Hoffer Plastics Corp. has purchased eight Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. injection presses this year, as Hoffer boosts molding of packaging and appliance parts in South Elgin, Ill.
The new machines include Wittmann Battenfeld robots and auxiliary equipment, such as grinders and loaders, and mold heaters. The equipment maker also supplied a central material-handling facility.
Hoffer Plastics is organized into small “focused factories” with about 12 machines, each managed as its own small company.
The most recent machines — four Battenfeld HM presses, each with 300 tons of clamping force — began molding parts Oct. 1 at a focused factory for packaging. The presses are paired with Wittmann Battenfeld robots, loading systems and mold heaters, said Rocky Brewer, Hoffer's manufacturing director.
Brewer said Hoffer repurposed the 8,000-square-foot space, which had been used for storage, as a molding area.
Hoffer started production on four 240-ton Battenfeld HM presses in April. Brewer said three of the injection molding machines are two-shot presses. He said new business required the additional machines. He declined to identify the parts or the customer, but said the two-shot molding machines will produce multicomponent handles for appliance knobs out of polypropylene and thermoplastic elastomers.
“It's an extension of our focused factory [for appliances],” Brewer said by phone. “We were awarded the new work and needed more machines.”
Hoffer now runs 111 injection molding machines at its factory in South Elgin.
President Bill Hoffer noted that Hoffer Plastics will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2013. “Investments of this nature set the stage for the third generation and their future direction and leadership of the company,” he said in a news release.
Wittmann Battenfeld Inc., the U.S. headquarters of the Austrian machinery maker, Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH, is based in Torrington, Conn.
Brewer said these are the first Wittmann Battenfeld machines Hoffer has purchased. The company has used Wittmann robots for years, and Brewer said the first round of presses that Hoffer bought earlier this year have run well.
“I just thought it would be good to package it all” with a single supplier, he said.