PALO ALTO, CALIF. — Singapore injection molder First Engineering Ltd. this month is beginning to produce a plastic container in which Maxell Corp. of America will bundle different storage products.
A joint venture of Speck Product Design Inc. and First Engineering will produce the line of portable Bandit-brand media storage containers, initially supplying Maxell with 100,000 units a month for each of three products.
First Engineering made final design changes to the beryllium-copper insert tooling in late December and will mold the container of Montell copolymer polypropylene, according to J.R. Ong, First Engineering general manager.
Speck designer Josh Ferguson generated the unusual living hinge concept in April. Critical manufacturing factors include controlling hinge thickness and maintaining a minimal draft on fins to reduce a trapezoidal effect. Founding partner Craig Janik said Bandit prototypes are more functional than an inflexible high-impact polystyrene container now in use.
Speck worked with GLS Corp.'s thermoplastic elastomers division of McHenry, Ill., to select Dynaflex G2706, a soft TPE, for the closing band.
``The band must stretch almost 50 percent,'' Janik said in an interview at his Palo Alto office.
Idea Tooling and Engineering of Carson, Calif., injection molded the first bands.
Speck's ownership of the intellectual property and its venture with First Engineering ``allows us to get the maximum [return] from our product'' and more than a licensing arrangement, Janik said.
Janik and three partners formed Speck in January 1996. The firm employs 10 and had 1998 sales of $1.4 million for design services, mostly dealing with mechanical innovation and invention.
First Engineering, formed in 1980, operates seven plants in Singapore, Malaysia and China. The publicly traded firm makes high-precision tools and operates 150 injection molding machines in clean room environments.