Category Archives: Custom Molding

Value Added Services

At DeKALB we offer an array of value added services to complement your molded plastics needs. We pride ourselves on the ability to provide our customers a wide range of services.

Our team has the ability to utilize existing products and fabricate them to create customized components. Our capabilities include cutting-straight and angles, assembly, bonding, welding, inserting, routering and drilling. At DeKALB, we also providing painting services, utilizing both solvent and water based painting systems with complete masking capabilities. We provide numerous painting systems, including: acrylic, water, and urethane based, as well as multiple masking, color, and textures.

DeKALB provides complete plastic and assembly solutions, from simple sub-assemblies to complete assemblies that are packed and shipped right to your customers’ door. We have the capabilities for sonic and induction welding, enclosure and component assembly, bonding and emabonding. We also have the capability of specialty packaging, bulk packaging, and consumer-ready packaging with custom labels and decals.

Our numerous years of experience in the manufacturing industry guarantees the highest quality products at the right price. We keep track of these products with our inventory management systems. These solutions reduce your work load and increase the efficiency of your supply chain.

At DeKALB, we are constantly looking for new ways to make operations for our customers more efficient.

Custom Molded Plastics

Custom molded plastics are the heart and soul of DeKALB Molded Plastics. DeKALB is one of the first ISO 9002 certified structural plastics molders in the United States. With presses ranging in tonnage from 300 to 750 tons and over 30 years of experience in the structural foam industry, there isn’t a project the team at DeKALB can’t tackle with precision and quality.

DeKALB specializes in large, multi-nozzle plastic products while offering in-house painting, decorating, kitting, and assembly capabilities. Deliverables range from single stand-alone products to complex, multi-component, multi-operation programs.

DeKALB’s product offerings are diverse and focused, including:

In the Specialty Material Handling market, DeKALB produces rigid plastic pallets, folding transport boxes (for bulk and liquid products), and other applications that protect valuable and perishable household items (food, textiles, and medical components). In the Medical market, DeKALB produces a variety of intricate products, ranging from ultrasound and densitometers to MRI helmets and medical beds. Their main concentration is to produce products that contain, support, and protect medical equipment. DeKALB’s Safety Enclosures and Devices focus on protecting and preventing individuals and property from harm with the creation of barriers, stands, and guardrail blocks.

DeKALB has perfected two main plastic manufacturing processes: structural foam and gas assist. Structural foam molding (Fig. 1) is a process in which foamed plastic flows through the mold, surface cells explode, and a solid skin forms against the walls of the mold. Meanwhile, the core of the newly created part cools to a cellular structure. The end result is a part which is up to 20% lighter and three to four times more rigid and durable than solid plastics. This innovation can replace a myriad of materials, including wood, metal, concrete, and fiber glass.

structural-foam-molding-process

The gas assist molding process (Fig. 2) utilizes nitrogen gas that is injected into the polymer melt as soon as the resin is injected into the mold. The nitrogen displaces the polymer in thicker areas, hollowing out the part and making it significantly lighter. This is a low-pressure injection method that prevents sink marks and the ‘characteristic swirl’ that occurs during structural foam processing. In addition, cycle time is reduced due to faster cooling, equating to a lower cost component.

gas-assist-injection-molding-process

Beyond competitive pricing, DeKALB prides itself on superior customer service, warehousing capabilities, and on-time deliveries. One glance at the Client Testimonials page on dekalbplastics.com tells the story of DeKALB’s consistency, quality, responsiveness, competitive pricing, and technical support.

Custom Foam Molding: Process, Solution, Success

It’s a Thorough Process:

At DeKALB Molded Plastics, our team excels at providing comprehensive custom foam molding solutions for (structural plastic) molded products.  When added value is required on a part such as painting, kitting or fabrication, DeKALB is your single source for custom foam molding solutions. We provide design assistance, will engineer the optimum moldability of a part, and manufacture custom-molded structural foam to print specifications. And we do it quickly and cost-effectively.

  • Engineering support with MoldFlow
  • Design Assistance
  • Complete Project Management
  • Strong Expertise and Internal Resources

It’s a Complete Solution:

DeKALB has built a reputation around high quality standards for structural foam materials. We are committed to providing innovative ideas to the part development process, but more importantly, building long-term relationships through superior customer service. To maintain a high level of service and quality, our team meets each morning to review the progress of every project and net out daily goals. The overall goal is to pass our knowledge and expertise in structural foam materials directly to our customers and set the bar high for long-term success.

It’s a Group Success:

DeKALB offers superior customer service as this is critical to the success of our business. The company is committed to meeting customer requirements for delivery, quality, responsiveness, pricing and technical support. That is how DeKALB aims to become our customers’ single source for plastic and assembly needs. We’re proud of the fact that the majority of our customers have been with us for many years.

Dynamic Opportunities in Focused Markets

DeKALB Molded Plastics made a strategic decision in 2014 to focus on multiple market segments. Our goal is to expand our market focus to offer quality structural plastics to industries that promote better quality of life. Our main three segments are Medical Enclosures, Safety Devices, and Special Material Handling. Each brings their own unique value to DeKALB and provides the opportunity to display our capabilities in different ways.

Market Segment

Medical Enclosures – Typically are molded with engineered resins with value added operations such as inserting, painting, silk screening, and/or kitting. Volumes may vary in quantity. This segment meets our core competencies both from a molding and finishing perspective.

