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Dan Thurmond
By Dan Thurmond
Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 01:00

Last week Elite Plastics Business Development and Engineering staff attended the Medical Device and Manufacturing (MD&M) West show in Anaheim, CA. The MD&M show is the largest tradeshow we attend and exhibit at, featuring companies in plastics, packaging, medical devices and more.

Beyond showcasing our products, services and capabilities, the show offers a unique environment to meet with customers, vendors, explore new trends and technologies, and also reconnect with other GMN divisions and staff on what’s new. Two Elite Plastics engineers took advantage of their time at the show to explore the Plastec West and West Pack sections of the show, where they networked with raw material suppliers and learned about new materials.

In addition, our engineers also enjoyed learning about new automation equipment and machinery – especially prototyping technology. 3D printing is one of the leading plastic prototyping technologies. One of the show exhibitors supplies prototyping equipment and 3D printing services. Their booth showcased a machine that uses a unique 3D printing process that provides more strength and functionality.

All of us who attended the show enjoyed meeting with customers, vendors, and other industry experts. We are looking forward to what we learn and who we’ll meet next year already.

Chris Passanante
By Chris Passanante
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 13:24

2013 was a great year for Elite Plastics and it’s exciting to look back on everything that happened. As we start off the New Year, let’s take a few moments to look back on the highlights for 2013.

Boeing QPL - We started off the 2013 with the announcement that we qualified for The Boeing Company Qualified Processors List for the injection of thermoplastic parts. After receiving AS9100C quality management system certification in December of 2012, we were very excited to be added to the Boeing QPL.

John Deere Supplier Innovation Award - In March, GM Nameplate received a John Deere Innovation Award. GMN has been supplying John Deere with the integration or ruggedized display assemblies for their commercial tractors since 2009. At Elite Plastics, a division of GM Nameplate, we produce the plastic housings for the touch screen displays.

New Plastics Machining Equipment - In 2012, we grew our plastics machining capabilities with the addition of new equipment. The new capability was such a success that in 2013 we upgraded our equipment. Our new machine is a computer automated vertical machining center with top of the line extras. Plastic machining is an area of great growth for us – we are currently serving customers in nearly every industry!

AS9100C First Surveillance Audit - After receiving our certification in 2012, we had our first surveillance audit in October 2013. We were pleased to announce that our audit was successful.

New Trick Pad Printer - In 2012, we purchased a new Mircroprint CNC-Controlled Pad printer. This machine is capable of multiple pad printing hits, in various colors and locations on a part, in one single set up. While this equipment was purchased in 2012, it was an important part of our 2013 efficiencies and growth.

New Paint Line - We haven’t posted about our new paint line yet, but in 2013 we installed a new paint line with robot paint station and inline oven. This new equipment will help us better serve our customers and provide the highest quality of decorated plastic parts.

CMM - Last year we also purchased a coordinate measuring machine to support the accuracy of our injection molding for close tolerance product lines. The equipment offers both Vision and Touch Probe capability for the assurance of quality dimensional data reporting. Expect a more detailed post about our new equipment and what this means for our customers soon.

Overall, 2013 was a great year for all of us at Elite plastics. We are looking forward to many more exciting events in 2014.

By Chris Passanante
Thursday, December 26, 2013 - 17:54

Recently we discussed one of our plastic manufacturing processes, injection molding.  As mentioned, we offer compression molding of thermoset materials as well as thermoplastic materials. Compression molding can be used for the production of a variety of plastic components and parts including; keypads, buttons, gaskets, and more.  Often compression molded parts are used as components of larger assemblies we offer, like user interface units.

While injection molding involves injecting molten plastic into a tool where it cools, compression molding uses pressure and heat to create the part.  This process begins with a pliable plastic material which is placed into an open mold.  Once closed, heat and pressure are applied consistently until the material has cured in the shape of the design part.

Compression molding offers the capability of choice if you are looking for a rubberized plastic with a smooth feel, such as a rubber keypad.   Compared with other molding methods, compression molding is a cost-effective method for high-volume products.  Other advantages include high durability when flexibility is required, increased heat resistance over other flexible materials, and lower tooling costs compared to injection molding.

This process is used in multiple industries but a large portion of the work we do is with the medical and automotive industries.  At Elite Plastics we are able to provide production in the United States and offshore. 

To learn more about compression molding and our plastic capabilities please visit our website.

By Chris Passanante
Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 00:00

On a daily basis we interact with plastic parts and components. Whether we’re at home, at work, on an airplane or even in a hospital room. For many industries, plastics are the ideal material – they are light weight, durable, available in any size, shape, and color, and even reusable (in some forms). Typically, when manufacturing plastic parts and components injection or compression molding methods are used to fabricate the desired part. Elite Plastics is an expert injection and compression molder.

The injection molding process begins with plastics pellets. The pellets are put in a vacuum sealed dryer to remove all the moisture from the materials before they are molded. Moisture in the injection molding process can result in various functional and aesthetic defects.

Once the pellets are completely dry, they are put into a grinder and grounded finely. Next the grounded plastic is heated and melted to a molten state.  The molten plastic is then injected into the tooling and molded into the shape of the part, where it cools from liquid to solid form.

Once complete, injection molded parts are rigid. If needed, they have the ability to be ground and melted down to be molded into something else. Injection molded parts can also be decorated and fabricated further depending on the needs of the part. At Elite Plastics this can mean painting the part, over molding, machining, pad printing, and more. 

To learn more about injection molding and our plastics capabilities please visit our website. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog about the compression molding process and uses!

By Dan Thurmond
Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 14:51

Over the years Elite Plastics has maintained its ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System Certification, and as of last year AS9100C registration. The ISO registration is the industry quality system standard, while AS9100C registration has additional standards, specifically developed to better serve the aerospace industry. The certification brings many benefits to Elite Plastics customers, whether they require the certification or not.

Improved product reliability – Whether through extensive testing or design, having a documented, reviewed and certified quality systems, result greater reliability.

Better process control and flow – Strict change control and manufacturing standards, help created consistency and perfection in the manufacturing process.

Better documentation of process – The manufacturing process is document clearly and monitored. This makes a difference in preventing errors from happening and remedying the error when it does occur.

Greater employee quality awareness – More responsibility amongst those manufacturing the parts, helping to create and encourage a culture of high quality among the team manufacturing the part.

Reductions in product scrap, rework and rejections – Fewer errors and defects results in less waste. Creating a savings for Elite Plastics and customers.

The result of all these benefits, beyond better parts, means reduced costs. To learn more about our quality system certifications please visit the resources section on the GM Nameplate website.