Plastics Injection Molding Company Built on Used Machinery Buys Its First New Press
With 45 years as a successful injection molding company owner under his belt, Larry K. Floyd has a business model that few others have tried and that sets PMC Plastics apart from other custom molders. “While others were going after high-volume parts and entered a race to the bottom on profits, I decided to specialize in running engineering resins with applications in lower volume parts and be a company that solves customers’ problems by knowing how to run these materials properly,” said Floyd, President and CEO of the Eagle, WI–based company.
And he did it all with used injection molding machines. “I knew where all the good machines were that had little time on them, so I bought the ones with low-usage — the ones with around 10,000 cycles on them,” said Floyd, who was a service manager at a machinery manufacturer before opening his own business. “We picked up a ton of work! I was never going to buy a new machine until one came out that could accommodate multiple screws and barrels to allow me the flexibility I need to get the best results.”
Last year, Floyd decided to do something he’s never done before: He purchased a new injection molding machine. In December, he bought a 250-ton machine from Bole USA. While he took advantage of Bole’s offer of a 90-day free in-plant trial for potential customers, it didn’t take Floyd that long to decide that the Bole machine was the right one for his business. “My business model is such that PMC can make a respectable profit running 30% of the 35 machines at any given time,” he said.
The Bole machine had what Floyd was looking for — changeability of screws and barrels to suit material needs. “I can run all the high-engineering-grade materials, and we’re the company that solves customers’ problems by knowing how to run these materials properly,” Floyd explained. “Proper processing of these engineering-grade resins is critical to our — and to our customers’ — success.”
Bole has many choices for interchangeability of screws and barrels, and a special design for screws that gives PMC Plastics the flexibility the company’s business model demands. “The door is no longer locked to me that I can only run commodity resins in certain presses,” Floyd says, adding that some of the materials PMC Plastics runs are 40% glass-filled Ultem, polyphenylene sulfide, liquid crystal polymer, and rigid vinyl.
PMC runs one project with 40% carbon-filled PEEK that needs a special abrasion-resistant screw and barrel. That job ran for 15 years in a dedicated press with a mold that stayed in that press. When PMC gets an order for parts, the mold is heated to 360 degrees; a robot performs part removal, and the gates, which Floyd describes as “huge,” are removed.
“Typically these engineering-grade resins always need a secondary milling operation to finish the part dimensions,” says Floyd. “The parts are first aged and the dimensions checked on a CMM, then put through the machining process. We can machine dimensions to the fourth and fifth decimal place.”
Floyd commented that while he’s seen a lot of machinery in his life, “Bole is one of the top picks in my book for engineering excellence. It’s the most used machine we have and everyone likes it so much it’s the first one they head for if the mold fits.
“I’m trying to break my reputation of running a museum,” he quipped.