One of the largest injection molding machines ever built in North America — an 8,000-ton Milacron press that's 94 feet long with 38 miles of wiring — is now installed at 20/20 Custom Molded Plastics LLC in Holiday City, Ohio.
The Milacron C-8000 features a total shot weight of 325 pounds, two injection units and a 260-millimeter feedscrew that power a 5-inch-per-second injection velocity.
"The C-8000 will open opportunities that have never existed before because of machine limitations," said Mike Gepfert, chief operating officer of 20/20 CMP.
The company is pursuing the bigger-is-better strategy to tackle wider market opportunities — think products like large plastic pallets for material handling, underground enclosures for the telecommunications and utilities markets, large pipe fittings and corrugated drainage tile.
A few years ago, the company installed a 6,750-ton Milacron press.
The foresight 20/20 CMP officials had about the growing need for large-tonnage technology was spot on. With hindsight being 20/20, the molder and Milacron moved on to a bigger brother.
"The C-6750 was already sold out by the time we actually started running it," President Ronald Ernsberger said. "Another larger-tonnage option was needed as a backup."
The Milacron C-8000 behemoth puts 20/20 CMP into an even more exclusive niche among large-part injection molders.
The C-8000 install is part of a $30 million expansion investment that began in 2018, according to Gepfert.
Founded in 1999, the company offers structural foam, structural web, gas-assist and high-pressure injection molding for a variety of markets, including construction, industrial, commercial, institutional and janitorial.
The company has a fleet of 45 Milacron-only presses at its headquarters and production plants in Bluffton, Ind., and Covington, Ga. (formerly Vantage Products Corp.), where it employs 650 people.
With $195 million in annual sales, 20/20 CMP ranks No. 54 among injection molders in North America, according to Plastics News data.
Another 30-40 jobs will be created to operate the C-8000. Gepfert said the machine will initially serve existing customers with new and existing product lines, but others are in line.
The giant C-8000 and its smaller counterpart are the latest in a long line of large-tonnage machines produced for 20/20 CMP. The C-8000 weighs 1.8 million pounds, excluding the mold. The moving platen cast weight comes in at 152 tons.
"The sheer size of this machine is hard to put into words, but its unique design and processing stats speak volumes," Milacron President Mac Jones said.
Jones called the C-8000 "a large-part powerhouse designed by some of the best plastics processing engineers in the world."
"Partnering with customers like 20/20 by providing cutting-edge solutions remains our focus, as well as our commitment, to the plastics processing industry," Jones said.
Ron Hertzer, Milacron's director of new product development, a 40-year veteran of the injection molding industry, collaborated with Ernsberger to lay the foundation for the cutting-edge machines.
"The Milacron C-6750 and C-8000 came to be due in large part to two experts in the industry who never settle for the status quo," Jones said. "Ron Ernsberger's vision conceived the prototypes from market demand he saw coming through the pipeline. And our Milacron team was the brains behind the custom design and development of both monster machines, with our Ron Hertzer at the helm."
Ernsberger said his company has always been a fan of Milacron's clamp technology and reliability and the staff's collaborative spirit.
"With Milacron, it's been a true partnership," he said.