ORLANDO, FLA. — With apologies to poet Robert Burns, this year's NPE in Orlando definitely proved that “sometimes the best-laid schemes o' micromolders an' men go awry.”
Micromolding equipment manufacturer Boy Machines Inc. (W3303) had to scramble to redesign its booth two weeks before the show, after U.S. customs inspectors blocked a shipment of key machinery from the company's German headquarters factory bound for the NPE show floor.
“Our original shipment of machines was sent back to Germany,” said Franco Pettine, sales manager. “We had to throw something together in two weeks.”
It sent the firm into damage control, but they were able to piece together an exhibit showing some of the company's high-tech offerings, including a bolt-on co-injection unit to turn a regular machine into multi-component equipment.
Boy President Marko Koorneef said the bolt-on unit, its 2C XS model, is designed to help processors economize as they upgrade.
“Instead of investing in a second machine, the Boy injection unit can be integrated into any injection molding machine,” he said. “The Boy 2C XS offers an affordable entry into multi-component molding.”
One casualty that may be most noticed by show-goers for its absence, however; an injection molding machine manufacturing polycarbonate beer glasses, which would then be filled on the show floor with beer.
That machine was in the shipment rejected by U.S. customs inspectors, and sent back to German headquarters. But more on that later.
The company was still showing micromolding equipment from 11 tons clamping force to 110 tons, as it planned, making a range of products, including more common items like a four-part box with caps and frisbees, and the less common, a 0.009-gram liquid silicone rubber part molded in a specially-designed machine, in a partnership with Placentia, Calif.-based mold maker Kipe Molds Inc.
It was also showing, for the first time at an NPE show, a universal injection unit for its 25- to 60-ton models, its 25E to 60E series.
That allows companies to change out the screw and barrel in a machine without having to change the injection unit, said Pettine. It works for screws between 12 millimeters and 32 mm.
Boy's booth also had plenty of signage inviting people to ask about reshoring programs, which consisted of a 10 percent discount on machines for customers if they were bringing work back to the United States from overseas, Pettine said.
The program was launched in February for customers in North America, and does not apply to Boy customers elsewhere in the world, he said.
When asked how the company was evaluating if the work prompting the new investment was reshored, Pettine said the discount is being applied “widely.”
But back to the beer and the machines rejected at the U.S. border.
One shipment of machines Boy was sending from Germany included that beer glass-making machine and was labeled for U.S. customs office as containing “beer machine and mold,” said Koorneef.
The customs officers apparently thought that meant the kind of “mold” that can grow on old bread — not an injection mold — and so they opened up the crate, he said.
They saw it was not in fact the “bread mold” kind of mold, and would have OK'd it coming into the U.S., but found another problem.
Not all of the wood used in the shipping container was properly labeled as being treated to be free of bugs or other potential environmental contaminants, and so it had to be sent back to Germany, Koorneef said.
He was adamant during a show interview that Boy uses the proper wood required by the U.S. government, but he said the problem was that several stray boards that were cut to brace the machine inside the wooden box did not have the proper markings to indicate they were authorized.
The boards came from proper wood, but the people packing the machine took pieces of wood that did not each have the proper stamps or marking on the wood, he said.
“By mistake [packers] took the wrong end of the wood, and you're done,” he said.