Nicolet Plastics Inc. deals with the manufacture of many highly complex parts, but now it is preparing to handle larger parts as well.
In August the company installed its largest injection molding machine, a Toyo 610 ton press, to prepare for future growth.
“We're finding that as our customers continue to grow, they want the larger tonnage presses to supply some of their parts,” said Bob Gafvert, business development manager of the Mountain, Wis.-based custom injection molder.
Gafvert said previously its largest machine was 500 tons, but now Nicolet needs more versatility. The new machine is also fitted with a Sepro SX-35 robot and an ATS quick changer.
He said that by adding the larger press and more automation, Nicolet can handle anything from a disposable part to high-end medical and aerospace components. The company now has 20 presses ranging from 51 to 610 tons of clamping force.
The company has 80 employees working at its 44,000-square-foot facility and had to rearrange its presses to fit in the newest machine. It added two Toyo presses in December — 110 and 200 ton models.
Gafvert said the company also has implemented a focus target market segment approach to better handle orders. He said that system helped the company handle a large domestic transfer order in February, when a customer brought in more than 60 tools and a three-month backlog.
“We had to be fast and flexible,” he noted.
Nicolet formed a dedicated team that included a mold maker and scheduler to make sure the resources were there for the order.
Nicolet, a finalist for last year's Plastics News Processor of the Year award, started in 1986 as a mold making operation. Now it focuses on handling injection molding products of increasing complexity.