PolyFab Staff Additions

Purchasing Supervisor – Dave Meyer

Polyfab Corp. Expansion Update

East Side Wall

East Side Wall

Polyfab Corp. Expansion

Steel Decking 2/3 completed

Steel Decking 2/3 completed

Polyfab Corp – Ground Breaking October 30, 2014

Ground Breaking

Polyfab adding more room for automation and molding

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent
Plastic News

Polyfab Corp. is expanding its automation and injection molding capacity.

The Sheboygan, Wis., company will spend more than $10 million to build a plant addition and equip it with extensive robotics and other automation equipment and new injection presses.

“We are continuing to grow at 11 percent a year and are running out of room,” said Polyfab President and Chairman Rick Gill in a phone interview.

In addition to more press-side robotics, Polyfab will install an in-plant product transportation system with guided vehicles to deliver filled boxes to a pallet-wrapping station. Gill said the transportation system will be used for high-volume jobs in the new 52,000-square-foot addition, which could be completed by late November. Some production in the current 50,000-square-foot facility will be moved into the addition to take advantage of the higher level of automation.

Gill said the investments are part of its ongoing efficiency program. As less time is needed per employee at injection presses, they are being cross-trained to take on more responsibilities.

Gill said the building addition will have room for 20 presses. Polyfab has two new presses for installation there and will add more as business demands. The firm now runs 18 presses with clamp forces of 35 to 700 tons. Sheboygan’s Plan Commission has approved supporting the project. Polyfab has requested the city issue industrial development revenue bonds for the project.

Polyfab is a diverse molder with annual sales of about $15 million. It employs 67 but expects to add 35 more over three years after the expansion comes on stream.

Polyfab’s quality control capabilities allowed it to capture new business in 2011 making valves and fittings for a company that supplies components for natural gas distribution. Gill said the job is a demanding one. It involves bimodal high density polyethylene, a difficult material to mold to the precise dimensions required for the parts. The application demands a resin with an exceptionally long lifetime underground.

“In the natural gas industry, if you make a bad part you can blow up a house,” Gill warned.

Polyfab installed special cavity pressure control equipment for molding the gas-line parts.

Polyfab is one of the molders that captured the gas-line components work after the undisclosed customer shut down its internal division that was doing the molding. The new work helped offset a big chunk of business it lost to its former main customer in the food production industry.

Other important markets for Polyfab are packaging and medical. It runs a clean molding cell in its climate-controlled facility. Other capabilities include insert and overmolding, decorating, assembly, lights-out production and a tool room.

Polyfab is a family-owned business started by Rick’s parents, John and Millie Gill in 1971. Gill has emphasized productivity since he took over the company’s reins in 1985.

Polyfab Corp has been chosen as one of the Journal Sentinels Top Workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin for 2013, as voted by its workers.

Based on a survey by Workplace Dynamics, of Philadelphia, teamed with the Journal Sentinel, they surveyed 224 southeastern Wisconsin companies. Employees responded to 22 statements, of which this data was analyzed, statistical tests run, and ranking developed.

The results indicate that our employees reactions to those statements are favorable and rank Polyfab among the top 50 small best employers ( with 50 to 149 workers in the region).

We want to thank all of our dedicated employees for this honor of being named a Top Workplace. It is due to the passion of everyone’s hard work to deliver solutions and outstanding customer service.

Our employees are our most valuable asset, congratulations to all of you for making Polyfab a great place!

office

Polyfab Molds a New Niche

Click here to view the full article on BizTimes.com

When Polyfab Corp. lost its biggest customer last year, the company had to figure out how to make up for a loss of 36 percent of its business.

The Sheboygan custom plastic injection molder’s main customer was in the food production business and decided to bring its molding production in house.

Polyfab was resilient, though, and worked to make up for the loss in production quickly, so there wouldn’t be any layoffs.

“We went out and tried to do everything we could to increase sales,” said president Rick Gill.

Polyfab found a new and even bigger customer, making plastic parts such as valves for a company that distributes the piping and fittings for supplying natural gas.

