The Benefit of Using Recycled Resins   

As plastic products become more common throughout the world, we increasingly become more concerned about the effects it has on the environment. Many people call for waste control solutions, while others call for restrictions, reduction, and a push for strong recycling programs. Manufacturers are able to recycle plastic by shredding and reducing plastic products into pellets that can then be re-processed. These pellets are then re-molded into another useful product and provide value once again.

At DeKALB, recycling is exactly what we do – we process 100% recycled resins in many of our structural foam molded products to make sure old materials get a second life. Re-using plastic waste helps reduce our carbon footprint by keeping plastics out of landfills and creating products that can be used for another generation.

Cost Savings Opportunities

Using recycled resins can result in a significant price reduction in many products. Resin savings can be as much as 50% more compared to virgin resins, while some products can be made with up to 100% recycled material. DeKALB encourages our clients to consider the benefits of integrating recycled resins into their products when we first sit down to talk with them. We encourage the use of sustainable manufacturing solutions as it benefits both the customer and the environment.

The resin market can often fluctuate in price and product availability, especially during times of uncertainty. Many molding companies will lean more heavily on recycled materials when virgin resin costs increase dramatically or are not available. DeKALB consistently uses recycled resins to reduce customers’ daily costs, not just as an exception during unstable market times.

Where Our Recycled Resins Come From

DeKALB processes millions of pounds of recycled resin material each year in our structural foam molded products. Most recycled resins in DeKALB’s products are polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), although additional thermoplastic resins are recycled as well.

DeKALB purchases much of its recycled resin from recyclers or reclaimers who process the resins from post-consumer and post-industrial materials. These companies will process scraped products by sorting, cleaning, and grinding the material into pellets ready for molding new products.

DeKALB also directs scrap materials from our operation to be recycled rather than be sent to a landfill.  No matter if the recycled pellets come from home, the office, or a manufacturing facility—everyone benefits when plastics are re-used.

Choosing the Right Resin

With DeKALB’s wide selection of thermoplastics, we have the right material to suit the needs of your product’s specifications. Both Commodity and Engineered grade resins can be molded using recycled resins, and additives can also enhance product performance, strength, impact, or UV protection. Some resins and additives include:

  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polystyrene (PS)
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
  • Polycarbonate (PC)
  • Nylon (PA)
  • Glass Fiber or Beads
  • UV Protection
  • Fillers / Reinforcements
  • Impact Modifiers
  • Rubber

DeKALB’s plastic parts, fillers, and reinforcements are guaranteed to make a strong and long-lasting manufactured product. We can mold almost any recycled thermoplastic resin, which helps keep more debris out of landfills and get us one step closer to a cleaner future.

Benefits of Using Recycled Resin

We help companies save money, and surpass the uncertainty in price changes and resin shortages, by utilizing recycled resin instead of virgin resin for plastic manufactured products.

Some of the main benefits DeKALB can offer our customers with recycled materials are:

  • Lower cost
  • Long life expectancy
  • Increased strength and durability
  • Lower cost for molding
  • Excellent substitute for other materials

Leaving a Greener Footprint

Pushing for cost savings and sustainable alternatives is what makes DeKALB stand out from the competition. Our thermoplastics are manufactured with 100% recycled material, and some resins can even be recycled multiple times, all depending on the demand of the product and its purpose. The green advantage is taking recycled material while considering quality specs and ensuring they still pass the standards of new virgin resin.

Maintaining excellence with reclaimed products helps clear old post-consumer and post-industrial parts from making their way into landfills. DeKALB has recycled over 20 million pounds of recycled product in a single year, as stated by the CEO, Rick Walters. That recycled product has helped keep our planet clean as well as help consumers with significant cost savings in the long run. Every client we work with drives our green initiative to help them find quality parts for half the cost. Recycling is simply the right thing to do!

The DeKALB Difference

For over 40 years, DeKALB Molded Plastics has earned its reputation in the plastics industry for best-in-class quality products and services. We are dedicated to providing the best solutions and customer care that make a difference. We are an ISO 001:2015 certified full-service provider offering customization and value-added options, from structural foam molding to gas assist molding services. Our highly skilled team will work alongside our clients to produce the best quality products every time.

Want to know how DeKALB is paving the way for a more sustainable future? Contact us today to learn more.  

