Category Archives: Plastics Manufacturing

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?

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.

Inventory Management Benefits for Customers

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.”

Operational Efficiency

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.

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.

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.

Continuous Improvement for Operational Excellence

Operational-ExcellenceTo best serve our customers, DeKALB Molded Plastics fosters an environment that is focused on continuous improvement and forward momentum. Customers rely on our operational excellence, which is the development and implementation of innovative operating systems with a defined process, to achieve established goals and objectives.

Customers demand excellence and precision; therefore we promote a positive company culture and support all behavioral actions that result in a successful completion of goals.

Employees are encouraged to provide suggestions for improvement along with the implementation of solutions, which result in time and cost savings for our customers.

Quality is our Foundation

In order to ensure the continual delivery of high-quality products for our customers, we are ISO 9001 certified and diligently follow a quality system manual. The manual provides a roadmap for the activities, procedures and interactions utilized in:

  • Management processes
  • Support processes
  • Core flow processes
  • Verification processes

In addition to standard quality criteria, DeKALB partners with each customer to develop criteria based on the requirements and expectations of their specific project. This is supported with written procedures, quality forms, work instructions and photos.

Innovation that Excels 

While DeKALB relies on an internal system that demands operational excellence and emphasizes quality, it is crucial to support our initiatives with superior technologies, equipment and/or system management programs. These investments ultimately result in speed-to-market initiatives, quality assurance and cost savings for each customer project completed.

An example of this is our recent investment in a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, a process management software, that allows our team to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate back office functions. The ERP software integrates all facets of an operation, including product planning, development, manufacturing processes, sales and marketing. DeKALB’s ERP is geared toward plastic manufacturing and has proved to be an efficient operating tool to drive opportunities for new partnerships and continued growth.

As we look to the future, we recognize that continuous improvement is essential to our growth strategies. By learning new skills and broadening our horizons, DeKALB provides resources for personal and professional development. We trust our team to be prepared with a solutions-oriented perspective as complex projects and challenging customer demands arise.

By: Diane Fogle, Production Scheduler / Inventory Control Coordinator

DeKALB Molded Plastics' Virtual Home

As our culture continues to become more virtually and electronically connected, DeKALB Molded Plastics wants to ensure all visitors have a positive experience while on our company website. Whether you are sitting at a desktop computer or using a tablet at a business meeting, you will find the information you need quickly and easily.

While DeKALB places emphasis on the newest technologies and equipment for structural plastics inside our facility; continuous improvement and excellence applies to our virtual presence as well. We know our website is your first source of information for discovering how our expertise in the structural plastics’ industry can benefit you.

Therefore, we want all visitors to feel just as welcome on the DeKALB website as they would walking through our front door. The following updates have been implemented to make that possible:

  1. New Design - The new design complements our ever-evolving brand identity, which is centered upon superior customer service and quality products!
  2. New Pictures - We couldn’t think of a better way to showcase our company culture and overall capabilities than by simply showing you!
  3. Simpler Navigation – You want information quickly and efficiently; we put the most relevant information on the front page so you don’t have to click around!
  4. Responsive Design – Now wherever you are, we are! We want you to have the best access to our website no matter what device you are using.
  5. Updated Descriptions – Our website has been re-written to ensure you understand our core capabilities and products better.

While nothing compares to meeting with you in person, we hope the website makes you feel welcome and that you visit often. To get to know the team at DeKALB even better, make sure to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Facebook!

What is Special Material Handling?

Transcription:  One of the target markets for DeKalb Molded Plastics is specialty material handling. We do pallets. We do containers. But really we do things that are specific to an application. It may be a metal product. It may be a medical product, but it has to be handled and protected really well and that’s what we do really, really well. A lot of people do pallets, a lot of people do the big containers, but we will specialize. Special totes, things protect and keep these things safe.

DeKALB Molded Plastics featured in Manufacturing Today

The summer issue of Manufacturing Today highlights DeKALB Molded Plastics' commitment to strategy and investments which support not only the manufacturing process but also employees.

An excerpt of the article:

Founded in 1979, DeKalb Molded Plastics has spent more than 34 years building its reputation in the structural foam industry. A custom structural foam molder, DeKalb specializes in structural foam injection molding and gas assist molding, and large, multi-nozzle plastic products.

DeKalb was one of the first ISO 9002-certified structural plastics molders in the United States. Among the company’s services are in-house post mold painting; plastic decorating capabilities; kitting and assembly requirements for programs for single standalone products; or complex, multicomponent, multi-operation programs.

Read the entire article about DeKALB Molded Plastics.