Long Beach, Calif. — Family-owned Medway Plastics Corp. is having success using fully insulated Thermal Control Solution-brand radiant heating systems on its larger injection molding machines.
"The heaters are all working well," said Thomas Hutchinson Jr., Medway Plastics president and co-owner. "Some have been in service for more than six years without a failure. Wiring is different than the standard setup, but it is not rocket science."
George McDaniel, Medway maintenance manager, said, "I love the heaters. They are much more efficient. You can put your hand on them."
McDaniel cites one problem: "Since we put in the TCS bands, they do not have covers, and the material guys can step on them," although the systems can continue to function properly, he said. Older-style heater bands have metal covers.
Otherwise, "we love them and are happy with their operation," McDaniel said. After previously using barrel insulation jackets, "we noticed a drastic temperature drop in the shop."
McDaniel said he now notices the higher temperatures being generated by non-TCS-equipped small-tonnage machines with their standard covers.
The TCS-brand systems from Rex Materials Inc. help Medway control process temperatures within 1°F.
"That is amazing," McDaniel said during an office visit in Long Beach.
Standard uninsulated mica and ceramic bands can yield tremendous amounts of excess heat.
The initial TCS systems at Medway utilized a six-part octangular-segmented design. Next came a clamshell TCS concept. The most recent TCS units — the system's third design — have an exterior coating, a cable tray and revised electrical connections to ease installation.
Medway has installed TCS systems on 16 machines, all 500 tons or larger, McDaniel said. Medway operates 26 presses in Long Beach.
All four of the injection presses in Medway's Pflugerville, Texas, plant use TCS systems.
Rex manufactured the systems at a greenfield-developed plant in Council Grove, Kan. Rex acquired another production facility in South Hill, Va., in 2013.
Medway received rebates from utilities in California and Texas for the equipment.
Rex Materials began manufacturing TCS units in 2004, and according to the company, very few replacement parts have been ordered.