Canadian injection molding machinery maker Athena Automation Ltd. has a new name. The Vaughan, Ontario-based manufacturer is now Niigon Machines Ltd.
The company officially announced the name change in an Oct. 25 news release, though it had already been offering a press line named Niigon.
Robert Schad, who founded Athena in 2008, said in a statement that the new name "allows us to emphasize our business objective of becoming a global leader in customized injection molding machines."
Phone calls to the company for further comment were not immediately returned.
The Niigon name — an Ojibwa word that means "for the future" — is a nod to the Moose Deer Point First Nation people who live in a remote area on Canada's Georgian Bay about 125 miles north of Toronto.
Schad has a decades-long connection to the Pottawatomi of Moose Deer Point that began in the mid-1990s when his car broke down and members of the First Nation group helped him out. Schad also had cottage and boat in the area.
From 2000 through 2007, Schad's charitable organization, the Schad Foundation, donated $28 million to Niigon Technologies Ltd., an injection molding facility owned by the First Nation group. The facility started molding parts in 2001 using leased injection presses and automation equipment from Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.
Niigon Technologies, however, wound up tangled in the middle of the bitter legal battle between Schad and Husky. The molding plant shut down in 2013.
In May, at NPE, Schad highlighted that Athena had renamed its press line Niigon. "We have the rights to the Niigon name on a global basis," Schad told Plastics News. "They love the idea that their name is now going global."
Now, with the new name for Athena, the Niigon brand is getting an even higher profile in the plastics industry.
Niigon machines can be customized with more than 50 pre-engineered options, including the stack machine, rotary table and cube molding in addition to multimaterial, two-stage injection and injection-compression. The presses are available in three basic models from 150-550 metric tons, according to the company's website, and come with a five-year warranty.