Athena expands operations in Canada

Athena Automation, a Canadian preform machine maker, recently broke ground for a new systems centre for machine assembly and integration. The 14,400 sq m plant is located next to Athena’s current research and assembly facility in Vaughan, Ontario.

The plant will allow Athena to ship more customised machines starting in 2016, assemble higher-tonnage machines, and showcase “lights-out” plant engineering services.

According to the firm, building features include a dedicated area for mould trials and extended runs, a quality control lab with state-of-the-art inspection equipment, an office area, a cafeteria, and a fitness centre.

The systems centre is also expected to be 41% more energy efficient than new industrial buildings, using geothermal cooling and heating, rooftop solar panels, and generous skylights, as well as high efficiency water chilling, resin conveying and drying systems.

Athena is currently streamlining its existing facility for the assembly of up to six machines per month. Upon completion of the new facility, it will continue to host R&D, engineering, and prototype testing.

Currently Athena assembles 150 and 300-tonne preform systems. The firm adds, “The simple and flexible platform features energy efficiency, process repeatability, and reduced space requirements.” The machines are built for customisation with options such as integrated hot runner controller, stack mould carrier, multi-material injection, in-mould assembly, rotary table, cube, and integrated robot.

The machines are sold and serviced worldwide by Italian company Sipa under the XFORM brand.

Athena is a privately held company that was started by former founder of Husky Injection Molding, Robert Schad, in 2008. Schad, who had taken Husky public in 1998, sold his shares in 2007 to Canadian private equity firm Onex that later sold it to Canadian pension fund Berkshire.


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