Category Archives: Plastics Molding

What are some plastic assembly requirements that DeKalb Plastics has performed?

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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.

What is DeKALB’s plastics manufacturing size capabilities?

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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.

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.

How can DeKALB Molded Plastics help with the tooling process?

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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.

Can DeKalb Plastics help with a metal to plastic mold conversion?

Transcript: DeKALB has worked with people doing metal to plastic product conversion before, specifically in the cargo boxes for some of the ATVs, the utility-type ATVs. We’ve worked with three or four different groups and ended up you don’t always win every one, unfortunately, but we do have one that we’re doing right now that’s been going for several years now and a very successful thing. Matter of fact, we’ve had a couple of other people call up about that and ask some questions trying to get some confidential information, which of course, we can’t share. That’s one area that we’ve seen very successful transfer.

How can DeKALB help with my plastic product design?

Transcription: I think DeKALB is very in tune with what the customer likes to see. We have the technical expertise here. We are not necessarily design responsible, but we have the ability to support, determine what structural parameters need to be into the design, so we assist with that. We assist with the tooling design to make sure that it’ll produce the part that they would like to see. We assist with material selections so that it will help the customer achieve the characteristics that they’d like to see, the performance criteria they would like to be able to achieve in their product design.

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.

Benefits of Converting Metal, Concrete and Wood to Plastic

The conversion of metal, concrete and wood components to plastic have delivered significant, and in many cases unmatched cost savings.

Most materials have a set of properties and characteristics that are commonly known for their current design and use. The primary consideration for a possible plastic material in any application is the effect of “normal” operating conditions. Characteristics of plastics are offered in a wide range to suit your needs for tensile strength, heat tolerance, and chemical resistance with over 70,000 resins available. Various fillers and additives allow flexibility in most plastic resins to meet specific criteria.

Things to consider in plastic selection:

  • Temperature requirements-what environment will the plastic be exposed to?
  • Can plastics reduce the steps required to make a product?
  • What are the dimensional requirements?
  • Will the part require physical characteristics for heat or electricity conduction?
  • Does the part come in contact or have exposure to chemicals? What kind?
  • Investment in tooling

The primary benefits of plastic are:

  • Weight reduction
  • Strength to weight ratio
  • Lower cost
  • Reduce the number of components in an assembly
  • Incorporate recyclable materials
  • Can be integrated with other materials
  • Reduce manufacturing scrap costs

DeKalb Molded Plastics offers expertise in plastic product design, material selection, molding, finishing and decorating that provides the solution to your product needs.

New Market Expansion in Plastics Manufacturing

To better understand our fit and penetrate new markets, DeKALB Molded Plastics sent representatives to several industry trade shows. As an innovative, evolving company, our marketing department is investigating segments where we have a sustainable fit to determine where we can add more value and develop long term relationships.

For many years we have been successful delivering high quality, competitive products in Medical segments. Hence, we are investing to broaden our value proposition in this growing area. We attended the industry’s premier tradeshow, Medical Design and Manufacturing: Midwest and West Coast. There, we confirmed our best fit to add the most value is in the design and manufacturing of medical housings or casings for large medical equipment. Our current success supplying housings for dialysis machines prepares us well to meet expectations of large equipment manufacturers. Other medical applications we are experienced in manufacturing include bone density machines and MRI equipment.

Other tradeshows attended were the CFSA (Casket and Funeral Supply Association), G2E (Global Gaming Show), and AWEA (American Wind Energy Association Expo). The renewed global focus of caring for the environment has generated the increased need to convert metal to plastic in basic staple segments of Death Care, Entertainment & Energy. We will utilize our proven experience to help these industries accomplish their goals cost effectively and contribute to all of our environmental goals.

The pressure to manage and reduce costs has recently impacted even these recession resistant industries. Our extensive experience and proven track record reducing part weights, converting materials and commercializing innovative applications will definitely benefit these basic life staple industries in the process of restructuring in the new global economy. Darryl Warren, New Business Development Lead at DeKALB Molded Plastics states, “We will flawlessly execute our long term, sustainable marketing strategy to deliver the best value to our customers. Our investments will continue to grow life-necessary market segments and contribute successful results in good and recessionary times”. This strategy will work well to ensure this structural foam manufacturer will be delivering value for another 30 years, plus!

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.