Nissei presses that have 10-20 years of service. We will not replace the 11 [hydraulic] Arburgs or the four JSW electrics, Normandin said.
Six new Toshiba electrics of 100-390 tons will go into service this year. All are in stock except for one particular machine, McKevitt said.
Vision will take delivery of the additional 14 electrics with clamping forces of up to 500 tons during 2010 and 2011.
We will probably replace our material drying systems, Normandin said. We are looking at a Maguire vacuum system. They will send out a dryer to test, and if it looks good, we will proceed during this calendar year.
Vision intends to transfer some existing robots to the new presses. It is likely we will get some new robots in the next two years, likely from Toshiba, Normandin said.
Vision expects to receive financial incentives from the state of Oregon to replace old equipment with new models.
The Wilsonville site employs 130, operates 45 standard and specialized presses of 17-950 tons and occupies a 75,000-square-foot facility. Key Vision customers manufacture data-storage devices, medical equipment and test and measurement equipment.
Vision has equity in Hong Kong Precision Co. Ltd., which began injection molding and assembly in 2005 at a facility in Shenzhen, China. The site employs more than 300 and operates 59 presses of 28-600 tons. The Toshiba purchases have no impact on the Shenzhen operation.