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Manufacturing / Process Development
Our 7 manufacturing facilities, located in North America and Asia, are complemented by 4 warehousing operations in the U.S., Asia and Europe. Our 14 U.S. sales and technical support offices complement our international sales and technical support groups in France, Switzerland, Shanghai China, Guangzhou China and Singapore.
As a manufacturer we know the importance of controlling processes to ensure product compliance and validation. Within this discipline our fundamental goal is to make certain that quality products are produced on time, on budget and in compliance.
The recommended mold configuration and molding process depend upon the size and complexity of the part, the anticipated production volumes, type(s) of material, part function and quantity requirements.
The key is to select the tool design and process that most closely approximates actual production conditions and cost requirements. The more demanding the part design, the more important it is that we build a prototype cavity that would be identical to the production cavity.
For a complete overview of tool design criteria see our Elastomers and Thermoplastics Engineering Design Guide.
Tool Types and Processes
Our tooling includes all four types of molding processes: Compression, Transfer, Injection and Liquid Injection Silicone (LSR). Which process we use depends upon the part geometry, annual volume and material requirements.
For compression molding a preform or pre-load is placed in the mold cavity. The tool plates come together to compress and fill the preform in the cavity. The elastomer component is then cured and removed from the tool.
In transfer molding the elastomer is placed in a pot or well above a cavity. The tool plates come together forcing the material through the sprues and into the mold cavity. The elastomer component is then cured and removed from the tool.
Injection molding uses a continuous preform strip which his drawn into the press by a rotating screw. With the plates together the screw forces the material to flow through the runner system into the tool. The elastomer component is then cured and removed from the tool.
Liquid injection silicone (LSR) is a molding system where two materials are combined in the barrel of a press by plungers and mixed. With the tool plates together, the material is forced to flow through a runner system into the mold. Once in the mold the material is cured and the components are removed.
The molding process begins with the design and construction of the mold. From complex part geometries to straight forward components, a broad range of criteria need to be addressed for the design and development of an elastomer or thermoplastic mold. Most if not all of these design considerations are detailed in our Elastomers and Thermoplastics Engineering Design Guide.
Scientific molding focuses on consistently producing identical parts. Our molding techniques qualify the mold to a single process by taking advantage of the materials physical properties to deliver a repeatable process for consistently moving the same volume of material at a tightly controlled velocity.
The four critical components of Scientific Molding are part design, tool design and construction, material selection and processing. The goal is to develop a range of velocities that will deliver an optimized and repeatable manufacturing process.
The benefits of scientific molding include:
- Cycle time optimization
- Improved capability and less scrap
- Productivity gains
- Reduced tool wear
- Prolonged press life
- Reduced material consumption
- Reduced energy consumption
Vision Inspection Systems
Our high volume vision inspection systems utilize state-of-the-art, non-contact vision inspection technology ensuring compliance with critical component dimensions and specifications.
Multiple station, high resolution video cameras accurately inspect components for a wide range of physical and dimensional attributes, and it is the precise measurement of these attributes that ensure a quality product that exceeds six sigma performance.
We utilize FMEA, or Failure Mode and Effects Analysis, as means for the analysis of potential failure modes.
FMEA provides an analytical approach when dealing with potential failure modes and their causes. When considering possible failures in a design – like safety, cost, performance, quality and reliability – our engineers analyze information about how to alter the design/development process, in order to avoid these failures. FMEA provides us with a valuable tool to determine which risk, if any, has a concern and therefore what action is needed to prevent a problem before it ocurs.
The benefits of FMEA include:
- Early identification and elimination of potential failure modes
- Improved component quality, reliability and safety
- Reduced system development timing and cost
- Problem prevention
Our Production Part Approval Process, or PPAP, is used to formally reduce risks prior to a products release using well established tools and guidelines. This standardized submission process produces a document containing all vital information to producing the product such as:
- The quality control plan
- A process capability study
- A process failure mode and effects analysis
- Dimensional inspection reports
- Performance testing reports
- Material certifications
The benefits of PPAP include:
- A planned, documented and communicated manufacturing process
- Detailed design requirements
- Improved quality over product life cycle
- Inclusion of customer consent in any change
- Timely resolution of problems due to documented product history
Whether manufacturing a component or a complete and complex assembly, our services help improve product performance, reduce costs and improve time-to-market while maintaining the highest quality standards. We specialize in the assembly of close tolerance components for fluid or gaseous management and our assembly services include in process testing and final inspection for many medical applications in our class 10,000 and 100,000 certified clean rooms.
Our product development testing covers a comprehensive range of services including but limited to:
- General Pressurized Water Mechanical Testing
- Flow Control Testing
- Low Pressure/Vacuum Testing
- Frictional/Torque Testing
- Heat Transfer Testing
We provide a broad range of high volume component and assembly packaging options. These services include packaging for physical protection as well as barrier protection such as from moisture and dust. For clean room molding and assembly we also provide a wide range of packaging options for form, fill and seal applications.
For medical applications we maintain strict adherence to FDA packaging and labeling regulations.
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