Canada's Horizon Plastics International Inc. recently started up what it believes is the largest low-pressure structural foam molding machine in existence at its headquarters plant in Cobourg, Ontario. The 2,500-ton Uniloy multinozzle machine has a physical footprint of about 14 feet wide by 65 feet long, and it stands nearly 25 feet high.
Owner and CEO Brian Read detailed the $4 million investment in an April 4 interview at NPE2012 in Orlando. The machine's vital statistics are impressive: The platen measures 157 by 102 inches, with 130 inches of daylight. Its 320-pound shot size is fed by twin 6-inch screws.
The new machine, which began operating about three months ago, is Horizon's 33rd structural foam machine in Cobourg. Read claims the site is home to the most multinozzle structural foam machines in any single plant in the world. The 320,000-square-foot facility operates around the clock seven days a week. Horizon employs more than 350 people.
Read said the new machine, which sits on a 3-foot-thick concrete slab, is ideal for making large, lightweight parts with low stress factors, and it has been modified to allow Horizon to run a wider range of resins, including more recycled materials. Horizon foams its parts with non-ozone-depleting nitrogen, he said, pointing out that, by using different nozzles, the company can process polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, ABS and polycarbonate, among other materials.
Read foresees applications in such sectors as building and construction, automotive and materials handling. He added that the new machine's massive dimensions will allow Horizon to integrate several parts into one in the molding process, eliminating the need for metal fasteners, which in turn will make the resulting parts easier to recycle.