Gardner, Mass.-based Mack Prototype, a subsidiary of injection molder Mack Molding Inc., bought five new all-electric presses to modernize and expand its facility for rapid prototyping, rapid tooling and low-volume contract manufacturing.
Four of the Milacron Roboshot presses will replace older machines and the fifth will expand capacity at the 75,000-square-foot plant for prototype services, which is one of three business units of Arlington, Vt.-based Mack Molding.
Founded in 1920, Mack Molding supplies molded plastic parts, fabricated metal parts and complex assemblies to the medical, industrial, transportation, energy and environment, computer and business equipment, defense and aerospace, and consumer markets.
The parent company, which operates six U.S. plants, ranks 22nd among injection molders in North America with sales of about $387 million, according to Plastics News' latest ranking.
The new presses are expected to be operating by early July along with improved ventilation and electrical systems. The company invested more than $500,000 in the presses and infrastructure, Mack Prototype President Ric Perry said in an email.
A process technician was also hired to support the new machinery, Perry added.
"This represents a major upgrade as we retire several 25-year-old machines," he said. "Making the shift from hydraulic to electric increases our efficiency, accuracy and process repeatability. Additionally, these machines will be quieter and cleaner, improving the working environment for our team members."
Mack invested in a 50-ton, 1-ounce shot machine; three 110-ton machines with 3.4-, 4.9- and 6-ounce shot capacities; and a 165-ton press with a 10.6-ounce shot capacity. The units will replace two 85-ton, 6-ounce machines; one 170-ton, 20-ounce machine; and one 50-ton, 3.4-ounce press by other machine manufacturers.
Mack customers in the orthopedics, instrumentation and diagnostic equipment markets often turn to the business for prototype services, Perry told Plastics News. The new presses will help them manufacture products ranging from hand-held devices to tibial trials, which are sizing templates that allow surgeons to order the correct implant.
"The sizes of these machines will be more beneficial to our business in that the tonnage and shot sizes pair well with the parts we are molding," Steve Fidrych, Mack Prototype's director of molding operations, said in a news release. "With electric ball screws the same amount of material is used every time, the shot size is very consistent and repeatable. We will be able to tailor jobs specifically for machines, reducing variability and improving part quality."
The prototype plant will have eight presses in all, including two existing 28-ton Arburg All-Rounder hydraulic presses with 1-ounce and 1.25-ounce shots, and a 230-ton Van Dorn HT hydraulic press with a 30-ounce shot capacity.
The facility offers an ISO 13485 certified environment specializing in rapid prototyping for small and large parts; rapid mold making; low-volume, small-part injection molding; CNC machining; liquid injection molding of polyurethane; and painting and finishing operations.
The business is a subsidiary of Mack Molding along with Mack Technologies and Synectic Engineering. In all, Mack Molding employs more than 2,000 at 11 facilities in Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Mexico with a total of 1.5 million square feet of manufacturing space.
Mack Molding is owned by the privately held Mack Group Inc.