Schad’s Startup Spreads Its Wings and Starts to Fly

North America’s newest injection molding machinery producer Athena Automation (Vaughan, Ontario) says it will ship 20 machines this year as it ramps up production. A new 155,000 square foot manufacturing plant is already in place.

Groundbreaking is taking place this month for a $40 million (Canadian) Systems Center for just-in-time machine customization. The center will be up and running next year.

“The first stack mold carrier-equipped machine is complete, and in partnership with SIPA we are releasing a 300-metric ton preform machine,” founder and primary owner Robert Schad said in a newsletter updating the company’s performance.

Athena’s preform machines are sold and serviced exclusively by SIPA of Italy under the XFORM brand. The 300-metric ton machine (96 cavities) is being offered in addition to the existing 150-ton (48-cavity) machine.

The A300 stack mold carrier developed by Athena is said to increase total mold weight by approximately 70 percent to 9,500 kg (20,944 pounds).

The following measures are being implemented by the company:

  • Streamlining of the current facility for a capacity of four to six  machines per month (July).
  • 2014: Implementing service and spare parts infrastructure to handle global installation, training and support requests.
  • 2014–2015: Continued option development for customization – e.g. rotary cube, in-mold assembly, higher-speed injection, roundtables for multi-material, and high-speed robots with specialized tooling.
Robert Schad with Athena machine.

Robert Schad with Athena machine.

Schad says that the features of the newly designed two-platen machines include energy consumption equivalent to all-electrics, smallest footprint with largest daylight, increased mold life, and low maintenance.

Athena, which is privately owned was formed in 2008 by Schad, who had previously founded Husky Injection Molding Systems, also located near Toronto, and also a producer of preform and other injection molding machines. Schad took Husky public in 1998 and sold his shares in 2007.  His retirement was a brief one (expiration of non-compete) as he decided to launch Athena with the goal of designing a highly customizable machine from the ground up. One of his targets is electric machines, which he feels have been oversold.

About Doug Smock

Former Chief Editor at Plastics World and Senior Technical Editor Design News
Injection Molding, Injection Molding, Management, Medical, North America, Two-Shot

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