How Artwork from a COVID-19 Survivor Brought Joy to Manufacturing

COVID art

The year of uncertainty and health concerns affected many globally, including those in our own community. This uncertainty inspired two of our fellow DeKALB team members to share their father's artwork and bring positivity to others. Phil, an 83-year-old retired teacher, was stuck at home during the pandemic due to health issues, and he began coloring pictures as an outlet to spread joy and keep himself busy. This activity made Phil and his daughters, Cathy and Beth, think about how they could bring everyone together through creating inspiring and positive artwork.

Phil’s limitations due to health concerns and being on oxygen made it difficult for him to do the things he normally did; however, that didn’t stop him from spreading inspiration through his art. Phil finds joy in coloring due to his past career as a fifth-grade teacher, connecting with creativity as he would with his students back then. He spent his time creatively drawing messages like “Don’t Be Afraid to be Great!”, “Don’t Stop Believing”, and “Never Stop Making Wishes”, which he then shared with his daughters. To draw these pictures, Phil’s supplies included a pencil sharpener, colored pencils, and a stack of coloring books to pass the time and put his soul at ease.

Every week, Phil sent his daughters pictures of his art, which made them think of how they could spread his passion to others in the community. Cathy mentioned how excited her father gets whenever he sends over his colored pictures, which was what made Cathy and her sister agree on sharing their dad’s artwork with their coworkers.

Cathy & Beth DeKALB

Pictured: Elizabeth (left) and Cathy (right)

DeKALB's employees started slowly coming back into the workplace once the restrictions from the pandemic lifted. Cathy has stated it’s been like riding a bike for the first time in a while – slow at first but getting easier every day. DeKALB made the return safe for its workers: they were careful to put protocols in place to make everyone feel safe, including wiping down all workspaces, ensuring all workers wore masks, and sanitizing the equipment.

Everyone at the DeKALB offices needed something to make them smile during the uncertainty of returning to normal after the pandemic. The girls decided to share Phil's art at their workplace, and it instantly received glowing feedback. The motivational pictures Phil shared with his daughters were now displayed in the front office on a running PowerPoint. This helped spread messages that uplifted people and made everyone know that we're all in it together as a community.

The positive feedback received from Phil’s art made everyone at DeKALB come together and grow as a team. Phil and his daughters were moved by the company’s response, and they will continue to spread his creativity beyond the workplace. The girls mentioned they have future projects in mind, and they hope to display their father's artwork around Butler, IN by making a photo book of his work, sharing his creativity, and helping people come together.

Thank you, Phil, for your work! A pencil and paper can truly make a significant impact on people’s lives, and DeKALB will continue to showcase its positive impact to the workplace and local community.

Want to stay connected with DeKALB's company news? Check out our blog and social channels at DeKALB Molded Plastics to get the latest information!

What Role does Resin Selection Play in Structural Foam?

Anyone who works in the plastics industry understands how vital a role resin selection plays in injection molding, and how important it is to pick the correct resin for the correct product application. When it comes to structural foam molding, resin selection no different – choosing the right resin is critical for success. The base resin is the most important material component in the product development process, and performance will be dependent on the correct selection. Clear expectations and specifications need to be identified to be able to select the correct resin.

When creating a structural foam molded product, one of the top priorities should be identifying the type of resin being used. Understanding what the finished product is going to be used for is a good first step to take – several properties must be evaluated before choosing the right type of resin, including:

  • Chemical resistance – material that can resist most types of chemicals, such as acetones, ketones, oils, minerals, and acetates
  • Weather/environmental resistance – material that can withstand heat, corrosion, and oxidation
  • Temperature range – material that can withstand a wide range of varying temperatures
  • Flame Retardant—material that is burn resistant
  • Impact Strength – the ability of a plastic to absorb energy during plastic deformation
  • Flexibility – ability to bend and move without breaking

Since different resins offer different properties, knowing what application the plastic product will be used for is essential when choosing the right resin. With many resin classes to choose from, we have the opportunity to customize each product for every application.

What Types of Resin can be Used in Structural Foam Molding?

Once the resin has been selected, it needs to be capable of being molded using the structural foam molding process. This resin also must be compatible with other additives, such as colorants, elastomers, impact modifiers, and Chemical Foaming Agents (CBA).

