50% Energy Cost Reduction with All-Electric Machines
Since its founding in 1977, HARBEC Plastics Inc. has always been at the forefront of bold new ideas in injection molding.
“If it’s being done in our industry, we’re doing it here,” said Bob Bechtold, HARBEC president. “If it’s not being done yet, we’ll be the first.”
The Ontario, NY-based short- and medium-run plastics molder specializes in tightly-tolerance components, often using engineered resins and advanced insert molds. An ISO 9000: 2008 and ISO 14001 certified manufacturer, HARBEC created its Quick Manufacturing System to meet the rapid turnaround needs of customers in a wide range of markets.
“The nature of this business is so technology driven – there have been unending changes in technology,” said Bechtold. “That’s what I like about this business, and that’s what we’re passionate about here at HARBEC.”
Ahead of the Sustainability Curve
Given HARBEC’s commitment to staying on the leading edge, it should come as no surprise that the company is also out front on another key issue in manufacturing today: sustainability. The company has set an ambitious goal of being carbon neutral by 2013.
“I think manufacturing will be one of the first places where carbon becomes more of a reality day to day,” said Bechtold. “We will eventually be responsible for every bit of carbon in our parts, and HARBEC is prepared for this.”
Just some of the many ways the company is following through on its commitment to green manufacturing:
• 100% green fleet. Ultra-low-emissions vehicles including hybrids, all-electric (with zero emissions) and those that run on biodiesel or compressed natural gas (CNG).
• On-site renewable energy. In Upstate NY, where wind is abundant in winter, a wind turbine installed on site provides a significant source of clean power.
• A future of 100% green power. HARBEC is undertaking a test to convert two turbines from natural gas to liquid biodiesel.
• Energy-efficient equipment. HARBEC’s transition to all-electric injection molding has lowered energy costs up to 50% and has increased processing speed and cycle time.
Going All-Out, All-Electric
When HARBEC leaders decided to go all-electric in their plant, they couldn’t do so with just any electric equipment. To manage the large variety of materials and molds in their operation, they needed “incredibly good machines.”
That’s why HARBEC turned to Milacron Plastics Technologies.
“When Milacron came out with the industry’s first all-electric machine, we were the first company to use it,” said Bechtold. “The reduction in energy costs – 50% or more – significantly helped us with our sustainability goals toward being carbon neutral by 2013.”
From the beginning of the all-electric effort, Milacron has worked with the HARBEC team to deliver the excellent processing accuracy and repeatability and fast startups the company’s business demands.
“Whereas we used to produce buckets of start-up parts to achieve process accuracy, with Milacron’s help, we can now get there in only a few parts,” said Bechtold. “And we don’t waste energy in the process.”
Today, precise, efficient, all-electric injection molding machines provided by Milacron – including ELEKTRA (predecessor to today’s POWERPAK) and ROBOSHOT all-electric models – make up 2/3 of the presses at HARBEC’s facility.
Meanwhile, Milacron continues to seek ways to help HARBEC be more efficient.
“Milacron works with us not just on machinery, but on more efficient screws and barrels, heater bands and more,” said Bechtold. ”They aren’t just salespeople; they’re partners who help us constantly pursue greater value.”