As a result, the company hired six new employees to meet the demand. It now has 75 employees at its 50,000-square-foot facility.

Polyfab also makes lids for antibacterial and disinfectant wipes and the dispenser buttons for the country’s largest water cooler manufacturer.

From 2011 to 2012, a number of its customers have grown 10 to 20 percent, which means more orders for Polyfab.

Molds are built in an on-site tool room. Then they are tested to assure accuracy and consistency of production. It can take up to 24 weeks to build a new mold.

There’s a lot of work done before production starts on a new part, but it’s important, Gill said.

“In the natural gas industry, if you make a bad part you can blow up a house,” he said.

Polyfab is a family business started by Rick’s parents, John and Millie Gill, in 1971. Since he took over as president in 1985, Rick has focused on increasing process automation.

“The cost of labor is high in America,” he said. “We want to be competitive by doing as much as we can with automation.”

Most of Polyfab’s customers are within 200 or 300 miles, keeping shipping costs fairly low.

“We have a very competitive industry. There’s a lot of molders out there,” Rick Gill said. “We work very hard to take care of our customers.”

Polyfab makes plastic parts by vacuuming plastic pellets from its silos to the press machines. It may color the pellets, depending on customer design. Then, the pellets are melted and squirted into the mold at very high pressure, about 20 to 25 pounds per square inch.

The injection molds and presses are cooled with water during the speedy process.

The company’s 500-ton press, for example, can make about 54,000 disinfectant wipe lids per day.

A robotic arm grabs and closes the lids. Then they are sent down a conveyor belt for a photo quality check and into a box to be shipped.

Each product has its own automated process. Polyfab makes everything from the plastic webbing in baby gates to the handles on spatulas to a part for a medical suction device.

Employees are vital in monitoring the machines and checking parts for accuracy.

“My dad hired a lot of people and trained them from the ground up,” Gill said. “We’ve hired good people and really built up the team we have here.”

CUSTOM INJECTION MOLDER PREPARES FOR DEMISE OF MAJOR CUSTOMER, GAINS ANOTHER AND SALES GROW

Sheboygan, WI – Custom injection molder Polyfab Corporation was preparing for the demise of their largest customer (36% of sales) in the food service industry with production ending in 2012. Polyfab Corporation responded aggressively to identify a plan and strategy to overcome the expected loss in business.

Fortunately for Polyfab, their website presence worked to their benefit when a new prospect learned of Polyfab online. Now their new customer represents more business than what will be lost in business from the food service customer of Polyfab. Their new customer is a leader in the manufacturing of critical safety components. “Polyfab responded to the specific requests of the customer”, said President Rick Gill. “Internal process controls were critical to the customer applications”.

Polyfab utilizes cavity pressure controls with Kissler and Master Molder training through RJG. The program requires critical pressure tests, Polyfab’s ability to mold tight tolerance production as well as monitor the molding process within stringent parameters was essential to the new business. Although the arrival of the first molds took place in May 2012, all applications from the new program will be in full production with Polyfab within one year.

A commitment to manufacturing excellence, the new awarded business has resulted in the addition of six new employees to the Polyfab team as well as new injection molding presses. Polyfab recently purchased a new Kraus Maffei (140 ton) and four Toshiba (ranging in size from 110 to 390 ton) presses and the necessary auxiliary equipment to not only support the new program, but as a commitment to replace aged presses greater than 10 years old. Capital investments in the quality lab included the purchase of a new Aberlink Metrology Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM). All the Quality Techs at Polyfab are able to write programs for the CMM.

Polyfab currently has 76 employees at its 44,000 square foot facility in Sheboygan, WI.

Polyfab featured in Insight

Polyfab weighs in on the shortage of skilled workers to fill positions within Wisconsin manufacturing facilities.

PolyFab New Equipment

  • 3 Toshiba presses
  • 1 Krauss Maffei press with Fanuc robots
  • 2 Coordinate Measuring Machines
  • Qualitest Tensile Tester
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