Some high-quality resin materials to choose from for structural foam molded products include:

  • HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)—low-cost, weatherproof, and good chemical resistance
  • PP (Polypropylene)—good heat and chemical resistance
  • PS (Polystyrene)—strong and rigid
  • ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)– good impact strength and rigidity
  • Polycarbonate – strong with good temperature range
  • PPO/PPE—excellent heat resistance and stability

The possibilities are endless when choosing a plastic resin for a particular structural foam molded component, but each resin should depend on what the structural foam molded part will be used for. The experts at DeKALB will help find the best type of resin for each structural foam molded component, no matter what the application.

The Structural Foam Process

Once the base resin and any additives have been selected, the molding process is ready to begin.  DeKALB focuses on low-pressure structural foam molding: during the molding process, the chosen resin mixes with a Chemical Blowing Agent (CBA) and/or nitrogen gas before being injected into the mold.  When injected, the combined material will create cells or bubbles on the inside of the molded part.  As the part cools, a solid resin layer forms against the mold, which will give it a solid exterior. The honeycomb structure of the molded part is rigid and strong, while at the same time making it lightweight and easier to move.

The DeKALB Difference

There are many benefits to utilizing structural foam molding to manufacture your components instead of other types of plastic injection molding. These benefits include:

  • Less energy waste – the structural foam molding process uses less energy per pound of plastic and uses less raw material overall
  • Increased performance – the structural nature of the resin in the component allows for better performance per pound.
  • Material variety – numerous types of resins can be used in structural foam molded products
  • Cost-efficiency – quality and easily-repeatable parts can be produced for less

DeKALB Molded Plastics is proud of the world-class quality reputation we have established in the structural foam molding industry. With a focus on continuous improvement, we achieve our high commitment to quality by adhering to clearly defined standards that help to control all process variables.

We have more than 40 years of experience serving our customers with high-quality structural foam molding services. With a wide range of capabilities in plastic processing and an experienced team of engineers, operators, and quality technicians, DeKALB Molded Plastics can handle any challenge.

Ready to see how DeKALB Molded Plastics can do for you? Click here to get your next project started.

Safety – DeKALB Molded Plastics’ Top Priority

Safety truly is a feeling, and everyone can recall a time where they did not feel safe. This uncomfortable emotion usually brings one action to the forefront – leave as soon as possible.

At DeKALB Molded Plastics, safety is everything. When our employees come to work or when guests visit, we want them and their families to know that DeKALB is a safe place.

We believe from top to bottom at our company that safety requires everyone. When we feel safe, we are more productive and happier. When being safe, we maintain a sense of security for everyone who enters our building.

Why Workplace Safety Matters

While there will always be critical safety regulations for every business to follow, ensuring the safety of everyone takes work. In January 2021, Honeywell conducted a survey that found that 68% of workers do not feel completely safe in their buildings.

In a study conducted by Lockheed Martin, they developed a safety culture that resulted in employee productivity increasing by 24% and factory costs decreased by 20%.

Beyond safety being a basic human right, developing a safe work environment creates happier, more productive employees who are less accident-prone, decreasing downtime.

Making Workplace Safety Our Top Priority

In late 2019, while attending the annual Manufacturer's Association for Plastics Processors, Inc. (MAPP) Benchmarking Conference, DeKALB was struck by the powerful story shared by keynote speaker Kina Hart. Kina shared the horrific tragedy of how she lost her arm within an hour of the first day of her summer job at age 20. Kina’s living testament for safety reminded us about how we need to make safety personal.

Kina’s inspiring message empowered us to reflect on our thought process and reemphasize the importance of safety throughout our company. After completing our 2020 goal planning, our top priority was ensuring that we were fully committed to safety. The result of our planning was a zero-tolerance policy on accidents in the workplace. Outlined in our updated Safety Policy, DeKALB is dedicated to creating a safe work environment because we are unwilling to give up anyone’s safety.

“Our goal was to create an environment where people no longer felt like they were reprimanding someone if they ask them to put the safety glasses on,” said Doug Bonecutter, general manager at DeKALB Molded Plastics. “We wanted to create a sense of caring about others regarding safety to the point where I have to say something or I may regret it.”

How DeKALB Refocused Safety Efforts

Having a safety policy is just the start. The next step is to create a culture where everyone buys into it. While DeKALB Molded Plastics has always committed to safety, we saw an opportunity to encourage growth by having employees think about their personal safety and the safety of those around them at every opportunity.

