For high clamping forces Engel supplies two 8,000-tonne injection moulding machines to US buyer
Austrian injection moulding machine manufacturer Engel has set a new record with two injection moulding machines delivered to the USA. With a clamping force of 8,000 tons each, they are the largest machines ever built at the St. Valentin plant in Austria.
Machine manufacturer Engel is receiving an increasing number of requests for custom solutions in the extremely high clamping force range. One such request came from Infiltrator Water Technologies (IWT) in Winchester, USA: two duo injection molding machines with two 85,000 cm3 injection units each which allow for the injecting a total shot weight of 122 kg. The giant machines have a total length of 29.3 meters and a width of 37 6.4 meters. According to the company, the footprint of the Engel duo 130000/130000H/8200 combi machines can be considered relatively small compared to the clamping force and shot size.
IWT is a subsidiary of Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS) and produces water management products at the Winchester location.
The largest machines ever built by Engel
Even though the St. Valentin plant of Engel is accustomed to building large equipment, working on these two huge machines was special to all team members involved. “I am proud to have been a part of this,” says Jim Moran, Business Development Manager at Engel North America. “You can imagine the special shipping and ground transportation arrangements needed to move the machine from Austria to the U.S. The platens were transported to and from the St. Valentin manufacturing facility along the Danube River on barges,” Moran explains, just one of many challenges that had to be overcome. He continues: “Each machine was fully assembled and tested prior to shipping and then disassembled to be shipped to the U.S.”
Once at the Infiltrator site, the enormous size and scale of these machines, required new manufacturing facilities to house them. David Gedritis, Director of Manufacturing Capital Implementation, describes the logistics coordination necessary to complete the new 5,500 m2 building expansion at the same time 29 truckloads of machine parts were arriving from Austria. Over the following two months the machine was assembled while the building and all the necessary auxiliary equipment and utilities were installed. A 150-ton overhead crane was installed for moving molds in and out of the machine and was also used to help assemble the new press. Dozens of individuals worked on the project completing thousands of hours with a perfect safety record. “The work ethic of the Engel team was incredible as they worked long hours, including weekends to finish the machine assembly and turnover to Infiltrator in rapid fashion”, says Gedritis.
Smooth collaboration from design to delivery
It was a hand-in-hand journey imagining, designing, and building these machines. “We chose to work again with Engel based on our existing relationship and previous capital projects that were delivered on time and on budget,” says Ron Brochu Vice President of Manufacturing for Infiltrator. “Not only does Engel work with us to specify the right equipment, once installed the equipment has an excellent track record of operation and production. Reduced downtime and greater throughput are a hallmark of Engel equipment.”
Engel received the purchase order in November 2020. The handover of the first machine was completed in February 2022. Now, a year later, the second machine, a duplicate of the first, was delivered.
ADS and Engel emphasised their shared commitment to sustainability. “We are managing a precious resource, water, through innovative products, using a high content of recycled plastic,” says Scott Barbour, President, and CEO of ADS. The company states that it recycles more plastic than any other in North America. As a result, ADS was recognised for its commitment to recycling by receiving the number 1 ranking by Plastics News in 2022.
“We have made significant investments in new equipment, and this will allow us to produce our products more effectively and efficiently,” says Bryan Coppes, Vice President of Engineering and R&D at Infiltrator. “It is the new capabilities and opportunities for continued product development that is truly exciting. This new equipment will allow us to continue to bring new and innovative products to market and meet and exceed our customers needs.”
Engel has recently been awarded Eco Vadis' gold sustainability rating, the world’s largest provider of sustainability rankings. The rankings include data from more than 90,000 evaluated companies and focus on the global supply chains in each case. In addition, the companies’ environmental, social, and ethical performance is evaluated.
Engel says it places a lot of importance on long-term partnerships with customers like Infiltrator and ADS. “A project like this one is always a challenge. Along with the size of the machines, the innovation required, and the related investment comes a certain risk. However, our long-standing partnership, mutual trust, and truly just understanding what is essential for the other party helped tremendously,” says Vanessa Malena, President of Engel North America. She adds: “We are excited to see what we have accomplished together. When developing solutions with our customers, we endeavor to surpass the limits and contribute to their success and growth with forward-thinking design and manufacturing.”