UPDATED — Itech South, part of Injection Technology Corp., bought seven Negri Bossi injection molding presses, equipped with Sytrama robots, at NPE 2015.
The equipment is part of Itech South's 32,000-square-foot expansion in Westminster, S.C. Itech bought one press with a clamping force of 250 tons, two 550-ton presses, one 1,000-ton machine, two 1,300-ton presses and one 1,500-tonner.
The order represents a $4 million investment.
Negri Bossi officials and sales representative Lorraine Trueworthy of QED Inc. in Charlotte, N.C., worked with Itech South President Carl Morris on the specific mix of injection presses.
The expansion will make room for the seven presses, along with new areas for shipping, tool storage and repair. The molder will add a new entrance road to access the shipping area.
Itech South will install the presses beginning in July. The last of the new machines is scheduled for delivery in early 2016.
At Negri Bossi's NPE booth, an upbeat Tony Firth, president of Negri Bossi North America, said attendees opened their wallets at the show.
“We're selling everything we can make at the moment,” he said.
“The economy is obviously doing well for everybody, but if things progress the way they're progressing for us now, I can see our growth being something close to 40 percent this year, in the U.S.,” Firth said.
Italy-based Negri Bossi is coming up on a year of new ownership. In April 2014, Italy's Sacmi Group announced it sold Negri Bossi to private equity firm Ausable Capital Partners LLC and Kingsbury Group, an industrial machinery company in Rush, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester.
Under the new ownership, Negri Bossi, considered the largest Italian manufacturer of injection presses, is maintaining its manufacturing operations in Cologno and Imola, Italy, and in India.
Ausable and Kingsbury brought in Craig Ward as the new Negri Bossi CEO in mid-2014. Ward has a background in injection molding machinery, robotics and mold-making.
“I've been in plastics all my life,” he said at NPE.
Ward, who holds a polymer degree and an MBA from schools in England, served as technical director of the United Kingdom operations of Italian injection press maker Sandretto. After Cannon Group bought Sandretto in 1997, he worked at Cannon in Turin, Italy, for five years. Then Ward returned to the U.K. to become general manager of Star Automation's branch there. Ward then spend about eight years as director of marketing and sales for a European toolmaker, before he accepted the job at Negri Bossi.
Firth said that U.S. manufacturing of presses is possible if it makes sense in the future. But not now, with the strong dollar and weak euro, which gives European-made machinery a big cost advantage, he said.
“That being said, it's the intent for us to bring manufacturing here, if it's economically viable,” Firth said of the United States. Given the currency situation, he said, “There's justification to make that jump right now. But it does open the opportunity to manufacture in the future.” He added that the cost of manufacturing has to be favorable, which is “really a function of currency and local costs.”
Kingsbury makes extrusion, conveying, coating and converting machinery.
At NPE, Negri Bossi showed four injection molding machines:
• A 330-ton Vesta all-electric VE330-1580 molding coat hangers on a four-cavity mold, using gas-assisted technology.
• A 65-ton Eleos 62-210 press molding a case for sunglasses, with a living hinge. The press has huge tie-bar spacing and a cantilever, two-platen clamping unit, all in a small footprint.
• A 300-ton Canbio Evolution series, for general purpose molding, on a 300-ton eV 300-2100 running a large cam gear for the bowling equipment business.
• A 210-ton Canbimat Multi-Material eV 210-850h-320v, with a rotary mold table molding a two-color container.