Decoupled process ups AMA efficiency
CORONA, CALIF. - AMA Plastics Inc. is crediting the decoupled molding process for operating improvements at the Corona company.
Decoupled molding separates fill, pack and hold stages of injection molding with analysis from a resin perspective rather than molding machine settings. The process becomes an operating standard, reduces static pressure variations and simplifies documentation.
The firm has invested about $20,000 for personal-computer-based production, process-control systems and cavity-pressure sensors, and $30,000 in worker hours for training. AMA focuses on staying at the forefront of technology changes, said President Mark Atchison.
Scrap rates improved to less than 1 percent from 5.5 percent, rework dropped to less than 0.25 percent from 2 percent and cycle efficiency jumped above standards to 105 percent from 93 percent, the firm said. The results compare 2003 and 2002.
Ken Pravitz joined AMA as process engineering manager in 2002. ``They brought me in specifically because of decoupled molding,'' he said.
Pravitz, who already had a background in the process, obtained Master Molder III certification from technology provider RJG Inc. of Traverse City, Mich., which allowed him to teach the process to other AMA employees.
AMA converted and requalified most existing jobs and set new job qualifications. AMA has 140 employees and adds 300-500 temporary workers as needed.
AMA operates 70 presses with clamping forces of 35-720 tons. It molds precision parts, primarily serving markets for audio speakers, irrigation systems, water and fluid pumps, telecommunications call centers and noninvasive medical devices.
Distinctive Plastics acquires equipment
VISTA, CALIF. - Custom injection molder Distinctive Plastics Inc., which saw sales jump by one-third last year, has invested about $400,000 for equipment and another $15,000 for building improvements.
``We were predicting an increase [in sales] to $6.5 million for 2004, but realized $7.2 million,'' said President Timothy Curnutt. Sales in 2003 were $5.4 million.
The firm installed its 21st injection molding machine, a 150-ton Toyo, in July and replaced an older machine with a 300-ton Toyo in December. Distinctive added a trio of three-axis computer numerically controlled robots, including a Conair servo robot with rotation, a Yushin servo pneumatic robot and a Star Automation pneumatic robot.
Distinctive used existing space to expand its quality laboratory and create a classroom at its leased, 44,000-square-foot facility in Vista.
The company employs 80 in peak season. Projects involve molding spa, electronics and outdoor recreation products using Distinctive's in-mold decorating and multishot capabilities.
Polymer Technologies to open Mexico plant
CAMBRIDGE, ONTARIO - Polymer Technologies Inc. plans to build a plant in Mexico for its customers in the auto industry.
The Cambridge firm has budgeted US$2 million to build a 35,000-square-foot facility in San Luis Potosí, said John Bell, president, chief executive officer and owner.
When the operation starts in July it will use a few injection presses relocated from Cambridge, then it will buy equipment as it captures new business, Bell said in a telephone interview.
Polymer Technologies does custom injection molding exclusively for automotive applications. It employs about 340 in Cambridge and has annual sales of about C$50 million (US$40.5 million).
Bell said the Mexico operation will start with 25 employees and should grow to 100-150 within three years. It will avoid cannibalizing work in Cambridge, instead developing business in Mexico. Polymer Technologies works mainly with Tier 1 auto parts majors, but Bell declined to discuss ones with the most potential to expand his business in Mexico.
When Bell bought Polymer Technologies in 1996, the firm was logging C$9 million (US$7.3 million) in annual sales and losing money. Part of its newfound success is due to emphasis on value-added work such as two-shot components and insert-molded parts, he said.
Sonopress investing in China disc venture
GÜTERSLOH, GERMANY - Replication and media services provider Sonopress LLC of Gutersloh has acquired a 30 percent stake in a Hangzhou, China, plant in a venture with optical disc manufacturer Zhejiang Huahong Opto & Electronics Group Co. Ltd.
The 13 machines at the plant can replicate 300,000 compact discs daily, and three other presses can replicate 60,000 DVDs. Packaging is done on site or at a Sonopress center in Shanghai, China.
Sonopress employs 3,900 and produces more than 4 million optical discs and other media daily at 15 sites.
Growing Custom Poly building bigger plant
FORT WAYNE, IND. - Bag converter Custom Poly Packaging is building its first wholly owned facility.
The company will open a 25,200-square-foot plant in Fort Wayne by September, owner Mike Carpenter said Feb. 8. The company is building the plant after renting a 13,000-square-foot space at another Fort Wayne site.
The plant will give the company space for new equipment, some of which was added last year, and is large enough for further expansion, he said. The firm will add five workers when the plant is finished, giving it 19.
Carpenter purchased the company in 1999 and has looked for an opportunity to expand, he said. Custom Poly prints and convert bags for food and medical uses and specializes in reclosable bags. The firm works with polyethylene and polypropylene film.
Custom Poly plans to invest about $1.1 million in the new building and relocation costs. The city of Fort Wayne has granted a $960,000 abatement to cover real property improvements.