“It helped make our employees' jobs easier,” said Stephen Zamprelli, vice president of product development.
Formed Plastics operates five carousel rotomolding machines including four Ferries with oven diameters ranging from 78-102 inches and an 88-inch-diameter 1961-vintage McNeil about which the firm has “concern about parts'” availability, Zamprelli said in an interview.
“We want to replace the McNeil and get a bigger four-axis carousel,” he said.
Formed Plastics is experiencing growth in its commercial aircraft business with higher demand for rotomolded air ducts and plenums. Over one year, the firm has procured 35 molds for parts to be rotomolded.
For its thermoforming upgrade, Formed Plastics in May sent a team of five for a week of training at the Plastics Innovation and Resource Center of Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, Pa.
Formed Plastics operates two late 1990s Maac single-station thermoformers with Modern quick-clamp systems and Lenzkes clamping tools to hold the molds in place.
“Setups went from three hours to 30 minutes,” he said. “Part quality improved, and scrap rates decreased.”
The firm is focusing on establishment of work cells, looking for short thermoforming runs and anticipating an increase in thermoforming work pushing one shift toward two or three shifts.
Currently, Formed Plastics operates three shifts for rotomolding and two shifts for CNC work.
Zamprelli said 2015's sales goal is $11 million vs. last year's $10.5 million, which included $7 million from rotomolding, $1 million from thermoforming and most of the remainder from CNC part bending and fabrication and tight tolerance machining work on three five-axis Thermwood and five three-axis machines.
Formed Plastics employs about 100 including two industrial designers with mechanical engineering backgrounds. The business occupies 85,000 square feet and has a history back to 1946.