Orlando, Fla. — Sodick injection presses — high-precision machines popular for very tight-tolerance areas like micromolding and medical — can be pricey. But Plustech Inc. has rolled out a global platform version that brings the cost down for a broader market.
The global platform Sodicks are available in clamping forces from 30-200 tons, according to Len Hampton, U.S. national sales manager for the operation in Schaumburg, Ill.
"We think we own the top 10 percent of the tough applications out there, what we easily target," Hampton said, adding that the main Sodick line is a premium machine that gets a premium price.
"But in the pyramid of machines purchased, the bulk of the machines are, unfortunately, in the middle. Maybe less precision needed, and how can you justify the premium?" he asked.
Sodick highlighted the lower-priced machines at NPE2018. Hampton said the discount can be about 25-30 percent less than a traditional Sodick press. In Orlando, Hampton handed out a flier listing prices, titled "Do you still think Sodick is expensive?"
Also at NPE2018, the company introduced a new line of all-electric presses, called the eV-Line.
The U.S. operation has committed to selling a large number of the global platform, with cooperation from the manufacturing at Japanese press maker Sodick Co. Ltd. "They're made in multiples in those standard size ranges to make it more off-the-shelf and more affordable," he said.
That has generated interest from new customers. Hampton said Plustech sold 21 of the global platform presses at NPE2018.
Even with the move to more regular-inventory machines, Sodick's core market remains demanding high-end molding. Sodick presses use a two-stage injection system dubbed the V-Line, instead of the single reciprocating screw of traditional injection molding. The technology separates the functions of melting and injection. An electric-driven screw is mounted at an angle on top of the injection barrel, and the screw plasticizes the resin and feeds the melt into a chamber. There, a plunger pumps the melt into the mold.
The technology gives consistent shot volumes and melt densities, according to Sodick.
The all-electric eV-Line, which stands for all-electric V-Line, comes in three clamping-force sizes: 50, 100 and 200 metric tons. The five-point, double-toggle press gives a very fast clamping speed, Hampton said.