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.

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.

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.