All Under One Roof

The experience of MET Plastics showcases some of the unique benefits available to companies that combine toolmaking and molding capability.

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MET plastics process-focused approach to design and production incorporates input from both the toolmaking and molding portions of the business. The mold for the parts shown here, for instance, was designed to enable end-of-arm tooling to orient them correctly for packaging upon removal from the press.

Ask a moldmaker about significant turning points for their business, and you may well hear something along the lines of how they’ve moved “from mold building to mold manufacturing.”

At least, that’s what more than a few shops have told me when I asked that question (here's one example). In essence, moving from building to manufacturing refers to taking executive decisions about how to make parts out of the hands of individual toolmakers, who instead surrender to a predetermined process. Predictable procedures, the logic goes, produce predictable—and repeatable—results.

Among the shops to make this transition is MET Plastics, the Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based subject of an October issue profile article. The difference is that MET Plastics isn’t just a toolmaker; it’s a molder as well. This business model made moving to a more process-focused approach arguably more beneficial that it would have been for an operation dedicated solely to either side of the fence. In essence, that’s because getting input from the molding side of things is much easier when that input is coming from the next room, rather than a customer in a separate facility with separate ownership and sometimes, separate priorities.

Of course, changes haven’t been limited to the moldmaking side. Heavy investment in automation and a move from batch processing to single-piece flow have significantly impacted the molding operation’s efficiency as well. Meanwhile, extensive data tracking enables the company to objectively judge the effects of changes and root out inefficiencies. Read the article to learn more.

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