Case Study

Case study: Spending money to control costs

Source: Avalon Vision Solutions
Case study: Spending money to control costs

Installation of 10 Avalon mold protection systems has helped Broadview Injection Molding Co, Inc. free up labor costs as well as access space around its Battenfeld molding machines. Now one operator can monitor five machines instead of just one.

The following excerpt is adapted from an article published in Injection Molding Magazine, May 1997. Reprinted with permission.

Broadview Injection Molding Co, Inc. of Broadview, IL, is a thermoplastics and thermoset custom molder known for its precision-molded and assembled bobbins and coil forms. The company has an amazing history of holding its prices. After holding its prices for 10 years in a row, Broadview had to raise its thermoset piece prices slightly in 1995, having hit a cycle-time reduction ceiling. Michael L. Hetzel, Broadview's president and CEO, tells us that the thermoset prices have held since that time. Meanwhile, prices for his thermoplastic parts remains unchanged, as for the past 13 years.

Hetzel has made investments in three key areas to keep a hold on prices while expanding capacity to meet growing demand and pursuing UL recognition:

  • He is purchasing imaging systems for mold protection.
  • He has invested more heavily in employee training
  • He has begun to outsource cost-effective offshore molds for certain jobs.

In other words, he's spending money to control costs.

Hetzel has purchased SafetyCycle II imaging systems from Avalon Vision Solutions for 10 of his 26 Battenfeld molding machines. The total investment will be $250,000. Hetzel is planning to install units on every one of his machines that presently use operator monitoring.

"Many of our products have multiple slides and are prone to damage, but why should an operator have to watch parts fall?" asks Hetzel. "Mold damage was prevented with one operator at each machine, but now one operator can run five presses. And imaging is proving to be more reliable, since human error is eliminated." In addition to freeing up labor utilization costs (Broadview employed 118 in 1994 and employs 100 now), this kind of monitoring has freed up floorspace around the machines because it eliminates the need for beside-the-press operator workstations.

Hetzel feels quality will increase, partly because of better machine access. Quality, he reminds us, is an important cost-control factor in today's global marketplace. For eight years in a row, Broadview has maintained a reject rate averaging around 369 parts/million for all of the 100+ million parts it produces each year for its domestic and foreign customers.

"I believe this is Avalon's first application in thermoset molding," he explains. "We're working together to explore the impact of high-temperature thermoset molds on the systems' cameras. The molds we're experimenting with run at 340ºF." Broadview uses two cameras in its imaged cells that have larger molds to "regionalize" the mold, thereby ensuring finer resolution.

Avalon Vision Solutions, 422 Thornton Road, Suite 104, Lithia Springs, GA 30122. Tel: 770-944-8445; Fax: 770-941-7299.