Custom injection molder R&D Plastics LLC of Hillsboro, Ore., has acquired and relocated a 1992-model 720-ton Toshiba press back to Oregon.
In 1993, it was bought new by SPM Hillsboro a mile down the street from us, said Rod Roth, R&D president. Then it was shipped to SPM in Mexico when the local [Oregon] plant closed. Now it is 'home' again.
R&D replaced a less-efficient 1975 Toshiba with a clamping force of 570 tons.
When we started up in 1996, we got the 570 for practically nothing, but we didn't have any big parts to run, Roth said. By 2008, it was our most utilized machine, but also our oldest.
The 720-ton Toshiba has a shot capacity of 125 ounces and is outfitted with a Star TW-1300FM servo robot. It gives us better control and enables us to run larger parts for which demand has grown since H-P left the area, he said. Almost a decade ago, Hewlett-Packard Co. relocated a printer manufacturing operation in Vancouver, Wash., to Mexico and then Singapore.
The busiest molder in the area, Piller Plastics [in Washougal, Wash.], is primarily a large-part molder, Roth noted. I am not sure why this is happening. Maybe the larger parts in lower volumes are too expensive to ship from offshore. For example, going to large parts was a part of Mack Molding's strategy. Mack Molding Co. is in Arlington, Vt.
R&D employs about 48-50 and runs 11 presses of 40-720 tons in 13,000 square feet of space. The firm had 2009 sales of $4.8 million, down from $5.1 million in 2008. Roth expects 2010 sales to exceed $5 million.
R&D hired a recent graduate of Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., for manufacturing engineering, quality control and project management.
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