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Innovation Quotient Winners 2008

Plastic Components Inc. (PCI), Germantown, manufacturers small and medium-sized injection parts at the lowest possible cost. The company's fully automated plant features state-of-the-art molding presses and necessary support equipment for continuous operation.

PCI runs 42 molding presses 24 hours a day, five days a week with no operators involved in the molding process. The firm has been fully automated since it began operating in 1989.

"Our automation allows for greater precision, energy savings and reduced cycle times," said Teresa Schell, marketing manager for the firm. "Our plant operates Toyo and Nissei molding presses in fully automated cells with robotic extraction systems and conveyors, material handling systems, automated quality monitoring systems, and final shipment preparation at the press.

"We're a true low-cost producer of injection molded plastic parts. And our manufacturing strategy focuses on the use of state-of-the-art technology, equipment, and automation to create a globally competitive production system," Schell said.

The company continuously surveys its customers, and the feedback has indicated a need for more engineering support in the part design process. So, PCI has significantly invested in engineering talent, part design capability and MoldFLow software to meet that demand.

"Our operation requires an agressive investment in molding presses, as well as all of the necessary support equipment (material handling systems, robots, parts conveyors, automated packaging systems) to run the cells effectively on a fully automated basis. However, because of these innovations, better part design and production processes have become our core strengths," Schnell said.

Another dimension to PCI's financial growth and success is taking its marketing plans to the next level. That strategy requires a financial investment as well as an allocation of time and resources.

"The marketing strategies PCI developed over the past three years have produced tremendous results. Marketing and sales efforts for 2007 resulted in 14 new customers and 53 new tooling programs awarded by customers that only became aware of the company by mid-2006," said K. Barette of the Kolb+Co. Inc., who nominated PCI for the IQ Award.

Originally published in the Small Business Times.

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