Mundelein, Ill.-based injection molder Crestwood Industries LLC is expanding with a $1.2 million investment, including four new LS Mtron machines and Yushin robotics, as it enters the medical market.
"We have purchased a precision screen printer, LED curing with automatic loader" and a computer controlled robot, Des Paden, president of Crestwood, told Plastics News in an emailed statement.
The investment also includes customized software to manage order flow throughout the shop, Paden said.
"We are growing and developing new business, especially in the medical industry," he said in an April 21 news release.
Crestwood's first project in its new medical business is for a leading U.S. supplier based in the Chicago area, the release said.
The part is a polystyrene canister with a lid molded from high density polyethylene, using a new LS Mtron 240 machine, it said.
The four new WIZ-E series all-electric LS Mtron machines are 120, 190, 240 and 310 tons. The new 310-ton machine will also be used in medical applications.
"We are moving towards using all-electric molding machines in our plant, and LS Mtron had a very strong value proposition," Paden said. "We like the fact that they have local parts and service. Plus, we have older LG machines from 1995 and 1996 that are still running that we recently upgraded. We've always been happy with their performance and the company's service."
"We've already seen 15 percent better efficiency overall from these new machines," Tom Kent, general manager of manufacturing at Crestwood, added in the release. "We're getting much faster cycle times than with our older hydraulic machines. Plus, once our operators were trained to use them, they have proven to be a lot easier to operate and maintain."
In addition to the new molding machines, which brings Crestwood's current total to 22 presses, the company has stocked more than 50 new tools in the past three years.
"We are hiring, adding a second shift and will be running 16 hours a day, five days a week, very soon," Paden said. "Our next move will be to double our footprint."
Currently operating out of a 15,000-square-foot facility, Crestwood molds parts for various industries, including commercial lighting, automotive, health care and material handling. It typically uses polycarbonate and glass-filled nylon materials.
"We recycle all of our scrap materials," Dave Cameron, operations manager at Crestwood, said. "We've worked hard to create completely closed-loop processes. For our virgin resin projects, we use hot-runner systems for zero scrap."