Bottlenecks Determine Machine Purchases

A lot of planning went into the decision Industrial Molds Group made when purchasing new machine technology and renovating its existing building. Better work flow to help maintain good scheduling to meet lead times was a primary goal, and making the right machine purchases helped them attack production bottlenecks.


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Industrial Molds is a manufacturer of precision injection molds for packaging, medical, and industrial markets, and is a 2012 MMT Leadtime Leader winner. In late 2014 the company invested $1.7 million in new machinery to accommodate growth and $300,000 to completely renovate its 43,000-square-foot facility to create a more efficient layout.

Purchases include, a Micron HSM 400 ULP five-axis electrode cutting machine to join an existing one connected to a single robotic palletizer that will hold 200 electrodes for lights out manufacturing; an OKK HM1000S four-axis horizontal mill with a 40”x 40” dual table for the mold base department three new Haas CNC milling machines (V4 and two V2s) for the prepping department; and, two grinders for finishing work after heat treating.

Production Supervisor Andrew Peterson notes that they “sometimes use steel cutting machines to do electrodes, so adding the Micron frees up the steel-cutting machines to do the jobs we need them to do. The OKK allows us to oversee mold base quality and boost production in that department.  And by establishing the prepping department we get jobs started quicker and the additional machines will increase capacity in that department by 33 percent." He also notes that creating a specific department for preparing cavities and cores, which then get moved to the HSM department, helps to maintain a more efficient work flow.  

Peterson credits Industrial’s “strong sales team” for the company’s growth over the past two years, with new projects from current customers and also the acquisition of new customers in new markets.  “These new machines will help us increase capacity to meet demand from our growing customer base.”