Deluxe Plastics Inc. used its single-minute exchange of die — or what is better known as a SMED cart — to claim the first Innovation Award sponsored by the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors.
Marcella Kates, MAPP's marketing manager, said that the topic generated over 230 votes. It was narrowed down to 12 finalists and “Deluxe was voted in for first place by a landside.”
The competition was conducted to showcase the power of creativity. The contest focused on mold change carts, which are often found on the production floor to facilitate quick mold/die changes.
Deluxe Plastics is a custom injection molder in Clintonville, Wis. Peter Blaas, its engineering manager, said the cart design was a true team effort, combining the ideas and efforts of about 16 people.
He said the team brainstormed about what would work for weeks, and then built it. It has all the essential tools and equipment to perform a mold change. The areas are all clearly marked. It also has an iPad stand to allow it to act as a wireless information center. He said the cart is restocked after every use.
Blaas said prior to the building the cart, employees had their own tools to take care of mold changes. Now, they are considering building more carts to handle other areas of the plant.
Plastic Molding Technology Inc. of El Paso, Texas, finished second and said its effort enabled it to reduce mold setup time by 50 percent. Microplastics Inc. of St. Charles, Ill., was third.
The 2016 Innovation Award topic will be announced at the MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference, scheduled for Oct. 21-23, in Indianapolis.
MAPP, based in Indianapolis, has more than 300 members located in 42 states.