The order for the British OEM was booked after finalization of technical details was completed at the K trade show, which ended last month in Düsseldorf, Germany. Mike Mohr, works director, plastics division, at Thomas Dudley, said that beyond the need to replace older machines, the company also wanted new machines to help it mold new products of a more technical nature, to help trim its maintenance and running costs, and because it needs presses it can trust with unattended lights-out processing during an unmanned shift from 23:00-06:00.
Mohr added, "The machines being replaced were Wittmann Battenfeld machines which had fulfilled the above criteria, so it seemed an obvious choice to continue with Wittmann Battenfeld. The reliability (of these machines) was paramount in our decision process because of our need to run our production in a 'lights out' situation. And we do this in order to maximize our machine usage and to benefit from energy savings. All of this helps greatly to keep our costs down so that we can compete worldwide." The company has about 400 molds it actively uses, and is a 100% Wittmann Battenfeld customer.
Included in the new order from Thomas Dudley are six HM 45-tonne molding machines, one HM 90-tonne machine and one Wittmann Battenfeld HM110-tonne press. All have been fitted with magnetic platens, hot runners, and robotic interfaces. Five of the new Battenfeld HM45 machines have also been fitted with Unipick sprue pickers from the company which, due to the low ceilings in the Dudley facility, all are set up for side entry. The new owner this month is concluding tool trials at Wittmann Battenfeld's Kottingbrunn, Austria facility to determine whether the machines should be fitted with servo drives rather than hydraulic pumps and motors. Thomas Dudley also has a battery of granulators made by the Wittmann parent company (Vienna, Austria).