Anaheim, Calif. — Custom injection molder Craftech Corp. pays attention to the details in advancing its business.
Craftech has invested in operational excellence and moved numerous sophisticated secondary operations to labor-saving in-line press-side procedures at its facilities in Anaheim and Tijuana, Mexico. Craftech specializes in low-to-medium high-mix volume runs.
“We target a one-piece flow and have moved to secondary operations for about 70 to 75 percent of our parts” including press-side work for the more complex items, Peter Weisel, vice president of business development, said during a visit to the Anaheim plant.
“We are trying to develop more detailed development software in order to track projects closer,” said John Ayers, vice president of engineering with responsibility for project management. Craftech uses aspects of the software internally now and plans to plug in with its stakeholders, clients and some suppliers.
In addition, Ayers and his team work closely with customers in the early optimization of engineering requirements for incoming jobs.
Recently, Craftech has absorbed in-house proprietary work from a customer in California and another in Mexico. “Craftech took over the molds,” Weisel said.
Craftech demonstrated creativity with multiple engineering changes in establishing a work cell with six injection molds to manufacture a robust product barcode scanner in three stages.
“It's really a mobile computer” for a long-time customer, Weisel said. The technical concept was envisioned in early 2015, and production began in late 2015.
First, Craftech molds the substrate of Sabic polycarbonate in a single-cavity tool for 45 seconds.
Next, a 350-ton Sumitomo electric press with a special injection unit simultaneously overmolds two identical handles using Covestro thermoplastic polyurethane in a 90-second cycle. The cell runs with Yushin robots.
Third, encapsulation of the scanner's glass laser exit window occurs in a single-cavity mold with a 45-second cycle.
In another advance, Craftech virtually eliminated visible weld lines and minimizes the need for secondary finishing operations using “hot-cold molding” technology initially installed to resolve issues in producing an electronics enclosure.
For controlling temperature, Craftech uses an Alternating Temperature Technology temperature control system from Single Temperiertechnik GmbH of Hochdorf, Germany. Craftech obtained the ATT system in early 2013.
“We have the ability to hide wall-section transition cosmetics and produce resin-rich surfaces with filled amorphous materials,” Weisel said.
“Molds need to be set-up for the technology up-front, but it's minimal,” he said. “We have been successful in retrofitting some existing tooling.”