ORLANDO, FLA. — HPM — one of the oldest brands in the North American plastics machinery industry — made a comeback at NPE 2012. But NPE 2015 marked a real resurgence of the legendary name.
HPM North America Corp., backed by its $200 million parent company Guangdong Yizumi Precision Machinery Co. Ltd., officially launched a new large tonnage, two-platen HSII line of machines at last month's show in Orlando.
These hydro-mechanical presses, now available in sizes from 900 tons to 3,500 tons, are the product of a four-year development and manufacturing effort, HPM said. The company benchmarked the machines against other two-platen injection molding presses, ranging from advanced European machines to price-competitive, general-purpose machines, it added.
Since its rebirth, HPM has sold six machines — the smaller tonnage, toggle HST machines, first introduced in 2012, now in the range of 80 to 650 tons.
But with the new milestone of the HPII series, HPM projects a surge of sales — 60 machines between NPE and the end of the year, said HPM President William Flickinger.
“Since [the original] HPM manufactured two-platen machines, we basically didn't offer the larger toggle machines from Yizumi [outside of the HST tonnage range], because we felt most of our customers anyway prefer the two-platen machines. Now the new HSII line gives us the opportunity to sell to those customers who had previously bought the HPM two-platen machines.”
On the NPE show floor, an 1,100-ton HSII is running at HPM's booth, equipped with Shini robotics, and churning out automotive grilles.
The HSII series offers a compact footprint, 30 percent smaller than that of comparable three-platen machines. Its servo-hydraulic system can cut energy costs by 30 to 40 percent over conventional hydraulic systems. In addition, its dry-cycle times rival those of Europe's best and exceed those of comparably priced, general-purpose two-platen machines, HPM said.
The HSII series can accommodate even the largest deep-cavity molds. Diagonally positioned high-speed cylinders, a short clamping stroke, and a patented moving base for the sliding platen ensure rapid and precise mold opening and closing. Separate closed-loop control of the tie bar positions as well as patented variable-pitch locknuts deliver precise positioning of the mold halves, even distribution of clamping force and repeatable, reliable long-term performance.
HPM also is demonstrating a 320-ton HPT press, which is making a Frisbee-type flying disc giveaway. And a third machine, a 260-ton all-electric press, is molding Chinese-style soup spoons.
The all-electric line, to be named HSE, will make a full launch in summer. Flickinger said the company will gather feedback from the show this week and test the machine at its facility near Marion, Ohio.
The Marion location has expanded from two employees in July 2011 to a team of 24 now.
“And we are looking for two more [employees],” Flickinger said.
The facility currently consists of two office buildings totaling 10,000 square feet and a 35,000-square-foot plant, where engineers reassemble, customize and optimize machines for North American customers.
Machines up to 1,100 tons, including the HSII showcased this week at NPE, are reassembled in Ohio. “It takes the assembly away from customers,” he said. “When they arrive at the customers' plants, they are ready to run.”
Machines above 1,100 tons will be shipped from China, where HPM machines are made by Yizumi, directly to customers in North America.
Yizumi manufactures the HPM machines to an HPM North America specification and are inclusive of all of the necessary certifications and industry standard requirements, the company said.
The Ohio manufacturing facility plays a key part in HPM's pursuit of customization.
“In the past, the HPM organization prided itself on its ability to customize machines. Today, HPM North America can use modularity to provide similar flexibility and options at a lower cost. It's a different process, but it's aimed at the same goal,” the company said in a news release.
Cloud-based remote access
HPM rolled out a new standard feature called RemoteView, which enables HPM service personnel to remotely monitor and troubleshoot machine performance and perform upgrades at customers' factories.
A related, optional upgrade, StatusNow, can empower management or production personnel to remotely monitor production, alarm status and other essential parameters from anywhere.
These two features are offered through HPM's partnership with eWON, an award-winning provider of secure machine-to-machine communication products. eWON's technology is built around DIN rack-mounted industrial routers that connect the logic and control systems of injection molding equipment to secure, cloud-based servers operated by eWON.
These features are not only available to buyers of new HPM machines, but can also be retrofitted to the original HPM machines. “Most machines built by HPM from, say, 1995 to 2001, there is a good chance it could be retrofitted.”
Today, there are still thousands of those original HPM machines running in North America, going as far back as the 1960s.
HPM's new control group has been helping retrofit these old machines with Eurotherm's Maco control system, which will enable the installation of the remote access capabilities.
Based on Flickinger's observation, “the larger the machine [is], the more the customer can justify a control retrofit.” For smaller machines, “with the replacement prices, it is more economical to buy a new machine.”