Hunter Foundry Machinery Corporation, the company that revolutionized matchplate molding technology, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Chicago-area company, originally Hunter Automated Machinery Corporation, was built around the first gravity-filled design for squeeze molding operations. William “Al” Hunter conceived the process and built the first machine in 1963, and then established the company the following year.
The first machine, called the HMP-10 was built in Hunter’s own garage. “It took three months to design it and three months to build it,” Bill Hunter explained. Once the machine was built, Al moved it into a rented building where foundrymen from throughout the Midwest came to watch demonstrations of the machine making molds. Roughly 150 prospective customers visited to see the HMP-10 in operation.
The first machine was acquired by Moline Malleable Iron, St. Charles, IL, where it was installed and making molds within three days.
Hunter’s concept streamlined the labor-intensive process of forming sand molds, reducing costs and allowing foundries to increase their productivity. An operator could produce as many molds in one hour as most molders could produce in an entire day on a jolt-squeeze machine.
On the strength of the new design Hunter launched Hunter Automated Machinery Corp., and proceeded to offer more novel machine designs, e.g., for automated mold handling equipment and coresetters.
The current manifestation of the company Hunter Foundry Machinery Corporation, continues to develop matchplate molding and mold-handling technologies for metalcasters worldwide, with headquarters in Schaumburg, IL, and offices in Brazil, China, the E.U., and India. Its latest design, the HLM-10 linear matchplate molding machine, was introduced in 2013 and installed for the first time earlier this year at Progressive Foundry, in Perry, IA.