Ferriot Inc. is investing more than $1 million in a project that includes the installation of a new 2,250-ton Negri Bossi Bi-Power injection molding press, six-axis robot, auxiliary equipment and infrastructure improvements.
Craig Ferriot, president of the Akron, Ohio-based custom injection molder and contract manufacturer, said business is increasing, especially for larger parts, including cosmetic enclosures for markets such as business machines, electronics, medical devices, industrial components and consumer products.
"One of Ferriot's niches is large, high-pressure structural foam medical and business machine housings that require high cosmetic finishes, which is one of the target markets for this press," he said in an email interview.
The new press will come equipped with a wireless Amico system for remote monitoring in addition to an IQMS ERP system that Ferriot installed and implemented across all of its presses in 2015. Press connectivity and industry 4.0 upgrades enable better reporting to improve processes and efficiencies, Ferriot said.
"IQMS connects our machines to our enterprise system, allowing process monitoring in real time," he added. "This gives visibility of production status and traceability to customer orders."
The 2,250-ton Negri Bossi will be Ferriot's largest machine yet — presses at the company start at clamping forces of 42 tons — and the company's first time documenting the installation for all to see.
To do so, Ferriot has installed a GoPro camera on the ceiling of the production area where the new press will be assembled. Each week, the company will provide photo updates online and will eventually release a time-lapse video of the full installation.
"By using time-lapse photography, we want to show what it takes to install a piece of equipment like this and, in the end, will produce a video that shows the process from start to finish," Ferriot said.
So far, the concrete foundation has been poured and cured, and the infrastructure has been put in place. Arrival of the press and auxiliary equipment, which will be delivered on five semitruck loads, was delayed three weeks due to weather at the port and a standstill at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Ferriot expects the first truck to reach the facility the week of Jan. 29.
The press should be fully operational and producing the first orders for customers by mid March, he added.
"We intend to continue investing in technology and retire old assets," Ferriot said in a follow-up phone interview. "We're seeing most of the opportunities right now in machinery that is 500 tons and up."
With the addition of the new Negri Bossi press, Ferriot will have 21 injection molding machines at its 200,000-square-foot facility. The company has roughly 130 employees after increasing its workforce by about 15 percent over the last year, Ferriot said.
Ferriot ranks No. 186 in the annual survey of injection molders by Plastics News, with estimated sales of $30 million.