We implemented several different tactics to make this happen:

  • Safety Tab on our Website: From our manufacturing floor to the website, safety is vitally important to us – which is why it is the first tab on our website. Our safety page includes our safety policy and our first safety video, which explains our zero-tolerance goal.
  • Revised our Coaching Philosophy – The DeKALB Way: To make safety the priority of everyone, we have empowered our employees to call out unsafe situations. Every leadership person at our facility can do a coaching event with any employee to talk about something they see them doing right or something they need to change related to safety. We created this philosophy not to call out mistakes but to ensure that all of our employees are safe.
  •  Instituting the Stop, Call, Wait System:
    • Stop – the person or activity that is going on unsafely.
    • Call – to have it fixed or get the proper PPE, etc.
    • Wait – before resuming, to ensure that the situation is safe or the PPE is on.

This system allows everyone on the floor to point out good things or give reminders related to safety. There are blue cards for employee-to-employee interaction - helpful for building a family culture that cares enough about each other to immediately take action to stop at-risk behavior or recognize safety leadership.

  • Ready to Respond: At DeKALB, we are thrilled that our entire company has bought into safety, which has extended well past following our guidelines. Currently, almost one-third of our employees are certified CPR and first aid first responders. Recently one of our employees on the floor stepped up and went through training to be a certified CPR and first aid teacher, allowing us to train additional personnel right at the plant as needed.
  • Weekly Safety Talks – Each week, every person in the facility attends a safety talk, led by the supervisor, where employees and departments who meet their safety contact goals are recognized. These meetings also provide the opportunity to reiterate the safety theme of the month. DeKALB also tracks overall safety contacts as a KPI and discusses them at these meetings.

In addition, we have revamped our safety committee and meet monthly. US Compliance partnered with DeKALB to help update all of our written programs, ensuring our training is complete along while helping to train someone at the facility to allow for them to be certified to lead instruction for new employees.

Overall, safety at DeKALB is an all-out effort by everyone every day. Safety not only requires you to look out for your safety, but by practicing safe work habits, you are also looking out for everyone around you.

"Our program has changed the mindset that safety is the responsibility of the company, to it being the responsibility of everyone," said Bonecutter.

Safety Recognized - The DeKALB Difference

In early 2021, MAPP awarded DeKALB Molded Plastics with their 2020 Safety Award, a significant reflection of the hard work that all of our employees have done to make DeKALB a safe environment for everyone.

“Every single person here is engaged in our safety effort, and our employees have embraced the safety contact process,” said Marcia Lee, Human Resources Manager at DeKALB Molded Plastics. “It is a point of pride in getting recognized for the good things that you are doing and the work that everyone is involved in to make sure that we are all safe.”

We are thrilled with the success of our refocused efforts and are quickly establishing a reputation for when you think about safety, think DeKALB Molded Plastics.

Want to see the latest DeKALB News? Follow us on LinkedIn.

Is Gas Assist Molding with DeKALB Right for You?

When you see a smooth-looking finish on an industrial panel or on the blades of an air turbine, there is a good chance gas assist molding was used to manufacture this product. Many products we use every day require a brighter, smoother finish that will help enhance its performance, and gas assist molding achieves that every time. Through this process, nitrogen gas hollows out thick wall sections in a molded product. Then by combining air pressure with heat, the process creates a strong, robust part with a perfectly smooth finish.

DeKALB Molded Plastics delivers aesthetically pleasing, high-quality products for your industry with the help of gas assist molding. There is no room for error in the work we do, which is why all our products made with gas assist molding are flawless and functional.

What is Gas Assist Molding?

Gas assist molding is a highly technical type of injection molding that reaches beyond traditional design capabilities and processing limitations. This type of injection molding produces large plastic parts with complex designs. DeKALB Molded Plastics manufactures products through gas assist injection molding that makes life a little better and safer.

The high-speed, low-pressure injection method that DeKALB Molded Plastics uses in production is a competitive advantage. We utilize Milacron LPIM-Structural Web and Bauer Gas Assist technologies in our gas assist molding processes.

How Gas Assist Molding Works

Like standard injection molding, the process begins when a molding machine injects a short shot of resin into the mold. Then, just as the name suggests, high-pressure nitrogen gas is injected into the melt stream following the resin injection to assist. The nitrogen displaces the resin in flow or gas channels within thicker sections of the molded product. The end product will be hollow and have thick wall sections without sink marks or the swirl appearance typically characteristic of structural foam.

