Custom injection molder Tulip Molded Plastics Corp. has opened a new factory in a Niagara Falls, N.Y., area redeveloped after remediation of a polluted waste site.
Tulip has begun leasing an 82,500-square-foot facility at the site built by Ontario Specialty Contracting Inc., which also was involved in remediating the site.
Tulip has installed nine new Haitian injection presses in the new, $11.7 million facility. That brings the total presses in Niagara Falls to 12 for the Milwaukee-based company, according to Tulip President and CEO Craig Kellogg.
The company has signed a long-term lease with OSC for the new plant, which replaces its former manufacturing facility on a 7-acre brownfields site. That plant dated to 1904, and the surrounding area was contaminated by previous industry until an OSC affiliate took on the four-year remediation program.
The Niagara Falls operation molds polypropylene battery cases as well as components for diverse industries such as automotive, furniture, defense, appliances and sporting goods. The company has molded a range of resins, including engineering types.
The operation includes compounding machinery that mainly makes materials from recycled PP sourced from lead-acid batteries. The compounding unit also formulates polyethylene compounds and recycles PP from other industrial and commercial sources, Kellogg said in a phone interview.
OSC's main direct business is factory construction around the United States, explained Andrew Cappello, OSC's vice president of finance, in a phone interview from his Buffalo, N.Y., office.
"We demolished the old structure, excavated the site, disposed of the old soil, added new soil and backfilled the site," Cappello said. Brightfields, an affiliate of OSC, purchased the site and did the remediation while OSC constructed the new facility. OSC is a private company.
State agencies supported the remediation and factory construction. The New York State Power Authority provided a $1 million grant as well as 1,500 kilowatts of power. Empire State Development provided $300,000 in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits and a $250,000 capital grant. National Grid's economic development program gave a $250,000 grant to OSC to build a new substation and power service to the new Tulip building.
Kellogg said the new Haitian machinery helps ensure quality and efficiency.
"We can put any of our molds in a suitably sized machine and they run well," Kellogg stated in a news release.
"In fact, the up time and cycle time improvement exceeded our expectations. The interchangeability from one machine to another is an advantage."
Tulip installed four Haitian Jupiter 6500 two-platen injection presses with clamps of 731 tons, four 360-ton Mars MAII 3200 servo-hydraulic presses and a Zhafir Zeres ZE 400 all-electric press with a 44-ton clamp. Installation occurred in February.
"We evaluated reliability, cost, lead time for delivery and availability of spare parts and service," said Jason Tanger, a Tulip processing engineer.
"We were working with a budget, so cost was a major consideration," added Kellogg. "In the end, it came down to our comfort level with their support."
Rob Johnson, plant manager for the Niagara Falls operation, said the presses feature tighter process control and less variation than previous presses.
"It has been key in our ability to handle the move and still give customers on-time delivery and quality," Johnson said.
Other major equipment installed included a new power system, auxiliary molding equipment, new chilling system, material handling system and central air compressor system. The plant has all LED lighting for energy efficiency.
"It is a joy to walk through the plant," claimed Kellogg. "Morale is up among our employees. We anticipate that this project will help us generate new business."
Tulip has ISO 9001 certifications for injection molding in Niagara Falls and Milwaukee, engineered resins in Niagara Falls, and cold form lead metal in Milwaukee.
Absolute Haitian, based in Worcester, Mass., is a partner in sales and service in the United States and Canada for Ningbo Haitian Machinery Co. Ltd. of Ningbo, China. The latter shipped more than 29,500 injection presses in 2016 with clamps as large as 7,425 tons.