Fort Worth Texas — Profile Plastics Inc. won the People's Choice Award and a gold award for heavy-gauge pressure forming in the parts competition at the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Conference.
Placon Corp. also picked up two awards at the conference, held at the Fort Worth Convention Center Sept. 24-26.
Parts competition winners were recognized at an awards dinner at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Profile Plastics won both awards for a medical cart enclosure used in surgical procedures. The cart has 10 pressure formed enclosure parts: seven for the primary cart and three for a secondary cart.
"They can be used independently, or they can be attached together," said Mike Diaz, technical sales manager at Profile Plastics.
The enclosure parts are formed from polycarbonate-ABS to meet stringent requirements for rigidity, chemical resistance, heat and a highly cosmetic appearance.
The customer required the parts for with zero or minimal mechanical attachment.
"It is driven by end-customer parameters that are established," Diaz said. "From a customer standpoint, they don't want to see a lot of fasteners from a visual standpoint. And also for medical parts, you have the cleaning standpoint."
So Profile Plastics molded in many of the attachment features. The final design incorporated numerous movements in each tool to provide the fastening features, plus the cosmetic finished seams.
Ramesh Mehta, Profile's design and project engineering manager, said the parts are all interlocked, with very minimal fasteners.
According to Profile Plastics, numerous challenges came from the primary cart's interaction between the rear top cover and the side covers to achieve a hidden fastening system while maintaining cosmetic alignment between the parts. The thermoformer used complex core pulls on the upper cover to incorporate slots for a work surface table.
"This is a very complex tool" with deep draws, Mehta said.
The large front cover of the secondary cart presented a challenge with using four-way undercuts, due to the extreme depth of draw.
The final design allowed for the elimination of additional side panels and reduced overall tooling cost, Profile officials said.
Diaz said all parties have to work closely together to make a finished product that meets strict requirements by the customer, and at the same time is economical to manufacture.
"The key to the whole project is you have to establish a collaborative effort partnership between not only us and our customer, but their customer as well," he said.
Profile Plastics is in Lake Bluff, Ill.