On September 23 this year, Italian hot runner specialist HRSflow officially put on stream its new US production facility in Byron Center near Grand Rapids, Michigan. More than 200 guests, the majority of them plastics processors and suppliers to the North American automobile manufacturers, took up the invitation to attend the Grand Opening Ceremony with presentations, technology demonstrations and a visit to the production plant. The speakers – apart from Maurizio Bazzo, President and CEO of INglass-HRSflow – included representatives of economic and industry associations such as Bill Carteaux, President of the SPI Society of Plastic Industry, and Laurie Harbour, President of Harbour Results, LLC. One item that attracted a great deal of interest was the live demonstration of the new FLEXflow technology developed by HRSflow, a servo-driven, finely regulated valve gate system. Especially with large-sized parts as are used in the automotive industry for interior and exterior applications, the process allows significant improvements in surface quality plus a reduction in clamping force and part weight.
With its site at Byron Center, HRSflow now also has a local production plant on the American continent. With a usable floor space of around 3,700 m², the site has separate areas for the production and assembly of the hot runner systems, a goods warehouse, a room for routine quality control, offices, and other rooms for the social infrastructure. INglass S.p.A., the parent company of the Group, has invested over EUR 15m in this project for the real estate, buildings and machinery. "We built the new plant in a record time of just ten months. We succeeded because we have already thoroughly tested the infrastructure on other occasions, not only at our headquarters in San Polo di Piave but also in our Chinese facility of Hangzhou near Shanghai", said Maurizio Bazzo during the opening ceremony. He continued: "At all these plants we have the same machines and equipment, and all the processes for planning, construction and production of our hot runners are identical. By doing this we ensure that we can offer our customers the same high product quality with absolute reliability on all three continents. At the same time, we are extremely flexible. Should a capacity bottleneck occur at one site, we can easily work off the backlog of orders at one of our other two plants." The Byron Center facility will in future serve primarily the U.S. and Canadian markets as well as Central and South America. In these regions, HRSflow already has sales and service structures in place to support them.
HRSflow has been represented in the United States and Canada with sales, service and engineering since 2001. "We nevertheless realized that only with local production facilities could we achieve the short delivery and response times and the overall flexibility that are needed, for example, in the automotive industry. We are convinced that, with this new production plant in the center of the North American auto industry, our business on the entire American continent will expand significantly. Our new production site is therefore an important milestone in the continuous growth of HRSflow as a whole", said Maurizio Bazzo. Plans to expand the Byron Center facility in a second stage by adding a further area of 4,300 m² are already on the drawing board. In Bazzo's opinion, this expansion could become reality within the next three to four years, and the number of employees would then more than double from its present 50 or so.