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May 19, 1999

3 Min Read
IMM Field Test, Part III:Buying used vs. buying new

The first IMM Field Test is over. Can a new injection molding machine pay for itself by improving uptime, energy efficiency, and maintenance? Would a custom molder that had only purchased used molding machines find the productivity improvements supposedly provided by a new machine to justify its higher price tag? Our IMM Field Test subject answers unequivocally yes!

As previously reported (see IMM May 1998 and Sept. 1998), two molding machines—a new 300-ton Nissei FN 6000 and a used 1980s-vintage, 300-ton Cincinnati Milacron—ran identical molds, producing identical parts for six months. Our IMM Field Test subject, custom molder and moldmaker Montrose Molders (South Plainfield, NJ) had the option of buying the new machine, donated for the purposes of this test by Nissei, or returning it free of charge. Montrose Molders not only bought the new Nissei, it replaced one of its older presses with a brand new Nissei FN 7000 400-tonner.

Says J. Kelly Wilson, general manager: “The test showed us what a new molding machine can do when it comes to cycle-time consistency. New controls are not just bells and whistles. We have found that a new machine can, indeed, pay for itself in better yield and energy efficiency. We expect at least half of all our machines will be new ones in about five years’ time.”

Test Results

Regarding energy efficiency, Power Solutions, a neighboring electrical contractor, found the new machine provided 28 percent savings vs. the used press during the trial’s run. But Wilson was even more impressed with the new machine’s uptime: “I sell time. If my machine is not up and running, I can’t sell it. This new machine has given us 98.2 percent uptime overall since that mold has been in it, running 28,000 parts/day. Nothing is ever 100 percent. We lost that 1.8 percent in the learning curve, with some minor heater and knockout bar problems. But these problems were our fault, not the machine’s.

“The mold was originally quoted at 36 seconds, and we fought to get it there on the used press. The new machine runs the slower of the two molds at 30.9 seconds. We’re modifying that mold. It runs the faster of the two molds at 28.2 seconds. We look over cycle histories on the new machine’s control screen day to day, and it runs that mold at 28.2, dead-on.”

With the financing Montrose Molders negotiated, it is paying about $2600/month for the new press. Wilson says the company is saving about $2000/month with the performance of the new machine. “That means it’s only costing us about $600 a month,” Wilson says.

Cultural Changes

The IMM Field Test has triggered a number of changes at Montrose Molders. It bought the new 400-ton hydraulic, for instance. “It does jobs that the old 400-ton Reed it replaced just couldn’t do, and not just because the Reed was a toggle. We put a mold in there that we used to run in a 500-ton machine. We could keep the pressures even, profile the injection, and keep the process under control. The 400-ton machine holds it and runs consistently.”

Buying new is changing the perception of the company among its customers. “When they come in, they see the new machines and say we’re moving in the right direction, just like when we moved into this new plant. Sure, we can still run the same part in the old machine, but the perception is there that we’re progressing. I think that’s how big molders get even bigger. They buy new machines. Customers prefer to have their parts run on new machines.”

Perhaps more importantly, the customer of the part has become so confident of the new machine’s ability to run consistently, it is developing downstream finishing automation to further improve productivity. The IMM Field Test has also fostered what Wilson describes as a cultural change around the shop. “Our employees see that we’re moving in the right direction, too, by buying new. Morale is definitely up,” Wilson says.

Contact information
Montrose Molders
South Plainfield, NJ
J. Kelly Wilson
Phone: (908) 754-3030
Fax: (908) 561-5989

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