The flow path of the nitrogen gas depends on the resin flow in the cavity. Resin flow is determined by the volume and viscosity of the resin, not the nitrogen gas injection. Most thermoplastic materials can be used in gas assist molding.

What is Necessary for Success

In gas assist molding, the mold design and construction must be done correctly by experienced engineering and design teams. It is vital to have a shot control on the injection-molding machine that is both repeatable and accurate. Furthermore, the precision of time and pressure is necessary for achieving desired results with this technology. DeKALB Molded Plastics takes away any stress connected to these factors as we have the premier technology, tooling, and expertise to get the job done right.

Benefits of Gas Assist Molding

With less plastic material needed to produce the part, because the hollow areas are created with nitrogen gas rather than resin, gas assist molding can be a greener solution. The process of gas assist often allows for the consolidation of multiple parts into one. The process reduces or eliminates any need for secondary assembly processes. Additionally, with less clamping force required and a reduced amount of components under stress, gas assist molding can produce higher volumes with less frequent mold maintenance or repairs.

Gas assist molding has many other benefits, including:

  • The product will be lightweight while still being strong and firm. The nitrogen gas can form hollowed-out areas within parts (such as steering wheels, handles, etc.).
  • Gas assist injection molding produces more aesthetically pleasing parts. There is a reduced risk of flaws, sink marks, and shrinking with this technology.
  • When compared to standard injection molding, gas assist reduces cooling and overall cycle time.
  • Gas assist injection molding is an easy way to convert existing large metal parts to plastic, providing a better quality alternative.

Is Gas Assist Molding Right for You?

There are numerous benefits to gas assist injection molding as an alternative to various molding disciplines, including injection molding, rotational molding, blow molding, SMC, BMC, and die cast. If the product you need has a complex design, thick geometry, or both, gas assist molding is a great option to consider.

The DeKALB Difference

DeKALB Molded Plastics has earned its best-in-class quality reputation in the structural plastics industry. We are committed to solutions, and we manufacture products that make a difference. DeKALB provides large, high-quality components with value-add options such as painting, fabricating, assembly and more. Our highly skilled team trains to produce quality molded plastics every time.

At DeKALB Molded Plastics, we’re committed to your goals. Ready to start the conversation? Contact us today to learn more.

Grateful: A Thankful Letter from the President

As the year nears the end, this period always serves as a time of reflection, a time to look back and acknowledge the challenges while remembering the highlights. In most years, we sit around a table of loved ones and go around sharing memories. While we will remember 2020 for its unique tests, and our holiday celebrations might look different, there is still plenty to be grateful for this year.

At DeKALB Molded Plastics, this year began with an optimistic outlook.  We were committed to a strong year, leading with our strategic focus on safety. As our team planned our 2020 goals, we made it clear – we will never give up on anyone’s safety. No matter what, our goal remains the same - zero safety issues! At DeKALB, safety is everyone’s responsibility. From our employees to our guests, we are committed to protecting everyone who steps foot into our facility.

Dedicated Employees at DeKALB Molded Plastics

This year challenged our staff like never before. From adjusting to new safety policies to adapting to new COVID-19 protocols, our team has been excellent at being open-minded to change and continuing to come to work with a positive attitude.

I am so appreciative of the efforts of our staff. All of their hard work throughout the year has helped us gain new business opportunities and grow the partnerships of existing customers. Through it all, we were able to stay true to our core mission to provide unsurpassed satisfaction to all of our customers. I'd like to personally extend a thank you to the DeKALB staff for bringing energy and passion to the organization, buying into our process, allowing us to grow as professional individuals and as a business.

Our Customers – New & Old

To all of our customers, first and foremost, thank you for doing business with us. Without you, our business would not look the same. While this is true for any company, it resonates so much more this year as we have seen many have to scale back or close their doors.

This year required added patience as we all navigated through unscripted challenges. We cannot express enough how much we appreciate your loyalty, support and trust in DeKALB Molded Plastics to provide you with your structural foam needs. Thank you for believing in us, and we look forward to continuing to serve you as our on-going relationship continues to develop.

The DeKALB Community

Last and certainly not least, from our entire team at DeKALB Molded Plastics, we value the genuine relationship we have with our local community. From the day we first opened our doors, one of our core values has been to be an active member of our local community. To us, continuous improvement and care for our employees extend well past our walls and into our city. We dedicate our time to our community to help create a growing and supportive environment all around us.

