All posts by Clinton Dybul

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.

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

Transcript:

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?

Transcript:

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.

How can DeKALB Molded Plastics help with the tooling process?

Transcript:

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.

What is DeKALB's commitment to robotics?

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.

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.

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.