Category Archives: Injection Molded Plastics

Metal to Plastic Conversion

DeKALB Molded Plastics is a leader in the plastics industry with a specific focus on providing injection molded solutions for structural plastics. Our team has the advanced capability to offer metal to plastic conversion, which offers several advantages to OEMs looking for reduced costs and efficient manufacturing. This process has proven that large, plastic components can be manufactured to be just as durable and strong as their metal equivalents, which means significant advantages for our customers:

Reduced Costs of Final Products

  • Production of plastic parts is more consistent
  • Product weighs less and reduces shipping and operational costs
  • Less waste and more consistency of final products

Improved Manufacturing Process

  • High tensile strength with proper structural design
  • Reduction in part weight
  • More flexibility for design

Therefore, if you are looking to cut down on weight and cost, while never comprising the integrity of your product, our metal to plastic conversion specialty is worth investigating. We also offer engineering and design assistance, including program management and product development.

While there are many reasons why metal to plastic conversion might be beneficial to you, below are some answers to our most frequently asked questions.

Metal to Plastic Conversion Q & A:

Why is metal to plastic conversion beneficial?

Customers who have problems with their current metal products, such as inconsistent dimensions or increasing costs for metal often look to plastic conversion as an alternative solution.

What challenges does DeKALB face when using this manufacturing process?

The practicality of metal to plastic conversion has to be considered. Our team is great at communicating challenges and offering both material and design suggestions.

What opportunities are created by using this process? How many of DeKALB’s customers either require and/or prefer metal to plastic conversion?

Specialty Material Handling market segment would provide the greatest opportunity for conversion of metal to plastic. Those converted products could include pallets, bins, totes, and carts.

What is a product that was made using the metal to plastic conversion process?

A customer was having issues with a heavy metal automotive seat pallet that was damaging production lines within their facility. They needed something durable yet non-abrasive and plastic conversion was a great alternative.

DeKALB Molded Plastics has completed metal to plastic conversion for a wide array of industries. Communicate directly with our engineering team today to discover the possibility of transforming your metal products to plastic.

What is Foam Injection Molding?

Transcript: Foam injection molding is a process in which we take thermoplastic material and induce a colorant as well as a blowing agent in there to expand the material out. What we do is we bring in the material in from a hopper or a gondola, come into a process in which we blend it with that colorant and with that blowing agent into a hopper feeder. It then goes into a screw that is then fed the material into an accumulator. From that accumulator, then feeds into our injection process. The accumulator then feeds in through injection process into an aluminum mold. That’s the nice thing about our process is that we use less expensive molds. We don’t use steel ones. We use aluminum ones. By having that it’s a major advantage. The material is then through multiple ports injected into usually a single cavity tool. We may put more than one cavity into a press, but it’s multiple ports coming into one cavity.

What are Characteristics of Gas Assist Molded Parts?

Transcription: A gas assisted injection molded part is going to have a little more of a look like a high pressure injection molded product. There won’t be a lot of swirls. It’ll be more of a solid look, but still, won’t be a perfect class A surface. Adequate for most applications, it still is a very structural product. It has the gas channels but will look a lot like injection molding.

What is structural foam molding?

Transcript:

Structural foam molding is a process in which we use similar thermoplastics but you use blowing agents and you use colorants, and the blowing agents allow you to expand the material into the mold at a much lower pressure than you would on a high injection pressure system. What that does that gives you very good structural strength, it gives you the ability to save between 15-20% of your thermoplastic materials, it gives you the ability to make larger parts of that structural condition that you may not be able to do within a high pressure injection molding process.

Surviving the Recession

DeKALB Molded Plastics celebrated their 30th Anniversary of business in the Structural Plastics industry in 2009. Much has changed over those 30 years — from the structural foam products they first produced to the techniques they now employ to run the business. From products such as the first swimming pool panel, to the computer housings, and now on to the complex medical cabinetry—DeKALB has maintained their primary focus of “providing customer satisfaction that is unequaled in the Structural Plastics Industry”. Over the past 30 years, however, more has changed than just a few machines and the products DeKALB creates. DeKALB has become an ever-changing company in the midst of economic crises, and meeting the needs of its customers.

The president of the company, Rick Walters, said that DeKALB Molded Plastics has been through downturns in the economy before and they have learned how to manage through the tough times. They “know how to plan when business gets tight”, but this time they were going to have to “anticipate even less” in order to stay ahead of the recession curve. To ensure survival for both DeKALB and their customers, lower costs and higher value of services had to be made available.

Recognizing that this recession was going to touch virtually all companies, DeKALB knew their customers would be implementing some of the same financial strategies they would be forced to consider. Cutting inventories, staff, and general expenses would be the norm. But rather than “hunker down”, DeKALB chose to be proactive. They knew they would have to provide options and solutions to help their customers weather the storm. They chose to take customer service to a new level.

DeKALB decided to be aggressive, to invest and grow; positioning to support their valued customers and to prepare for the return of the better economy. First, a new Sales Team was established. Amy Aleshire, Sales Administrator, was promoted to oversee all existing accounts. She works closely to better understand each customer’s needs, for today and the future. A new position was added to focus on new business opportunities. Darryl Warren, New Business Development Lead, was hired. His mission is to find new and non-traditional applications for the future. A marketing initiative was launched. SMP of Milwaukee, led by Teresa Schell, is helping share the DeKALB message with those looking for a plastics solution partner.

Understanding that to meet their customer’s needs DeKALB had to be better every day, they partnered with Harbour Results Inc. to lead and train them in Lean Continuous Improvement techniques. At DeKALB, they are learning how to cut back on all forms of waste, make their products more environmentally friendly, and shift their overall focus even more towards serving their customers. Over the next few years, DeKALB will expand further into their local and global communities, to help people learn that plastics can be a safe and efficient product for thousands of different uses.