Custom machinery and a collaborative approach helped Integrity bring more business back to its Windsor, Ont. HQ and expand its facility in Queretaro, Mexico.
March 2, 2018 by Canadian Plastics
A classic Saturday Night Live sketch called “The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave” told the story of a house guest who tormented his hosts by seriously overstaying his welcome.
By contrast, Integrity Tool & Mold had some guests who stayed for just the right amount of time – and helped the Windsor, Ont.-based moldmaker achieve some long-range business goals.
In the summer of 2016, Integrity – which makes injection molds for the automotive industry – was looking to bring more of its business in-house. At the same time, it also wanted to expand its facility in Queretaro, Mexico, including adding short production run services to its existing mold validation offerings.
“Our goal was to partner up with a machine manufacturer that could meet our needs, and wants, and to be able to do what we needed them to do and try to make that a standard across the board,” said Brian Bartlett, molding department manager at Integrity’s Windsor plant.
Integrity had four main criteria when shopping a supplier: service, performance, quality, and timing. After considering a number of candidates, the company ultimately selected KraussMaffei for the project. “Besides meeting these criteria, what made KraussMaffei stand out was their dedication to the project,” Bartlett said.
Headquartered in Florence, Kentucky, KraussMaffei Corp. is the U.S. subsidiary of the Munich, Germany-based Krauss-Maffei Group. Its products and services cover a wide range of injection molding technology, reaction process machinery, and extrusion technology, as represented by three brands: KraussMaffei, KraussMaffei Berstorff, and Netstal.
Once the project with Integrity was underway, KraussMaffei provided local support in the form of a dedicated engineering manager who stayed at Integrity’s facility as long as was needed, answering questions and making recommendations along the way. KraussMaffei also flew in manufacturing experts from Munich to answer specific questions regarding the details of building Integrity’s machines. “I was pretty impressed with that,” Bartlett said.
Integrity ordered four KraussMaffei injection molding machines ranging from 550 to 4,000 metric tons – including a 2,300 metric ton rotary multi-shot press that went into Integrity’s 118,000-square-foot Queretaro facility, and a 4,000 metric ton machine installed at the plant in Windsor. All were ordered equipped with KraussMaffei’s LRX series linear robots to showcase their capabilities in mold trials and to facilitate Integrity’s newly added short production run services at the Queretaro facility.
A MATTER OF CONTROL
KraussMaffei’s innate machine capabilities have given Integrity more flexibility to work with different materials and molds at a faster pace, Bartlett said, as well as more control over the injection processes, with the ability to adjust on-the-fly using the MC6 controller’s split screen technology standard on all of KraussMaffei’s machines. “KraussMaffei’s machines have standard options that allow for programming that would be add-ons with other machine suppliers,” Bartlett added.
Another plus, he continued, was the fact that many different aspects of the process data can be monitored and graphed simultaneously on the main screen of the MC6 controller, without having to navigate through several sub-pages. “With the KraussMaffei machines, you can have all four barrels pulled up at once,” Bartlett said, referring to the 2,300 metric ton four-colour KraussMaffei injection molding machine at its Mexico facility that came standard with two 24-inch screens. “The capability of the processing on these machines is amazing,” Bartlett said. “It’s the next level of molding.”
Bartlett also provided an example of a common issue that can come up in mold trials and production – and how the KraussMaffei machines address it. “One of the biggest problems in the industry when it comes to molding is, is the tool being blown open by processing or is it flash on the tool because of spotting?” Bartlett said. “With the KraussMaffei units, we can answer this question by comparing the clamp pressure versus injection pressure on the same screen.”
All of these capabilities provide Integrity with a variety of options for their customers, an advantage that will help their Mexico operation grow beyond providing comprehensive 24/7 mold validation services, into the realm of short-run production options, particularly for their large automotive customers.
The project also benefitted from KraussMaffei’s speed and teamwork in the commissioning of the KM 2300 MX four color machine. KraussMaffei brought in technicians from Germany plus local support from its Mexico office to make sure the machine was up and running for a scheduled mold trial for one of Integrity’s large Tier 1 automotive customers.
“A large 2,300 ton 4K injection press was commissioned within eleven days,” said Wayne McLaughlin, the plant manager for Integrity’s Mexico operations. “Our customer was extremely impressed because we built a brand new 2K mold to run in this press,” he said. “It was all coordinated with us building this mold and the delivery of this KraussMaffei press so we could try this mold out to get parts for our customer on time. It all came together very well.”
Integrity sees its new relationship with KraussMaffei as the beginning of what could be a long and productive partnership: the company is already looking to add more KraussMaffei presses, ranging from 1,600 to 4,000 metric tons, to both facilities in the coming year.
Sounds like a much better pairing than the unhappy homeowners and the thing that wouldn’t leave.