Binghampton, N.Y.-based Eck Plastic Arts invested in an injection molding machine that is four times larger than its other presses to score some new business.
The 1,012-ton Haitian Mars II S arrived in June, and its first project was already on deck: molding souvenir drinking cups shaped like a baseball cap for sale at major and minor league ballparks.
The delay in opening professional baseball ended up working in Eck Plastic's favor, according to President and co-owner Brett Pennefeather.
"It took the fire drill out of starting up the machine," Pennefeather said in a news release. "It gave us more time to make sure everything was assembled properly and auxiliaries were hooked up correctly as we familiarize our team with this new machine make."
This is the first Haitian press purchased by the company, which opened in 1949 and offers thermoplastic injection molding and insert molding to the automotive, medical, defense, consumer, electronics, recreational and industrial markets.
The Pennefeather family bought Eck Plastic from Robert Eck in 2017 when he retired.
The new machine's easy-to-use tie bar puller was a selling point, Pennefeather said.
"Our ceilings top out at 11 feet and machines this size are about 9 feet high. The only way to install or change out a mold is to load the mold from the side," Pennefeather said. "We ordered the MA II S with an automatic tie bar puller that was on the preferred side of the machine and operated with a push of a button. The lead time on this customized option was shorter from Absolute Haitian than from competitors and other competitors' tie bar pullers were not automatic."
To prepare for the machine, a concrete floor had to be poured and new electrical and plumbing services installed while keeping employees and contractors safe from COVID-19.