Sean Ryan




Why do manufacturers not provide (design) retro fitted kits to make older equipment more energy efficient?

Why does it cost so much for a SME be energy efficient?


Thormac is a leading custom plastics, injection moulding and contract manufacturer which has been manufacturing in Shannon since 1979. We specialise in plastics design, prototyping, large part moulding & value added assembly. We manufacture in our 40,000 sqft facility, which includes a clean room, with over 19 machines of varying ages ranging from 30 Tonne to 1100 Tonne. We work with a varied range of engineering plastics including Silicone, PA66, PA6, PC, PVC, PMMA, TPU, PBT, PVDF

The management team completed a management buyout of Thormac eighteen months ago. Of the nineteen machine we purchased the predominate brand is Sandretto. We have had these machines assessed by a Romi engineer and the feedback was that generally the machines are in good shape and with proper preventative maintenance that they will have a long life yet.

However, the engineer emphasised that we could not improve performance only extend the life of the machine. This suggest that the machines themselves are in very good working order even though they are between 10 and 20 years old. If we wanted to have more energy efficient machines, he recommended buying a new machine instead. As lean practitioners’ this is counter intuitive. The sales representative has sent me pricing for new replacement Romi’s.

We have decided to invest in three new Wittman Battenfeld machines, the first has been on site since February and already we have cost savings on our energy bill as the usage decreases. However, we do not have the financial resources to replace all nineteen machines. What we need to do is extend both the life and performance of some of the remaining machines.

After doing some research, it appears that none of the ‘established’ plastic injection moulding machine manufacturers offer a retro fit or at least the manufacturers of the machines that we currently own i.e. Sandretto, Demag, Desma, Kawaguchi & MIR. However, some of the lesser known brands do offer this facility. Nevertheless, not all brands are the same and here we are comparing Mercedes with Dacia

Now looking at some of these sites there appears to be potential solutions to these problems. Is there anyone that has retro fitted kits to older machines to improve performance and in their experience does it give the projected return on investment.

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