- Patrice Aylward
Hardcoat Technologies Adds Zeres Molding Machine
Updated: Mar 3, 2021
Hardcoat Technologies, LLC, a Tier 2 supplier of automotive lighting and exterior trim, has grown its injection molding capacity with the addition of a 405-ton Zhafir Zeres electric injection molding machine from Absolute Haitian. The ZE 3600/1400 was delivered to their Knoxville, Tennessee location on April 21. It is the fifth Haitian molding machine they have purchased.
Hardcoat Technologies specializes in injection molding clear lenses for polycarbonate head lamps, driving lamps and fog lamps, which are thermal hardcoated for weatherability and scratch resistance. Hardcoat Technologies also has the capability for applying an anti-fog coating to prevent interior condensation. Customers include SL Tennessee, Truck-Lite and Rebo Lighting and Electronics. The company’s products end up in vehicles such as the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Malibu and the Ford F-150.
“We needed additional capacity as we’re starting up programs for Hicks Plastics/Myotech later in 2020,” said Nick Steffens, CEO and President. The new ZE 3600 is the company’s second electric machine and will be put to work molding polycarbonate lenses. The company purchased its first electric machine, a 506-ton ZE 4500, to produce acrylic light pipes for LED lighting in high-end vehicles. Previously, Hardcoat Technologies purchase three servo-hydraulic machines from Absolute Haitian – MA 3200 (360 U.S. tons), MA 5300 (596 U.S. tons) and MA 6000 (674 U.S. tons).
“I’ve processed polycarbonate for 23 years now. We can run it in these standard machines with general purpose screws resulting in scrap rates under 2 percent. I’ve had people tell me we couldn’t make high cosmetic parts in these machines but with the robust processes we set up, we are able to do it,” said Steffens.
The company’s Knoxville location positions them to work with automotive suppliers in the south. “With Tier 1 suppliers to Toyota in Kentucky, Nissan in Tennessee and BMW in South Carolina, we are well-situated to continue our growth,” said Steffens. “We are driven by making parts quickly and providing value to our customers.”