In 2019, International Rubber Products Group Inc. of San Clemente, Calif., plans to look for complementary lines to support its IRP Medical division.
"We have tripled the size of the medical business in three years," said Trey Atkins, IRP Medical executive vice president, in an interview.
In September, the division in San Clemente began operation of a UR-5 collaborative robot from Universal Robots A/S, the industrial automation segment of North Reading, Mass.-based Teradyne Inc.
Initially, the robot automatically demolded liquid silicone rubber menstrual cups from a 110-ton all-electric Arburg Allrounder 470 Edrive press. The UR-5 is also useful now on a 145-ton hybrid Arburg Allrounder 520A liquid injection molding machine.
"We plan to deploy the UR-5 on other projects," Atkins said. "If successful, we will purchase additional UR-5s."
Phillip Benker, engineering manager, said: "We need to make minor adjustments to be able to apply this robot to all 10 of our LSR machines. We are currently working to find existing and/or new products to implement this technology."
The division does LSR work on Arburg, Sodick and Engel presses. The most recent addition — a 105 ton all-electric Engel e-mac 310 — went into service in late 2017.
IRP Medical also operates three Dr. Boy & Co. GmbH injection molding machines that process gum rubber for aerospace connector work.
The division has embarked on phase one in the establishment of a 1,500-square-foot toolroom. The site already operated a refurbished Bridgeport mill with a power feed accessory.
IRP Medical procured an automatic surface grinder from Kent Industrial USA Inc. of Tustin, Calif., and a lightweight abrasive MicroBlaster from Comco Inc. of Burbank, Calif. Also the business acquired new welding equipment and a media blasting cabinet for cleaning molds.