Lovers of injection molding — and automation — will find manufacturing nirvana at NPE 2015, when the Orange County Convention Center becomes a giant, modern plastics factory for one week.
The market for injection molding machines remains strong, as automotive production, medical molding and packaging continue robust growth. U.S. plastic part production has scrambled back to pre-Great Recession levels.
New orders for U.S. injection presses snapped back after the recession and now industry observers say shipments could reach the 4,000 level in 2015. NPE organizer the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. tabulates the data.
Machinery executives say press sales are being fueled both by new production capacity to meet demand from the expanding U.S. economy, and a resurgence of processors replacing older machines.
And the North American robot market keeps on booming. According to the Robotic Industries Association, 2014 was an all-time record, beating out the previous record year. Automotive investment in robots jumped ahead by 45 percent.
What was No. 2? Plastics and rubber product manufacturers.
Automation is one reason molding work is returning to North America from China and other low-wage countries — known as “reshoring.” And you thought the only reshoring in Florida came from pale-skinned snowbirds crowding the beaches!
Here's a look at injection molding machinery exhibitors at NPE 2015:
Absolute Haitian Corp. (Booth W3683): New 730-ton Jupiter II injection press with extra-wide platens, Zhafir Plastics Machinery's new Zeres S series of electric presses with a hydraulic accumulator. A Zhafir Venus high speed packaging machine, with a Sepro robot.
American Injection Molding Institute (Booth W2692): Beaumont Technologies Inc.'s new educational courses for injection molding.
Arburg Inc. (Booth W3729): Freeformer additive manufacturing machine, electric Allrounder 370 E demonstrating the Industry 4.0 concept of networked production, an electric Allrounder 520 A molding medical pipettes, two-component and liquid silicone rubber molding on an electric Allrounder 570 A, the U.S. premier of a hybrid Allrounder 630 H in a packaging version, long-fiber direct injection molding on a hydraulic Allrounder 820 S.
Athena Automation Ltd. (Booth W151): Energy-efficient hybrid injection molding machines with a wide range of options for application-specific customization. Option examples: PET preform package, stack mold carrier, rotary table, cube solution, multi-material injection, in-mold assembly.
Billion SAS (Booth W983-7): A 200-ton all-electric, multi-shot Select injection molding machine, molding a part with two matching hollow bodies of nylon, fitted with a TPE seal and four metal inserts. The part is an automotive overmolding application. The Multitube mold is from Georges Pernoud North America Inc.
Borche North America (Booth S21073): Three injection presses, including a 320-ton high-speed machine for packaging that will be running in-mold labels, and a 600-ton press with two-platen technology.
Boy Machines Inc. (Booth W3303): Nine small-tonnage presses, including an injection unit for multi-component molding. A Boy 60 E molding polycarbonate beer glasses.
Changshengda Machinery (Zhejiang) Co. Ltd. (Booth S12072): High precision injection molding machines and molds.
Engel Machinery Inc. (Booth W1303): Eight injection molding machines, including the new e-speed hybrid press with an electric clamp, the a redesigned two-platen duo press, a new e-pic robot and redesigned viper linear robots. For the first time at a North American trade show, Engel will produce a composite brake pedal in a one-shot process.
Fortune International Inc. (Booth W4121): Victor Taichung injection presses.
Guangzhou Unique Injection Molding Systems Co. Ltd. (Booth S3100): Turnkey PET preform molding systems provider of complete manufacturing solutions, including injection press, mold, robot and auxiliary equipment.
HPM North America Corp. (Booth W3343): New two-platen HS-II injection press with 1,100 tons of clamping force.
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. (Booth W2117): Debut of production system for PET barrier packaging built on a HyPET HPP5 platform running the company's Shotscope NX process and production monitoring system. Medical molding of several parts. Unify pre-assembled hot runner manifolds and Altanium Matrix2 hot runner and mold controllers. New valve gate nozzles.
Jon Wai Machinery Works Ltd. (Booth S30035): Injection molding machines.
JSW Plastics Machinery Inc. (Booth W2173): All-electric injection molding machines.
KraussMaffei Corp. (Booth W903): U.S. debut of GXH multi-component press, with parallel injection units. Display of the Adaptive Process Control and new MC6 Multitouch controller, FiberForm process producing airbag housings. All-electric presses in the CX, GX and AX series.
