Custom injection molder Royal Plastics Inc. of Brookings, S.D., has upgraded its automation and equipment lineup with the addition of a Bole 350 EK-S machine that will feature a top-entry, servo-controlled Cartesian robot.
The machine, which replaces a 35-year-old, 300-ton Cincinnati Milacron model, began operating in May. The three-axis robot from Ranger Automation Systems Inc. hasn't arrived yet, Royal President Mike Peterson said in a June 17 phone interview.
"The automation of this machine is going to be way beyond what we are currently doing," Peterson said in a news release. "Currently the other machines only have sprue pickers. This robot will have the ability to place inserts in the mold, pull parts out of the mold, stack them in the boxes and count them. It also will de-gate parts. Our first end-of-arm tooling will be adjustable, enabling us to pull many different part sizes."
The machine features a programmable logic controller that integrates information from all systems.
Royal, founded in 1978, operates 15 presses with 50 to 386 tons of clamping force. The company's primary market is windows and doors, but it makes components for industries including agriculture, housewares, furniture, electrical, industrial equipment and aftermarket automotive. Its products range from a few grams up to 2 pounds.
Royal also makes molds. In fact, Peterson's parents, Arlen and Jane Rosvold, founded the business as a mold manufacturer. Peterson and his sister, Renee Novak, now own the company. Peterson's son, Thomas Peterson, is assistant vice president and production manager.
The firm's 46,000-square-foot plan in Brookings employs 36 full-time workers. "We're about maxed out in this building now. We could possibly put one more machine in, but we have room to expand" if that becomes necessary, Mike Peterson said by phone. "We've got options."
The company recorded sales of $5.7 million in 2020 and expects to increase that figure this year, he added.