DeKALB Celebrates 20 Years Under Rodgers and Walters’ Leadership

DeKALB Molded Plastics is thrilled to be commemorating 20 years of local ownership under Jeff Rodgers and Rick Walters, and 38 years overall of successful business, relationships, and service to the community.

Founded in 1978, DeKALB Molded Plastics is a custom structural foam molder specializing in large, multi-nozzle plastic products. DeKALB was one of the first ISO 9002 certified (currently 9001:2015) structural plastics molders in the US. In 1997, Jeff Rodgers and Rick Walters purchased DeKALB from their parent company, JSJ Corporation. While the two serve as owners, Walters is also the President and CEO.

“We couldn’t be happier to be celebrating 20 incrediblely productive years with our team members and the community,” says Walters. “From the start, DeKALB has aimed to be a one-stop shop for your plastic and assembly requirements, and I think we’ve achieved that status and then some.”

One of DeKALB’s biggest differentiators under the leadership of Rodgers and Walters has been their commitment to the local community of Butler, Indiana.

“DeKALB is really engaged with our community because you have to make where you live a really good place,” says Walters. “That’s a combination of work, home, and anything else that’s around you. We work hard to make sure we put our time and our talents back into our community. A lot of people will help financially but really it’s about the time. It’s about getting out there, making contributions, and engaging – that’s what brings the win.”

The entire DeKALB organization will be hosting a party on Sunday, September 10, 2017, to officially celebrate their 20 years of outstanding leadership.

Level Three AchieveWELL

DeKALB is proud to be recognized as a Three Star AchieveWELL organization.

AchieveWell-BannerLevel3AchieveWELL 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.

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.

Dedication to Customers and Community Drives DeKALB’s Culture

Our mission at DeKALB Molded Plastics is simple: To provide customer satisfaction that is unsurpassed in the structural plastics industry. This starts with our internal strategies. All of our employees are instilled with this mission, always providing the best possible service for our customers and embracing our community, whether it be in the office or off the clock.

We understand that our employees are the backbone of DeKALB, hence our industry Excellence Award for Employee Relations. We’re proud of the devotion towards a healthy company culture which creates dedicated and passionate employees, which is key to a happy customer. From company golf outings to DeKALB cook outs, there are numerous events held to keep our employees engaged in the culture that surrounds us. Our employees even enjoy free Fitbits to help track and monitor their health.

DeKALB Molded Plastics wouldn’t be the company it is today without the support of the community. That’s why the team at DeKALB holds a variety of events giving back to the town of Butler. Every year we host the Annual Recognition Dinner, paying homage to the Butler Police, Fire, and EMS departments, giving each member a small token of our appreciation as well as a donation to each department. While we consistently donate to organizations recommended to us by our employees, one of our favorite charitable contributions is to the local Butler school system. DeKALB is also a proud corporate sponsor of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. In recent years, we have participated in the United Way Day of Caring, a volunteer opportunity to lend a helping hand to local nonprofits and give back to the great community that embraces our company.

At DeKALB, it’s very important that all of our employees are on the same page. Synergy is promoted through communication. This is what builds our culture at DeKALB. With a combination of unsurpassed customer satisfaction, community involvement, and employee recognition, we are able to create an enjoyable work place and maintain our strong reputation. Giving back not only helps the community and our team members, it helps DeKALB become a better company for our customers.

DeKALB Molded Plastics President Rick Walters Appointed CEO

Butler, IN – DeKALB Molded Plastics’ incumbent president, Rick Walters, added Chief Executive Officer to his title effective March 1, 2016. The move comes from DeKALB owner Jeff Rodgers, who has long planned on relinquishing more responsibility to Walters.

“This is a decision that should have been made a couple of years ago,” said Rodgers. “Rick has done an admiral job of managing DeKALB Molded Plastics, and this promotion signifies my continued confidence in his skills.”

Having worked at DeKALB his entire career, Rick Walters has an established network of professional partners and friends. His technical knowledge and understanding of the importance of team help support employees throughout all areas of the organization.

With new authority, Walters seeks continued success for DeKALB. The first of his main priorities is to advance DeKALB’s development plan, building the next generation of leaders and maintaining status as a premier structural plastics molder. He also strives to capture new business opportunities by promoting DeKALB’s value-added capabilities and the structural plastics process.

“DeKALB exists because of the great employees who understand how to be successful and know how to bring real value to our customers. I have always enjoyed being a part of our group and am blessed to be their leader,” said Walters. “I really care about each of them. Being CEO enhances my opportunity to promote individual creativity and help tell their story. I’ll cheer and channel their ideas for our team successes, and our celebrations will be intense!”

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About DeKALB Molded Plastics:

Founded in 1978, DeKALB Molded Plastics is a custom structural foam molder specializing in large, multi-nozzle plastic products. As one of the first ISO 9002, currently 9001:2008, certified structural plastics molders in the US, DeKALB offers a variety of value-added operations, including in-house post mold painting, plastic decorating capabilities, kitting, and assembly requirements for programs ranging from single stand-alone products to complex, multi-component, multi-operation programs. For more information on DeKALB Molded Plastics, please call 260-868-2105 or visit www.dekalbplastics.com.

Media Contact:

Teresa Schell
President | Vive, LLC
414.292.1291
tschell@vive4mfg.com

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.