Mission Plastics brings new automated work cell on line

Comments Email Print Reprints

ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Custom injection molder Mission Plastics Inc. and a customer have created a $1.5-million automated work cell for a medical diagnostics product.

“We have produced this product since 2009, but it previously took five people,” said Felix Rozuk, Mission Plastics’ director of sales and marketing. “Now one person handles the work.” The other four workers took other assignments at the company.

The collaborative development in Mission Plastics’ facility in Ontario, Calif., began in early 2013, required multiple validation steps and became fully operational in August with the installation of an auto bag packaging line that the customer acquired from ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc.

Mission Plastics’ automation group, which internally designs and makes end-of-arm tooling, uses servo-driven robots from Wittmann Battenfeld in off-loading the cell’s two presses and transferring components onto an ATS modular conveyor system.

The hydraulic injection molding machines in the cell are a 500-ton Toshiba and a 200-ton Engel.

The cell uses a six-station hot-plate automated welding machine that the customer had custom-built for the product line several years ago.

Medical work accounts for about 75 percent of Mission Plastics’ sales and 70 percent of its part count. New work involves a pharmaceutical device to deliver drug doses. In addition, a new aerospace customer needs molded interior components for commercial and business aircraft.

Mission Plastics employs about 225, recently adding a third quality engineer.

The firm operates 58 injection molding machines ranging from 7-720 tons, primarily from Toshiba, Engel and Arburg, and occupies 163,000 square feet. Twenty of the presses run in a 15,000-square-foot Class 100,000 clean room.

Wittmann robots are used with about 90 percent of the presses and, in numerous instances, integrated the equipment into automated cells. Mission takes advantage of the ability to adjust vacuum-sensing levels from the teach pendant.

As needed, Mission Plastics operates a co-generation system to manufacture its own electricity.  “We use the system occasionally and for emergency backup,” Rozuk said.

A general partnership between Patrick Dauphinee and Charles Montes established Mission Plastics in 1982, and the men continue to own the business.

Rozuk and Hector Juarez, business development manager, staffed a Mission Plastics’ tabletop display in Anaheim during the Aug. 14 Western Plastics Trade Fair of the Society of Plastics Engineers’ southern California section.