We are grateful for the relationships that we have built within the area of Butler, IN. We are always happy to show our support as an active member of the community. While this year has had many canceled events, we were proud to still have the opportunity to give back through the annual United Way of DeKalb County Day of Caring event in September. However, one event that has been altered is our annual recognition dinner that honors members of the Butler Police Department, Butler Fire Department and locally stationed Parkview DeKalb EMTs. While the dinner is postponed, we will still be making a presentation of our support at an upcoming Butler City Council meeting next month.

I could go on about the many things I am indebted to, even in this time of challenge. Without the dedication of our staff, the support of our community and the confidence of our customers, DeKALB Molded Plastics would not be in business. For that, I am comforted, and I know the DeKALB teammates are too!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! – From all of us at DeKALB Molded Plastics

We wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 - Rick Walters

 

Community Focused – DeKALB’s Active Involvement

At DeKALB Molded Plastics, we are committed to our community, because being an active and supportive member of our local city is simply an extension of our core values.  Giving of our time and talent is our greatest contribution to our many partnerships, because when we support each other, incredible things happen, and everyone wins.

Our community has always been supportive of us, helping us be successful. In return of this support, we’re proud to be able to give back, supporting our neighbors and friends, helping to make things better. As a company, we are focused on Continuous Improvement, and we are proud to continue this philosophy from within our walls to everyone outside of them. Great employees create a great company, and in turn, with this attention, make a great community. This is why you will often see DeKALB employees and our logo present as a sponsor at numerous charitable events, including Butler DaysShop with a Cop, and multiple Butler 5K Run fundraisers.

United Way - Day of Caring

Each year one of the highlights of our community events is participating in the United Way of DeKalb County Day of Caring. DeKALB has participated in this volunteer opportunity for more than 20 years, lending a helping hand to local nonprofits and giving back to the great community that embraces our company. This is usually a one-day event where volunteers serve throughout the community, doing projects for those in need of assistance.

Open to all levels of employees, this event provides DeKALB Molded Plastic’s staff with the opportunity to go out and give back to the community by dedicating their time. At the end of the event, the dedication from our staff, and other community members that support this event, help to make a major impact throughout the county.

During the Day of Caring, some of the projects that are completed include repairing fences, painting projects, landscaping and making our area buildings more accessible for all by constructing access ramps. In addition, some skilled volunteers assist by doing minor home repairs. In 2020, even during a pandemic, the annual United Way Day of Caring in DeKalb County continues, as 24 outdoor projects are scheduled to be completed. Teams have already started work, which will take place over the next few weeks, unlike normal years, where all projects are finished within the same day.

For DeKALB’s engineering manager, Chris Clear, who has participated in this event every year for the last twenty years, the most enjoyable part of this event is reflecting on the work DeKALB has helped to achieve, and the positive and lasting effect it has to this day for the community and the company.

“One of the projects that stands out is when I put in a garage door opener for a senior citizen, who I see from time to time, and when I do, she always comments on how thankful she is for our help,” said Clear. “I’m most proud of the reputation our staff has built with the United Way. Our team is known for taking on the difficult projects, and working until it is done, often being the last Day of Caring crew still working. We generate a better quality of life for the community when we give back, and it helps us when we help others.”

Diane Fogle, customer service representative at DeKALB, also shared a fond memory of volunteering at the Day of Caring and how DeKALB was able to help in going the extra mile to make a community member’s day.

“DeKALB has been proud of every project we have done over the years, but one that I will never forget is a landscaping project completed at an elderly women’s home,” said Fogle. “After meeting her, shared that she always wanted to be a queen for a day, like a homecoming queen, after hearing that, we declared her queen of the day and we presented her with a crown and a sash. This small act of kindness made a world of difference to her and had an impact on our team as there were tears of joy from everyone.”

Staying Active in the Community – The DeKALB Way

At DeKALB, caring for our employees includes caring for our community.  Our culture is centered on appreciating, thanking and cheering our employees for their contributions and support of their passions every day.  Our employees strive to make things better, to make a difference and make our community a great place to work, live and play.

As a thank you to all the first responders serving the Butler community, each year, we recognize and honor members of the Butler Police Department, Butler Fire Department, and locally stationed Parkview DeKalb EMTs with an appreciation dinner for all of the hard work that they do for us throughout the year.

