COKATO, Minn., April, 2016 – Forward Technology, a leading manufacturer of standard and custom plastic welding equipment and testing systems, has announced a major expansion of its machining operations including construction of a new facility to house its CNC operations and the purchase of a state-of-the-art 4-axis machining center. The $1.2 million investment enables the company to consolidate its CNC operations and perform all of its machining in-house, according to Brian Kivisto, president of Forward Technology and executive vice president of the Crest Group.
Forward Technology’s new 6600-sq-ft CNC machining facility, which is attached to the company’s main manufacturing/office complex in Cokato, will house Forward’s existing eight machining centers along with the new AmeraSeiki Model VB2432A four-axis vertical machining center (VMC). The focused investment on machining, which was completed earlier this year, is an integral part of the company’s strategic growth strategy which targets improved productivity and reduced cost for its customers, explained Kivisto.
“As a leading supplier of plastics assembly and testing equipment this is another initiative which solidifies our further commitment to key national and multinational OEMs,” said Kivisto. “The new machining center enables us to be 100% self-sufficient for the production of large metal castings and welded machine frames and other related component systems for our complete portfolio of welding equipment.”
Previously, Forward Technology was forced to outsource machining for larger castings and frames because of the limited size of its existing machining centers. The new four-axis machining center will enable Forward to better respond to market needs by eliminating outsourcing to local vendors, thus reducing lead times and improving quality control. In some cases, lead times will be shortened by two to four weeks, according to Kivisto.
The AmeraSeiki vertical machining center boasts a capacity of 48-in by 108-in. It also features a right angle head which permits the use of a fourth axis. The VMC is claimed to be one of the largest vertical machining centers in the state of Minnesota.
A growing U.S. economy has led to increased demand for welding equipment for the plastics manufacturing industry in a range of markets. In particular, Forward Technology has seen strong growth in infrared welding equipment for the automotive and appliance markets to meet the demand of Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers.
Forward Technology, a company of the Crest Group, manufactures standard and customized plastic welding and testing systems specifically suited for thermoplastic parts for a broad range of applications in the automotive, medical, appliance, battery, filtration/fluid air, and consumer goods markets. The product line includes systems for hot plate welding, vibration welding, infrared welding, spin welding, and ultrasonic welding as well as systems for burst testing and custom leak testing.