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UBE boosts machinery output in Michigan

UBE Machinery, which specializes in production of large injection molding machines, is increasing production in Ann Arbor, MI as it introduces the UU2e Fusion, a two-platen machine that fits between the company's all-electric and standard hydraulic machines. David Bernardi, senior sales and marketing manager, said he expects the company's domestic machine production to increase from 100 last year to the 120-140 range this year, partly due to the new machine introduction. Annual global production of big injection molding machines by UBE is in the 250 to 300 range.

Most of the components are sourced in the United States. One exception is the heavy metal. "We are a foundry and we produce the castings and tiebars in Japan," said Bernardi. "We source as much as we can in the United States." UBE has been building machines in Michigan since 1995. The company focuses on producing machines for large part production in automotive, appliance, trash receptacle and other markets. Typical parts molded on UBE machines are door panels, fascia, and automotive lenses—polycarbonate for the front and acrylic for the rear in the U.S. market.

The UU2e has a servo ballscrew clamp, servo pump hydraulic system, and a compact footprint, Bernardi said. The machine will use linear bearings.

One reason the machine will be built in Michigan is regional preference. "The Japanese market is entirely electric," said Bernadari. They don't use hydraulics, which are still preferred by many U.S. automotive molders. The servo drives  in the UU2e  provide some of the precision and efficiencies of electrical systems. The machine will be built in three sizes: 1100, 1550 and 2200 tons of clamping force. The larger sizes will be introduced in the fourth quarter. The tonnage range for other types of UBE machines made in the U.S. are 720 to 3900.

Bernardi told Plastics Today at NPE2012 that the machine uses a P.I.D.-based servo control and has less integral deviation to reduce spikes and power consumption.

UBE Machinery, which is registered as a company in Delaware, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the UBE Industries family of companies.

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