To learn more about us and living the DeKALB Way, click here.

Employee Spotlight: Diane Fogle, Customer Service

DeKALB Molded Plastics is a partner that you can trust, working with you every step of the process, because we are committed to your solutions. All of this is made possible due to the talented individuals that make up DeKALB. Our Employee Spotlight series was developed as a way to introduce you to the impressive people that work here.

What is your name and title? How long have you worked with DeKALB?

Diane Fogle, Customer Service. I have been with DeKALB for 16 years!

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Ohio.

How would you describe your current role?

It is ever-changing.  There are new challenges presented every day with opportunities to assist customers.

What does your typical day look like?

It is a mixture of fielding customer orders, scheduling, inventory control, production reporting, phone calls, emails, etc.

What drove you to apply for this position at DeKALB?

I was in an outside sales position and DeKALB was one of my clients. I had a working relationship with an Engineer at the time, and DeKALB had an issue with a paint process, and Chris knowing my background reached out for assistance.  Chris knew at the time I was wanting to change jobs because of all the traveling I was doing. DeKALB was looking for a paint supervisor at the time, I applied, and the rest is history.

What has been your favorite part of working at DeKALB?

Rick Walters - his sense of family and giving back to the community.

What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on at DeKALB?

5s—Finding a home for everything, and everything put away

What do you have a knack for?

Organizing and cleaning - fantastic stress relievers!

What’s the one problem you are best at solving for your clients?

Urgent production runs - that is not just me solving the issue, it is the DeKALB Molded Plastics team pulling together to make things happen in a short period of time.

What do your ideal clients say about you?

Professional, Knowledgeable, Friendly Accommodating

What are you most passionate about professionally?

Communication with our customers

Where can we find you when you’re not working?

With family and friends, poolside or on the golf course

What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon?

Attending live music concerts, golf course, poolside in the summer—I hibernate in the winter.

What would be impossible for you to give up?

My close ties with family and friends

Anything else you’d like to tell people about yourself?

For the people that know me well, they know that Zoe, my 16-year-old Yorkie, is my world

What is your dream job?

This would have to be something with cleaning or retirement

What are some of your hobbies?

Golf, concerts

Do you have any pets?

Yes, a 16-year-old Yorkie.

What’s your favorite movie?

Sweet Home Alabama

What are you most passionate about? 

Family

If you could learn how to do anything, what would it be?

A second language

What is your favorite meal?

Chicken and mashed potatoes

What would be your dream vacation, and why?

Somewhere definitely sunny and warm with a beach and golf course.  Very relaxing

What is your favorite color?

Purple

Want to join the successful team at DeKALB? Visit our Careers page to learn more.

Creating a Safe Work Environment

What does a true commitment to safety look like? At DeKALB Molded Plastics, safety is our number one priority, and we are dedicated to creating a safe work environment. From our employees to our guests, we want to guarantee that everyone who steps foot into our facility will leave in the same condition they came in. Our safety policy highlights much of this promise, but truly being dedicated to safety means remaining flexible, making adjustments to our policy as things change.

DeKALB’s Response to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many workplaces to alter their safety policies, DeKALB has made it our goal to quickly adapt, utilizing the latest CDC guidelines and recommendations, ensuring that we continue to keep our facility as safe as possible. Safety is the responsibility of everyone, and during this unprecedented time, it takes an increased focus to continue to maintain a safe work environment.

Some of the ways DeKALB is staying safe during COVID-19 include:

  • Additional cleaning of common areas, tools and workspace.
  • Face coverings worn at all times when working with other employees. Additionally, new employees are required to wear a mask at all times for their first 14 days.
  • All non-critical business meetings have been canceled or moved to a teleconference. The in-person meetings that do occur will limit the people involved, maintaining safe social distancing practices.
  • Hand sanitizer stations placed in various areas for use between washing hands, at start/end of the shift, and before/after breaks.
  • Limited the visitors in the building and those that do visit must complete and pass a health screening before being allowed to enter.
  • Maintaining social distancing of at least six feet. Throughout our facility, there are visual indicators to highlight proper distance for clocking in and in meetings.

Regardless of the number of safety guidelines and practices that are in place to maintain safety, we believe in constantly working together to promote safe practices throughout the workday.

