Now viewing: Lean Manufacturing

Dan Thurmond
By Dan Thurmond
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 11:39

Every 6 months, Elite Plastics conducts a customer satisfaction survey to evaluate our customers’ satisfaction in their experience working with Elite Plastics. It is also necessary to maintain our quality system requirements. The survey is made up of a series of ranking/multiple choice and short answer questions related to varying parts of their experience – quality, value, customer service, and more.

We’ve just finished reviewing the last survey we conducted and are pleased to report that the majority of our customers are happy with their overall experience and would recommend working with us. In the last 15 customer surveys more than 92% of respondents said that they would recommend working with us. Customers also pointed out areas that have improved – manufacturing and industry expertise; sales people responsiveness, expertise, communication, and overall experience; and overall experience working with new product managers and account managers.

In addition to identifying strengths and successes within our manufacturing and customer service, the survey also revealed areas in need of improvement. We continually strive to improve every aspect of our business and have been making efforts to improve our customer service, manufacturing expertise, and quality.

The customer survey also included a section on industry trends. We asked respondents to indicate to which degree they agree with trends we’ve noticed in the industry. The respondents confirmed the following trends:

  • Increasing integration of touch technology into product user interfaces (glass interface)
  • Growing dependence on suppliers for engineering and design support as experts within our specialized field
  • Suppliers who can offer multiple products are valued

Looking toward the future, we are excited to see that we continue to be on track with industry trends and customer satisfaction. We will continue to evaluate customer satisfaction and industry trends, as we continue to improve everything we do.

By Dan Thurmond
Friday, October 3, 2014 - 00:00

Last week we discussed the value of in-process inspection procedures in supporting our quality standards. At Elite Plastics we utilize a number of processes and technologies to ensure the accuracy and quality of our parts. For one of our medical customers we developed a camera inspection process. We supply plastic housing that features insert molding and sonic welding. After the parts are injection molded and secondary operations completed our camera vision system inspects the parts confirming all steps have been completed.

To ensure the hardware is inserted accurately in the correct locations, Elite Plastics’ engineering team developed a camera inspection system to verify the accuracy of insert molding for each part. Once insert molding is complete, the parts go through the camera inspection station which takes a picture from each angle, and verifies that the picture matches up with the design. Parts do not pass through to the next step until the insert molding has been inspected and validated. The process supports our quality standards while also allowing for high quantity production.

Elite Plastics uses a similar process for various other customers. Utilizing a computerized camera inspection process eliminates any human error and streamlines the process with increased quality. Defect free parts move on to the next step in production seamlessly. This process is particular valuable when various levels of assembly and decoration are involved.

In addition to in-process inspection, Elite Plastics also utilizes final inspection and batch inspection procedures. The combined efforts result in higher quality and defect free final parts.

By Dan Thurmond
Friday, September 26, 2014 - 00:00

Last year we posted a blog about quality systems and why they are important in plastics manufacturing. At Elite Plastics we work with customers in nearly every industry – including aerospace, sporting goods, automotive, medical, and more. Producing a high quality, defect-free part is the goal of every project but for some industries, like medical, it is more critical. Quality systems and inspection procedures ensure that our manufacturing practices are standardized and consistent, to result in defect-free products.

A great example of our stringent quality standards is our in-process inspection efforts. For many of our customers we produce a number of parts with post molding plastic decoration – this can include pad printing, laser etching, insert molding, etc. Since there are often many processes to produce one part, in-process inspection is utilized to prevent problems later in the process.

One of the most common examples of in-process inspection at Elite Plastics occurs right after parts are molded. Once molding is complete, operators verify that there are no issues. Many parts that feature plastic decoration are inspected multiple times while in-process. This ensures that parts going to the next step in the process are accurate, and that if there is a problem it won’t occur with parts in the future.

Beyond visual inspection, Elite Plastics has other in-process inspection procedures in place. For a number of our customers we utilize camera inspection, as well as a coordinate measuring machine that utilizes both optic technology and a touch “orb” for measurement. Stay tuned for our next blog discussing an in-process inspection process we developed for one of our large medical customers!

By Dan Thurmond
Monday, March 24, 2014 - 13:29

On our GMN blog, we recently posted a blog discussing vendor consolidation and the value-add benefits GMN can provide to its customers. Elite Plastics plays a key role in the organization’s value-add capabilities. GMN provides specialty printing and fabrication services as well as design, engineering, and assembly services. Dependent upon on the customer’s needs, pairing those capabilities with the complementary capabilities of Elite Plastics results in a seamless production process. 

At Elite Plastics, molding is one of our core capabilities, both through compression and injection molding. We offer additional value in all of our plastic and elastomer decoration options; including screen printing, pad printing, hot stamping, spray painting, laser etching, over-molding and insert molding. Other capabilities include plastic machining and value-added assemblies.

Elite Plastics value-added assembly capabilities bring it all together to form one cohesive part. The ability to provide some of the most diverse services and capabilities in the industry puts Elite Plastics in a unique position to help manufacturers reduce their supply base.

Through the years we consistently look for complimentary processes to further expand how we can add value and better serve our customers. To learn more about all of the capabilities Elite Plastics can provide, please visit our website.

Bruce Wold
By Bruce Wold
Monday, October 10, 2011 - 15:34

One of my passions has always been lean manufacturing.  Actually, not much has changed over the years.  The end result has always been “How can a high quality part be manufactured at a repeatable throughput and quality level?”  And “How can this be done in as few of steps as possible?”  I often look at this picture of my Great Grandfather, and Grandfather making brooms around the turn of the century and notice the assembly line they had complete with fixturing to make the job more repeatable. 

Of course we do not make brooms, but the same holds true.