Safety Devices – Safety is the number one focus within DeKALB and anytime we can provide product within that industry, we consider it a win. In addition, we currently have a customer using 100% recycled material in their product. Not only are we providing a safety product but also focusing on being green.

Specialty Material Handling – This segment goes well beyond pallets. Any product used to store or transfer could be placed in this market segment. The structural foam process provides product that is light weight yet durable in strength. In addition, not only are virgin materials utilized in these products but also regrinds to save on costs.

Our development processes are continually improved and perfected to fit the needs of specific industries. As we continue to expand our offerings and capabilities, we have researched other market segments, such as Recreational and Lawn/Garden. DeKALB is always looking for new opportunities and strives to offer the highest quality of products and service. While we focus on our deliberate market segments, each are carefully evaluated to ensure the needs are within our capabilities and align well with DeKALB’s overall growth strategy.

DeKALB Champions Seat Support Pallet

“I would recommend working with DeKALB because of their ability to plan very well and not let any issues fall through the cracks.” Mitch Kujawa, Polyflex

The Challenge

Polyflex was in the market for a structural plastics company to produce the bases for a seat support pallet, as they did not have a large enough press to run the project. The seat support pallet was being produced for the end manufacturer, Magna, who supplies for Chrysler. The final purpose of the seat support pallet was for seat material handling, so that seats can be brought through the assembly line.

DeKALB was chosen due to their ability to design ribs and manage overall mold ability of the part. The project required four towers, which the team worked to fill properly with correct nozzle configurations. Attachment points and interfaces with the steal components were analyzed by the team to ensure proper functionality as they went from steal to plastic pallet.

DeKALB’s Solution

DeKALB partnered with a tool source to ensure the tool was molded properly and according to quality standards. Advanced Quality Planning (APQP) was utilized in the designing and tooling phases to ensure a successful outcome. Additionally, regular meetings with the tool source were managed by the DeKALB team to make sure Polyflex/Magna was comfortable with the process and all timelines were met.

Communicative Approach

The team at DeKALB started the project with a strong program management approach. They made certain to communicate any potential design concerns upfront; with a solution plan already in place. This strategy included all initial design meetings.

Once in the tool quoting phase, regular meetings were scheduled with Polyflex and DeKALB to identify any concerns and report progress. Polyflex was very communicative and comfortable with this process as the DeKALB team planned structured agendas in order to identify issues as well as provide solutions to solve them.

In addition to weekly meetings, team members were easy to reach by phone and email. They responded quickly with answers to any questions or concerns. Overall, the DeKALB team was very proactive and did a great job of displaying how any change would affect the overall timeline.

Successful Result

Everyone at DeKALB was very committed to the success of this project and the mold trial was realized without a hitch. Polyflex managed the buildup at their facility and then sent to Magna to complete the final review.

In the end, all parties were very pleased when the first run of the tool was realized and approved as qualified by a tool expert and production is set to begin in May 2014. Polyflex could not be more satisfied with the project management displayed by DeKALB and would recommend the team based on the positive outcome of the seal support pallet.

How can DeKALB help with plastic injection needs?

Transcript: DeKALB Molded Plastics is a custom molder of injection plastic products. We specifically do structural foam, gas assist. You may have an idea and you’ll have a basic concept and we are able to produce the entire product for you. You bring us your idea and we’ll take it from concept to finish production. We will assist you with design. We will connect you with the tool shops. We will provide those services. We will launch your product for you, and then we will be your producer. You still will own the tool. It’ll be your product, but we will be your manufacturing arm.

What custom molded solutions can DeKalb Plastics deliver?

Transcript: We’ve had several things that customers have come to us and they have an issue. One in particular that the tank I spoke of earlier or the toilet in the basement, that particular tank, they were having trouble with leaks and stuff like that. After we were molding for a little bit, they came back and asked us what do you put in your plastic that’s different from the other guys. I don’t know what the guys put in, but we just put in what we said we were going to put it. Pay attention to quality and we understand that the general basics of the application so we know what’s our limit that we can do here and we’re not violating that. It’s about integrity.

What is Special Material Handling?

Transcription:  One of the target markets for DeKalb Molded Plastics is specialty material handling. We do pallets. We do containers. But really we do things that are specific to an application. It may be a metal product. It may be a medical product, but it has to be handled and protected really well and that’s what we do really, really well. A lot of people do pallets, a lot of people do the big containers, but we will specialize. Special totes, things protect and keep these things safe.

Can Dekalb create my custom molding product?

We basically stay within the range of high density polyethylene to engineering structural plastics. If we go into the high temperature stuff where you’re going to need a oil heater, something beyond that 700-800 degree melt range, really, if the tool needs to be above the boiling temperature of water, and then we don’t play in that zone. In that area, in the three-sixteenths to quarter to three-eighths inch part thickness, four pounds to 150 pounds, that’s kind of our boundaries.

What Does It Mean to be a Custom Plastics Molder?

We do not design custom plastic molding from scratch.  We are a custom molder.  DeKalb Molded Plastics takes designs that other people have to create the product.  Sometimes that has been a napkin that may even have had a beer or coffee stain on that napkin and start to work with that so we can estimate the job.  We can get other people involved, like actual design firms, and help move this idea to a product in hand.  DeKalb is not set up to be plastic product designers for product molders.