Evco Plastics has converted 5,000 square foot of space into a technical center as it starts a program aimed at remaking its headquarters into an innovation center.
“We gutted out a room and started all over again — new walls, new lighting, new crane, new machines,” said Dale Evans, president of the Deforest, Wis.-based injection molder, in a telephone interview.
The company added four molding machines, ranging from 38-500 tons of clamping force, including a new 90-ton Engel press. The space includes a climate control center and a 5-ton bridge crane.
Evco's tech center has an automation research and development area for robotic cell building and assembly, vision testing, robotic training, and mechanical bench testing. The company plans to add solar green light pipes and an analytical material testing lab.
Evans said being able to conduct tests on its molds and cell systems will make the company more efficient. With the tech center, new projects will be debugged and ready to run when they're sent into production.
He said Evco has been growing in the medical device field, in packaging and in producing large parts.
“It has got to have an element of difficulty that helps makes us competitive,” Evans said.
The tech center is the first phase of creating an innovation center, which Evans said will continue next year.
Evco employs more than 900 worldwide and operates 146 injection molding machines ranging from 28-3,500 tons. It has two other plants in DeForest, as well as facilities in Oshkosh, Wis., and Calhoun, Ga. In Mexico, Evco has two plants in Monterrey and one Juarez. It also has a facility in Shenzhen, China.
Evans said that all of its facilities are set up to run the same way.
“Whether it is in China, Mexico or America, we always look for the best way to do it,” he said.
The company was founded in 1964 by his father Don, who as chairman still finds time to work on prototyping. Dale Evans's brothers Steve and Chris also work at the company.