MoldMaking Technology

AUG 2018

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Page 12 of 83 11 that the next step in value-add, and to separate Burteck from the competition, was to deliver a mold to our customer that is production-ready. The Molding Tech Center affords the us the ability to do functional testing, process development, qualifica- tion and pre-production runs if they are required before mold shipment. This advancement eliminates the need for our cus- tomers to allocate additional production and tooling capacity for multiple tests. Customers who purchase a molding machine or who re-task existing equipment and build a mold with us can also purchase turn-key services in the Molding Tech Center. All of this technology and process investment has upgraded our equipment, reduced bottlenecks and established capacity for throughput gains. You stated that your U.S. workforce has doubled. Can you explain how and why? Eastham: A mix of additional sales from existing custom- ers and new customers who were interested in Burteck's new capabilities and offerings drove that recent growth. We hired staff for the Molding Tech Center, which included two molding process technicians, a machine operator, a quality inspector and a Tech Center manager. We also hired a CMM inspector, a wire EDM technician, two additional project engineers to support tooling and turn-key programs and additional EDM technicians, CNC machinists, moldmakers and apprentices. We work with the manufacturing programs of local voca- tional high schools and community colleges from which we hired four individuals. We also use industry networking, recruiters, websites like Indeed and CareerBuilder and social media platforms. Burteck is known for its plastic injection mold work, so why has it placed a recent focus on LSR molds? Eastham: It was an easy decision. We simply believe that the demands of LSR molds align perfectly with our craftsmanship, pricing and lead times. How did the company gain the expertise in this specialty? Eastham: A few employees have prior experience with LSR from other companies, which gave us some initial confidence that our craftsmanship would pass the LSR "test" from a flash and functional standpoint. We had an existing customer for which we were building thermoplastic molds, and the customer asked if we would be willing to partner three, 2-cavity LSR molds. We took this as an opportunity to jump into this process and technology. The results were highly successful. The mold functioned without any flash on the parting line, or seal offs, so we decided to add LSR tool building to our list of capabilities. What has been the growth of the LSR-mold segment of your business so far, and where do you see it headed? Eastham: At this point, LSR mold building is a small percent- age of our business, but it is increasing. We wanted to imple- ment our mold-testing work cell fully before releasing our LSR sales strategy. NPE2018 was the official launch of our LSR tool- building capabilities. We exhibited a two-cavity, polycarbonate and LSR two-component mold, running a medical tube port in an Engel 55-ton, tie-barless machine. The mold used a servo- driven index plate for the transfer of the first shot to the sec- ond shot and a Kipe Molds Cold Deck-MicroDeck combination for the LSR portion. The exhibit demonstrated the concept of using the first-shot thermoplastic substrate as a tooling compo- nent for the LSR overmold. In the near future, we see great growth opportunity in LSR work. Our customers are experiencing long lead times with other LSR mold builders. In some cases, those other mold build- ers are even declining the work. We believe this will open up a new customer base for Burteck, first with customers requesting LSR mold builds and then with those customers contracting us for thermoplastic and two-shot applications as well. A 5731/. . ., A 5732 /. . . Cycle counter, mechanical For a simple form of monitoring the number of mold strokes during injection molding and a reliable support of the mold maintenance process. I measure your work.

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