Empire Level has been the premier designer and producer of levels, squares, layout tools, and caution tape since
1919. The company prides itself by only making quality products that can withstand the wear and tear contractors put on their equipment. In order to build these types of products they need the right, precise machinery to do the job.
Investing in New Equipment
Tom Foran, Operations Manager, Plastics, for Empire Level originally met Plustech at the 2003 NPE (National Plastics Exposition) in Chicago. He was impressed by the design at the time, but was not yet ready to buy.
Fast forward eleven years, Foran now needed new injection molding machines that could produce and maintain the exacting tolerances he needed. After narrowing his choices to three suppliers, conducting multiple mold trials, and comparing the results for dimensional stability, the choice became obvious.
Due to the type of injection molding that Empire Level needed to achieve, they required very accurate machines. The molding of the vials used in high-end levels for the construction industry, is a high-tolerance and precision demanding process that requires consistency. Luckily for Foran, the Sodick injection molding machines were not only able to meet, but exceed his requirements.
As the process unfolded Foran stated, “The other two competitors never stood a chance”. He was so impressed with the Sodick injection molding machines that Plustech was presenting, the other manufacturers could not compare.
Empire Level had numerous requirements when they were selecting their new injection molding machinery. What particularly impressed Foran on the Sodick injection molding machines was that they had a no check ring design and did not include a reciprocating screw. In turn, this meant that the molding cycle was very precise and consistent, as this was a requirement of Empire Level to maintain the quality of their levels.
“An obstacle we faced was the larger cost of this type of specialized machine,” stated Foran, “however, once you look at the entire package, the quality, accuracy, technical support, and training we received, it made it an easy decision. The Sodick machine cost has actually become even more competitive in the past year or so”.
In August 2014, Empire Level purchased two Sodick Injection Molding Machines. The LA40 and LA60 are horizontal, ultra-precision injection molding machines. The LA40 is a 40 ton machine and features a 16mm 14cc shot size, while the LA60 is a 60 ton machine with a 22mm 27cc shot size. Then, in October 2015, Empire Level added a new GL100 horizontal injection molding machine due to their success with their initial purchase. The GL100 is a 100 ton machine and includes a 40mm 251cc shot size.
All three of Empire Levels Sodick injection molding machines provide advanced injection for molds with extremely tight tolerances and include Sodick’s V-Line two-stage plunger system, which separates the plasticization and injection processes for consistent measurement and injection of the melt stream. The machines incorporate a true hybrid clamping mechanism utilizing an upgraded servo motor controlled hydraulic pumping system.
The machines feature unparalleled platen alignment and a high rigidity clamp, which ensures that the clamping force is applied uniformly. The LA40, LA60, and GL100 have an injection response time at an impressive 12ms.
“Since we purchased the Sodick injection molding machines we have seen a significant reduction in defects, the repeatability and consistency have been better than we expected and the technical staff has given the equipment rave reviews, “ stated Foran.
Foran plans to continue his partnership with the team at Plustech. He was very happy with the training his team received and when they decided to integrate an electro servo driven valve pin gate system into LA60, he said the “service that Dragon Kojima from Plustech provided was outstanding”.
Since the company’s acquisition by Milwaukee Tool Corp. in June 2014 and the addition of the Sodick injection molding machines, Empire has seen double digit sales growth with similar growth expectations each year going forward. They are gaining a larger share of the market and that has a lot to do with the quality and durability of their U.S. made products. Empire Level maintains a great reputation throughout the construction industry and they are glad that Plustech was able to come in and help maintain the quality of their products. The vast majority of Empire products continue to be manufactured domestically and the company will maintain its focus on having a quality product that their customers can rely on.