Shop Spotlight: Preproduction Plastics Inc.
Preproduction Plastics Inc., (PPI), is a full service thermal plastic molder based in Corona, California, where 65 employees make high precision products at competitive prices in the company's 45,000-square-foot plant.
Workers use two plastic molding processes, which are structural foam and gas assist injection molding. PPI also specializes in precision mold making in the company's tool room.
"We help customers select the molding process that best fits their applications, budget and product life span," PPI said on the company's website. "Our eleven presses running three shifts gives us open capacity to process orders with the fastest turnaround time."
The company's structural foam molding process produces walls up to 0.40 inches thick, giving parts higher strength than injection molding, the company said on its website. Parts can range in size from eight ounces to 45 pounds.
PPI also specializes in gas injection molding, which injects gas into a mold to push the molten plastic into the extremities. The advantages of this process, PPI reports on its website, can be lower clamp tonnage, lower injection pressures, reduced cycle times and lower costs.
PPI's tool room offers CAD/CAM technology to provide high accuracy and reduced lead time for mold creation. PPI also offers a mold maintenance program to ensure longer mold life.
PPI is ISO 2008 certified, Underwriters Laboratories certified, and it constantly monitors production through its IQMS Real Time® computer software to achieve optimum productivity, quality and cost efficiency.
PPI's quality systems include the involvement of top management as well as all production employees. PPI documents its quality process in its Total Quality System Manual, and the process includes a multi-step mold qualification process.
"Quality begins with a good tool design and the right material choice. During the tool building phase, we are preparing our manufacturing processes and keep in close contact with the customer on tool progress," PPI said on its website. "Critical dimensions and other quality issues begin to be determined."
The four-step Mold Qualification Process is outlined this way, T-1, T-2, T-3, and Critical Dimension Inspection.
T-1 is the initial test of the new or rebuilt tool. Its purpose is to test the internal components of the mold to ensure it will function properly. The parts run in this test are reviewed in the raw state, the PPI website said, before any de-gating or de-flashing is done. This test shows people exactly what the mold produces. Data from this step helps start the process plan for part production.
T-2 starts after customer feedback and approvals for the T-1 test. The T-2 test looks for repeatable results and process control by measuring combinations of melt temperature, shot speed and mold temperature. Molding technicians test, work, re-test, and re-work to establish a molding process plan. In addition, they complete all fixtures, develop any necessary secondary operations and complete any finishing process plans. The molded parts are then inserted, painted, finished, and packaged. The parts are reviewed for form, fit, function, and all cosmetic and secondary requirements. All data is recorded for use in the next processes, and T-2 is approved by the customer.
T-3 is the final qualification step, which is usually the first production release of the first production order. This step creates parts that represent what the customer will receive in production runs. All runs create data that refines the Part Process Plan, which is used in all subsequent runs.
The final step, Critical Dimension Inspection, demonstrates the molding process is in control and parts are consistent and repeatable. The critical dimension inspection is complete when parts are being manufactured to critical dimensions, and both the customer and PPI agrees.
"This successful relationship with our customers has been accomplished through our unbending attention to detail and of our firm belief that the most important service we can provide is our ability to listen and respond to our customer needs," PPI said on its website. "We specialize in short to medium production runs for large plastic products."
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