Re-focused molder raising bar on competition
With 45 injection molding machines, Barrie, Ont.-based Injectech Industries Inc. must think of itself as a company whose core business and bottom line is built on injection molding, right? Wrong."We'r...
With 45 injection molding machines, Barrie, Ont.-based Injectech Industries Inc. must think of itself as a company whose core business and bottom line is built on injection molding, right? Wrong.
“We’re not just a plastics company anymore, but a full-service supplier,” says president Gert Walter. “Plastics molding is an important component of our business, but so too is automated assembly, thread forming, tool making and engineering/program management.”
Things weren’t always this way, according to Walter.
“We used to be basically a shoot and ship company,” he says of the business, originally founded in 1978 as a prototyping company under the name Walter Industries. “Around 1996 we brainstormed to figure out what kind of company we wanted to be and re-did the business plan. That’s when we decided we needed to be globally focused and more than just a molder.”
Walter says the change was brought on by pressures in the automotive industry to reduce supplier costs, which in turn led to internal problems in meeting quality and on-time delivery targets. Today, Walter says, Injectech is rated in the top 10 percent of suppliers for on-time delivery, quality and pricing by all its customers. Sales grew 83 percent in 1999 and projections are for 43 percent growth in 2000. As a result, the company was named one of the 50 best managed private companies in Canada last year.
“We view the Top 50 award as a milestone for our company as it was based on an independent audit against very strong competition,” Walter says.
Such growth usually requires capacity and equipment upgrades to support it, so it is no surprise the company is currently executing a number of strategic plans. It will be opening a tool making facility in Barrie later this year to compliment its two other facilities used mainly for injection molding and assembly. It has recently purchased two 110-ton Milacron and one 400-ton Nissei all-electric presses, and has plans to purchase three more electrics in the near future. More significantly, Walter says the company will eventually convert its entire production capacity to all-electric presses over a five year period. When the purchasing plan is completed, Injectech will be running up to 45 all-electric machines.
Walter says the main factor influencing the decision to switch to all-electrics is the machine’s greater repeatability, although he also likes the benefits of cleaner and quieter operation.
One of the new ell-electric machines is presently being used to mold a small gear for a seat assembly from DuPont’s Delrin acetal resin. The part is being molded with a hot runner system, normally a challenge with acetal material, Walter notes. The gear is coupled to a threaded steel rod using automated assembly equipment built by Injectech.
The company got into gas assist about four years ago and has gas assist capability for up to five presses using both Battenfeld and Cinpres gas assist equipment. One part currently being molded by gas assist is a 42 in. by 14 in. by 3 in. automotive seat pan with wall thickness ranging from one mm to 7.5 mm. The part is molded warp-free from polypropylene using gas assist on a 800-ton press. To pack out the same part without gas assist would require a press with at least 1200 tons of clamping force, says Walter.
The decision to buy electric presses and run gas assist is in keeping with the company’s philosophy to be a solutions provider to its customers. “Today, competitive pricing, on-time delivery and high quality are a given,” says Walter. “That leaves technology as the only way to provide your customer with an advantage. He who innovates wins.”