Category Archives: Plastics Manufacturing
DeKALB is proud to be recognized as a Three Star AchieveWELL organization.
AchieveWELL is an award winning, proven strategic process, developed by the Wellness Council of Indiana, which provides a road map to the destination of a good workplace while recognizing excellence in the field of health promotion. AchieveWELL works with companies and organizations by providing tools and coaching help to create a more consistent work place.
To become a Three Star AchieveWELL organization, DeKALB made several strategic changes to help promote wellness throughout the organization. Implementing wellness was well received amongst our leadership team and become apparent by their participation and encouragement in companywide challenges, up to and including the president/CEO. Challenges were a great to introduce wellness into our culture and helped build moral and camaraderie amongst the employees. And, there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition.
In addition to challenges, we also introduced healthier vending machine options. Healthier items are encouraged but we don’t take away people’s choices by eliminating completely. Healthier selections are available at a slightly lower cost which is yet another encouragement. Improving our overall communication and education opportunities was key for our employees to be successful in their wellness journey. Provide the information and opportunity, the rest is supported by their strategic focus to live healthier.
Wellness is ingrained in both DeKALB’s mission and vision. We are not satisfied with a Three Star AcheiveWELL certification, and DeKALB is committed to becoming Four Star certified in 2017 and Five Star in 2018.
MAPP Innovation Award
DeKALB also received the 2016 MAPP Innovation Award. Capturing over 120 votes for the water manifold entry, voted on by plastics professionals in the United States, DeKALB won the award by a landslide.
Along with the title the award came with a monetary to award our employees for a job well done, free entries to a future plant tour event, special recognition during the 2016 MAPP Benchmarking Conference, and recognition in the national industry publication Plastics Business.
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.
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.
We’ve had everything from whether it’s just bolting another piece on to cutting their part and hot plate welding a cover piece back onto a sheet onto it, to liner assembly. We have particular one that it’s a pickup truck toolbox and parts come out. We have some little pieces that are molded elsewhere, hardware is all right there. It comes out and runs through an assembly, goes into the box with the instructions with the mounting hardware, gets the in customers barcode label on the corner of the box. If you go to the store, nobody else has touched it. The way it went away from our machine is exactly the way the customer gets it. We provide that level of solution if that’s what’s needed.
Many people come to DeKALB Molded Plastics because we can make large parts. Large parts, structural foam, gas assist, very, very well. We can make products up to 150 pounds at our facility, but really it’s the type of process that we can do. Because they are so large, we can be cost effective with the rate reduction, and again, providing the characteristics that you need for your large part. We present warp, creep, all the building stresses that come with an injection molded part go away with structural foam.
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.
I have a product engineer that is very intimate with the tooling process. He does a very close negotiation with the customer and their design staff. He interfaces very closely with the tool shops. We don’t necessarily select or control the operations at the tool shop, but we are very intimate with making sure that it accomplishes what the customer would like to see. That interface between the customer, the tool shop, and my product engineer is very integral to making sure that that all comes together in a successful job.
For the team of experts at DeKALB Molded Plastics, inventory accuracy is a major focus from all levels and aspects of the company. In order to accomplish this, we have established a reliable management system in all phases of production from the hardware (wireless AP), handheld scanners, barcode printers and data entry/collection stations at all presses. By coupling that with a top-notch ERP System and the proper training, we have successfully accomplished a solid management system.
Warehouse management at DeKALB is supported and accomplished through our ERP system (or IQMS). This program enables us to be organized and streamlined by receiving the items, printing barcoded labels and moving materials to the press, as well as scanning labels to ship produced items to our customers.
As stated by IQMS, this program enables our team to properly “monitor, manage, analyze and report on the manufacturing process from end-to-end, giving you real-time visibility and control over your entire manufacturing supply chain.”
By regularly maintaining important steps with our ERP system, we are able to be more efficient, which saves time and money for the customer. Our team is always focused on implementing the following process:
- Product is ticketed upon receipt
- Product is ticketed once produced
- Product is logically organized and categorized
- When product is shipped, the tickets are scanned and recorded
Customer Service is Priority
A major reason why DeKALB has invested time and money into an efficient ERP system is to provide cost and time savings for our customers. Therefore, our system is very streamlined to allow for an easy-to-follow set of instructions that pertain to sales orders, pick tickets, resin orders and scheduling. To have a recorded process, which all managers can access and adjust, has substantially reduced the shipping of non-conformance products. In fact, customers have attested to our reliability as there have been zero shipment errors since the inception of the ERP system.
DeKALB’s commitment to robotics is that we’re really trying to advance our processes. You can see behind us we have an application in which we have a very high level, very critical product that’s coming out. From an efficiency standpoint and material handling standpoint because of it’s complexity it’s much easier for us to be able to use that with a robotics application. It makes us more efficient. It makes us better quality coming out and a safer unload of the press when we use the robotics application.
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.