Strategic Partnerships Solidify Automotive Niche

To further strengthen its reputation as a leading innovator in the marketplace, Proper has recently formed strategic alliances with German company KrausMaffei and Woburn, MA-based Trexel Inc.—two vastly different organizations with their own specialties.
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Proper Group International (Warren, MI) has carved out an innovative niche in the automotive industry, particularly in automotive lighting molds, interior textile molds, chromed and highly visible products, multi-material molds, glass-encapsulation molds and stack molds. To further strengthen its reputation as a leading innovator in the marketplace, Proper has recently formed strategic alliances with German company KrausMaffei and Wilmington, MA-based Trexel Inc.
According to Proper Group’s Vice President Sales and Marketing Joe Grippe, the drive to bring new technologies into the marketplace spurred the company to develop these partnerships.

He notes that because the company has been viewed as an innovator in the moldmaking industry, Proper is a perfect fit with both Trexel and KraussMaffei. KraussMaffei is a leading manufacturer of plastic processing equipment worldwide. Its strategic partnership with Proper Group has expanded Proper’s polyurethane tooling business and allows the company to deliver turnkey solutions to its customers, Grippe adds.

KraussMaffei moved its operations to a 50,000 square-foot facility in Novi, MI; and built a new North American Polyurethane Tooling and Technology Center adjacent to Proper Group International’s Headquarters and Tooling Technology Center. According to Grippe, the facility has the full-service capabilities to design, build and validate foam tooling, punch tooling, and perform
spray skin trials, as well as the new multi-component process, SkinForm—which is a two-shot molding technology with a thermoplastic material first shot and a polyurethane second shot. Proper and KraussMaffei have dedicated resources (personnel and capital equipment) to work together in order to integrate injection mold manufacturing and the Foam/Skin tooling process.

“For this, Proper has deployed resources to Germany to work alongside KraussMaffei’s people in order to learn the intricacies of foam mold manufacturing,” adds Grippe. “The goal of this partnership is to provide customers with a single source solution for programs that require both injection molds and foam and skin tooling.”

Trexel Inc.—with a U.S. facility in Wilmington, MA—is the creator of the MuCell® Microcellular Foam technology. This complete process and equipment technology enables the production of high quality plastic parts with enhanced dimensional stability, lower weight/material and reduced cycle time.

According to Trexel President and CEO Steve Braig, this technology involves the use of precisely metered quantities of atmospheric gases (nitrogen or carbon dioxide), in any of the three most common thermoplastic conversion processes (injection molding, extrusion, blow molding), to create millions of nearly invisible microcells in the end product.

Proper’s partnership with Trexel involves leveraging the talent and resources of each company to provide a better solution to customers, Grippe explains. “With the industry’s drive toward lighter vehicles and less expensive components, Proper and Trexel have teamed up to provide product feasibility and tooling optimization and tryout support for their future programs,” he notes.

Trexel has installed MuCell systems on multiple machines at Proper’s tryout and optimization center and both companies work with customers across industries to conduct trials and demonstration, as well as on new development programs. An additional goal of the partnership with Proper is to develop new training methodologies and programs that will lead to the certification of MuCell—certified tool designers, with tool designers and engineers from Proper to be the first individuals
to receive this new certification.

“The alliances with KraussMaffei and Trexel are a continuation of Proper’s innovative leadership within the plastics industry,” Grippe says. “They have allowed Proper to bring new solutions
to its current customer base and have opened up opportunities with new customers who are interested in the technologies that are driven through the partnerships. Going forward Proper will continue its innovation strategy to develop new technologies and processes. This is the ‘Proper Way.’