Continuous Improvement - The DeKALB Way

One differentiating safety measure that DeKALB takes is through our card system. There are two types of cards in our system, green cards and blue cards. Both of these represent coaching, training, or acknowledgment opportunities. The blue cards are given out from peer-to-peer, and typically this is used to thank a team member for doing the right thing, helping a co-worker who may be struggling, or to provide training for a process. The peer review helps us to call out any potential unsafe practices or highlight a job well done. The green cards come from a member of our leadership team and are given to employees to recognize them for their contributions or to explain the importance of a particular job and how the process could be improved.

Nearly everyone has experienced the feeling of their stomach dropping and heart rate steadily rising as their manager is coming straight towards them. This scene typically means that you are in trouble, or you did something incorrectly. At DeKALB, we wanted to create a team-friendly, positive work environment that provides unique opportunities for anyone to take the time to appreciate the dedication and abilities an employee brings to our organization. These cards are effective because they can be a great motivating factor, and they not only help to improve our culture, but they offer the chance for us to coach our employees.

This system helps us continue to deliver the results that our customers expect and supports our on-going commitment to continuous improvement. The cards create an accountability system for all of our employees to do the right thing, keeping everyone safe, and knowledge-sharing opportunities, which help to cultivate a fun energy in the workplace. The goal of these cards is to have four positive interactions for every one negative. DeKALB employees did a great job and finished 2019 with a 3.5-to-1 ratio.

A Full Toolbox of Safety

DeKALB also holds weekly meetings that we call our ‘Safety Toolbox Talk’. These meetings provide the opportunity for supervisors to go over a different topic and refresh everyone on how to stay safe.

Topics that we discuss at these meetings include:

  • Driving a forklift safely
  • How to use a cut glove
  • Proper lifting technique
  • When to use a heat glove

These meetings are typically short and are meant to go over the basics, but have been effective with our staff, as they serve as friendly reminders for safety. The other benefit of these meetings is the opportunity to quickly address any updates or adjustments to safety policies, or how we can improve, pointing to examples that may have been brought up through our card system.

Why Safety is at the Forefront

With our safety policies in place, our card system and our flexibility to adjust to a pandemic, there is a clear expectation at DeKALB - we care about the safety of each of our employees. We want to always make it understood that safety is not an individual responsibility, but it is the duty of every employee at DeKALB Molded Plastics. Our policy reminds our team to observe all safety rules, follow safe work practices, and immediately report injuries or unsafe conditions. When we all join in together, a safer environment is created, which results in a happier and more productive staff. A dedication to safety really is a win-win for everyone.

Employee Spotlight: Jessica Roby, Intern

DeKALB Molded Plastics is a partner that you can trust, working with you every step of the process, because we are committed to your solutions. All of this is made possible due to the talented individuals that make up DeKALB. Our Employee Spotlight series was developed as a way to introduce you to the impressive people that work here.

Where are you from?

I am from Butler, IN.

What drove you to apply for this position at DeKALB? 

I met Marcia, DeKALB's HR manager, at a job fair. She was well represented, spoke highly of DeKALB and showed a lot of enthusiasm for me to be a part of the team.

What has been your favorite part of working at DeKALB?

My favorite part about working at DeKALB is the friendly nature of the employees. Everyone here is nice and welcoming.

What are your plans after high school? 

I will be attending Indiana Tech after high school.

Do you have any advice to give to underclassman?

Even though you are trying to keep your grades up and have a great future, have fun with it. You only get one high school career, make the most of it.

What is your dream job?

My dream job would either be a medical manager or HR manager. Both of these are what I am going to school for.

What are some of your hobbies? 

My biggest hobbies are cheering and creating new things.

Do you have any pets?

I have two dogs, one is a 5-month-old puppy, Gunner, and my other dog, Zakari, is a German Shepard.

What’s your favorite movie?

My favorite movie is "The Last Song"!

What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about making a difference. I want to make the most out of everything and make a difference in the lives of myself and others.

If you could learn how to do anything, what would it be?

I would love to learn how to understand people who don’t like to show the emotional state of being and how to help people communicate. Both of these would help me with my future career.

What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal is steak with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and rolls.

What would be your dream vacation, and why?

My dream vacation would be visiting Hawaii because you’re surrounded by the ocean. The ocean is extremely beautiful; I could only imagine being surrounded by water on all four sides.

Want to join the successful team at DeKALB? Visit our Careers page to learn more.