Metro Custom Plastics Inc., a custom molder in Arlington, Texas, upgraded two Van Dorn HT injection presses a 1989 press and one from 1992 using Eurotherm Inc.'s retrofit Maco Compact HT Series controller.
Metro bought the used HTs at an auction, according to Mike Havel, president and owner of the molding company.
Demag Plastics Group stopped producing the Van Dorn HT toggle-clamp press in 2007, then later ended all assembly of injection molding machines at the plant in Strongsville, Ohio. The HT has an installed base of about 8,000 presses in North America.
Havel loves the HT. Thirteen of the 14 injection molding machines Metro runs are HTs. (The 14th is a Milacron Roboshot). The presses have clamping forces of 150-450 tons.
The reason I like them is my maintenance guys like them, and the people on the shop floor know how to work them. And they're workhorses, Havel said.
So Havel decided to add new controllers, replacing the original Van Dorn CRT-B controllers. Eurotherm, based in Leesburg, Va., introduced the HT controller in 2008. The big thing was, we were having massive problems with the old CRT-B controllers, he said.
Havel said he did not want to buy new machines, but he did want to invest in his business. And it paid off, as the new controllers reduced scrap by 3.5 percent, cut machine downtime by double-digit percentages and boosted total machine productivity by 5 percent.
Steve Schroeder, Eurotherm's global business development manager, said the Maco Compact HT Series controller can replace old CRT-B and CRT-C controllers, as well as all Pathfinder units.
Sales are going very well, Schroeder said. We've had a lot of interest and we have installed several in different areas of the country.
He said Eurotherm also has retrofit control packages for other Van Dorn models.
Schroeder said Metro Custom Plastics is an example of a company that has continued to invest and improve its operation, even during the recession.
[Havel] has the foresight to selectively find a way to improve his productivity not just to take care of his current customers, but to be ready for when it picks up again, he said.
Metro Custom Plastics does custom molding and makes a proprietary product: plastic protectors that fit over oil-field pipe to protect the threaded portion during shipping.
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