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Castek builds one of North America’s largest aluminum thermoform molds

Just how big is one of the largest aluminum thermoform molds in North America? The dimensions for this mold are 9 x 15.5 x 4.5-ft deep, and it forms the patented HayHut horse feeder. They also built the very large ValuStair product which is a 22 x 4-ft-wide stairwell for use in water park applications through a special patented process.

Clare Goldsberry

October 7, 2013

3 Min Read
Castek builds one of North America’s largest aluminum thermoform molds

Just how big is one of the largest aluminum thermoform molds in North America? The dimensions for this mold are 9 x 15.5 x 4.5-ft deep, and it forms the patented HayHut horse feeder. They also built the very large ValuStair product which is a 22 x 4-ft-wide stairwell for use in water park applications through a special patented process.

These molds were built by Castek Aluminum (www.cascadepattern.com) for LRM Industries International headquartered in Rockledge, FL. LRM (www.lrmind.com) specializes in long-fiber-reinforced (LRF) structural thermoplastic parts for a variety of applications that previously were only possible in wood, metal or concrete. The company also offers its patented Sheetless ThermoForming (STF) process as well as its ThermoPlastic Flowforming process.

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LRM Receives the mold for the HayHut from Castek

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Harley and Dove eat hay from their new HayHut, which keeps hay dry and tasty.

In 2011, LRM Industries won the SPE Thermoforming Division’s Parts competition for the ValuStair, a part that competes with a similar product that is rotomolded. LRM forms the ValuStair and HayHut using its STF process that extrudes the molten sheet directly over the aluminum mold. The STF process allows for a more consistent wall thickness when deep draw depths would otherwise be a concern. Maintaining a consistent wall thickness with extremely large parts is one of the greatest challenges among thermoformers today but LRM has developed a process which offers solutions through their unique process.
   
Harry Piero, sales manager for Castek, explained that Castek began life in 1994 as an aluminum foundry in Grafton, OH, where the company evolved into casting molds for thermoforming and vacuum forming. Today, the company provides complete turnkey tooling/modeling design for extremely large “one piece” castings. They also manufacture both twin-sheet, pressure and compression molded tooling.

“We had called on LRM because they had a need for cast aluminum tools that could produce very large plastic parts.” Piero said, we were excited to be a part of the ValuStair and HayHut projects and have a great future with LRM and the global opportunities they bring.”

Castek, which operates in a 45,000-sq-ft facility, also makes compression molds, foam tooling, blow/rotational molds and CNC billet molds for thin and thick-gauge forming. The company’s other divisions, Cascade Pattern, was started in 1972 in Elyria, OH and provides pattern making and machining services for wood, plastic, styrofoam and metal; and DC Pattern & Tooling (now Castek Innovations) in Chambersburg, PA, provides engineering/CAD design, CNC machining, and epoxy molds with prototype capabilities to produce automotive carpet padding and insulator parts.

Castek also has a sales office in Detroit, MI, from which the company provides support for customers in the automotive industry. Other markets served include recreational, agricultural, and aerospace industries. Piero also noted that the company has grown exponentially over the past few years as demand has risen for extremely large molds. The company currently has over 100 employees at its various locations.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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