Lienfa Injection Molding machines/Fultech Service Group (Booth S16011): Horizontal and vertical injection molding machines, multi-color presses, hybrid machines.
LK Systems Inc. (Booth S16188): Energy efficient eXcel injection molding machines, featuring a hydro-mechanical clamp with a toggle mechanism.
Maruka U.S.A./Toyo (Booth W303): Toyo injection molding machines.
MGS Mfg. Group (Booth W3902): In-mold assembly of a cap with a molded-in gasket and septum/stopper, multishot equipment with a portable injection unit and portable rotary platen. Equipment for molding liquid silicone rubber. Automation systems.
Milacron LLC (Booth W2703): New M-PET 300, a servo-hydraulic injection press for molding PET and polypropylene preforms. New Ferromatik 580 platform offering a versatile mix of options. North American debut of the Klear Can plastic replacement for metal cans and glass jars. All-electric Roboshot with an E-Multi secondary injection unit and a rotary turntable demonstrating multi-component molding.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America Inc. (Booth W1575): Injection molding machines.
Negri Bossi North America (Booth W643): Four injection molding machines: 360-ton Vesta all-electric, 71-ton Eleos hybrid press with the new Sytrama One Series robot, 330-ton Cambio with new Sytrama S Series robot, 230-ton Canbimat multi-material press with a rotary mold table and Sytrama S Series robot,
Netstal (Booth W903): The division of KraussMaffei Corp. will mold 44-ounce stadium cups with in-mold labeling on a hybrid Elion 3200.
New Pacific Machinery Inc. (Booth W3571): Multiplas injection molding machinery with vertical clamp or horizontal clamp with insert molding and over-molding
Niigata (Booth W1363): Two new all-electric injection molding machines, including a 110-ton vertical toggle-clamp press with a low table height and independent injection profiles for separate molds, and a horizontal machine with no lower-side tie bar bushings and FDA-approved grease supply system. Two other all-electric presses.
Ningbo Aoli Machinery Co. Ltd. (Booth S31149): Injection molding machines, molds for household products.
Ningbo Haitai Industry and Trade Co. (Booth S29138): Universal injection molding machines, PET preform injection molding machines, presses to mold fittings.
Ningbo Hwamda Machinery Co. Ltd. (Booth S12088): Variable-pump injection molding machine, high-speed packaging press, PET preform machine, press for molding thermosets.
Nissei America Inc. (Booth W1529): Six injection molding presses. Small-tonnage hybrid NPX7 press for micromolding, with just 7.7 tons of clamping force, and a 12-millimeter inline screw. New Tact IV controller. Hybrid injection press. Electric press molding 32-cavity medical parts. Hybrid vertical press. Electric press molding liquid silicone rubber, electric press running beverage containers.
Powerjet Plastic Machinery Co. Ltd. (Booth S35096): Injection molding machines.
Sodick injection molding machines by Plustech Inc. (Booth W163): New micro vertical molding machine with 0.9-second dry cycle, 100-ton press running an automotive part, micro molding press running liquid crystal polymer.
Stork IMM (Booth W929): A 4400-3550 Pail Line injection molding machine making a half-gallon pail in a two-cavity mold on a 6.5-second cycle time.
Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery (Booth W623): North American introduction of the SE-EV-HD (heavy-duty) all-electric press, with the Flow Front Control (FFC) system for complete, even filling. After-sales support for Sumitomo machines and legacy presses by Van Dorn and Newbury.
Tech-Bole USA (Booth S32055): Injection presses made by Ningbo Shuangma Machinery Industry Co. Ltd.
Tederic North American Machinery Inc. (Booth W8383): Injection molding machines, auxiliary equipment, color materbatch materials.
Toshiba Machine Co. America (Booths W1563, W1763, W1863): Injection molding machines, robots.
Ube Machinery Inc. (Booth W603): Two large-tonnage injection molding machines. A 950-ton all-electric Ube UN950. A 1,000-ton full servo hydraulic Ube Sevomax US 1000, built in its facility in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Welltec Machinery Ltd. (Booth S12017): Injection molding machine, rubber injection press.
Wilmington Machinery (Booth W1255): Structural foam molding machines.
Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. (Booth W2743): New Smartpower press, two-shot EcoPower press doing in-mold labeling, MicroPower press molding liquid silicone rubber, MacroPower press. All injection presses integrated with Wittmann robots.