FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Mack Molding, headquartered in Arlington, Vt., captured five awards from the annual Plastic Parts Innovations Conference and New Product Design Competition, it was announced last night at the Awards Ceremony that culminated the three-day conference sponsored by the Alliance of Plastics Processors in Columbus, Ohio. “Mack has a long history with this competition,” says Jeff Somple, president, Northern Operations, “and this is the highest number of awards we’ve ever won.”
The winning applications and customers are:
- Furniture/Computer & Business Equipment category – Chadwick Suspension Chair, Knoll
- Single Part category – Seat Encapsulation/Chadwick Chair, Knoll
- Medical/Scientific category – E Series™ Defibrillator, ZOLL Medical Corporation
- Material Handling category – Wildcat ER Cover, Raymond Corporation
- Appliance category – Orion Star Series Meters, Thermo Electron Corporation.
The winner of the combined Furniture/Computer & Business Equipment category, the Chadwick suspension chair, is an office chair designed by Don Chadwick for Knoll, an international company that specializes in workplace furnishings. The chair’s principle components are light injection molded forms that make up the frame, arm and base. Mack uses nine tools to mold 14 parts out of 40 percent glass-filled nylon to meet cosmetic and structural requirements. Gas-assisted injection molding is used on several parts to reduce cycle times and part weight, and maximize the structural integrity of the resin.
Made of only plastics, fabric, links and springs, the chair is designed to be simple, comfortable and affordable, yet aesthetically pleasing. A resilient suspension seat and back fabric chemically bonds with the plastic during the fabric encapsulation process (described below) and handles all recommended load requirements to meet Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA) standards.
In addition to the suspension seat, the Chadwick chair offers several other support and comfort features, including synchronized recline with tilt tension, forward-tilt, variable seat depth, generous lumbar curvature, flexing arm pads and 360-degree swivel. The seat/back fabric is available in seven colors.
Winning the Single Part category is the seat encapsulation for the Chadwick chair described above. The seat support must transfer the load of an individual’s weight to the seat frame without any fabric tearing issues. To accomplish that, Mack uses fabric that is produced in two types of copolyester resin.
First, the fabric is manually hung in the press and overmolded around its perimeter with a 20 percent glass-filled copolyester resin to form a frame that holds the fabric and provides initial structure for the seat. The copolyesters in both the fabric and seat frame chemically bond during that process. The excess fabric is then trimmed away from the outside of the molded frame. Second, the trimmed seat encapsulation is loaded into another tool, where it is overmolded with a 40 percent glass-filled nylon to match the chair. The mushroom-shaped design of the seat frame overmold wraps around the copolyester frame to hold it in place.
This two-step molding process is innovative because it allows one resin, the copolyester used to mold the initial seat frame, to chemically bond with the copolyester fabric, while the second step bonds the overmold to the seat frame via a cosmetically enhancing mechanical design.
The Medical/Scientific division winner is the E Series™ Defibrillator from ZOLL Medical Corporation, the OEM that won this category with Mack last year for the ZOLL AED Pro™ automated external defibrillator.
Designed to meet the specific demands and extreme conditions of the emergency medical services environment, the E Series features a suitcase-style design with an innovative, protective roll cage, allowing emergency personnel to carry and store the device easily. Small, light and tough, it can be dropped off a building or run over by a truck without affecting operation.
The system is equipped with a simple operating system and an easy-to-read display screen for use in pitch dark or direct sunlight, providing complete views of critical patient information from virtually any angle. The built-in GPS clock allows customers to automatically synchronize dispatch, defibrillator and intervention call times, which helps improve overall data accuracy.
From a mechanical perspective, the E Series is innovative because of its lightweight, yet indestructible design. The part is protected on three sides with gas-assisted parts – two side rails and the front handle. The side rails are gas-assist injection molded to meet Zoll’s wall thickness requirements. The material is a modified ABS resin. Additionally, the gas-assisted handle is molded of polycarbonate resin and overmolded with thermoplastic polyurethane to provide both comfort and grip to the emergency medical technician handling the product.
Mack molds a total of 14 parts for the unit, using polyurethane, polycarbonate and modified ABS resins. All materials are high impact resins with high temperature resistance to assure performance in the harshest of conditions.
The winning application in the Material Handling category is the Wildcat ER Cover, which protects the motor and other electronic and hydraulic components on the new 8000 Series of pallet trucks manufactured by the Raymond Corporation, the leading North American provider of materials handling solutions.
Billed as “the toughest pallet truck you can buy,” the 8000 Series features a rugged polymer cover that won’t bend, dent, fade or rust like metal covers. It snaps conveniently on and off for easy maintenance, and there are no catch points that can cause the cover to become damaged. Low pressure structural foam molded of thermoplastic elastomer, the large cover meets both cosmetic and extremely high impact requirements. The combination of material, process and paint allows the part to “flex” without surface damage.
The Orion Star Series Meters won the Appliance division. Manufactured by Thermo Electron Corporation, the world leader in analytical instruments, the bench top and handheld meters were designed to offer rapid, accurate measurement of pH, ISE, dissolved oxygen and conductivity for environmental (water) analysis in the laboratory or the field.
The bench top version is rated IP67 splash proof and IP54 dust-proof and takes up very little bench space due to its small footprint. The lightweight design of the handheld model, coupled with the new waterproof and secure electrode connectors, makes it ideal for fieldwork. Both housings are injection molded of polycarbonate resin for impact strength and chemical resistance.
“While these applications are all very different, they share one common denominator – complexity,” notes Somple. “They are all difficult to produce. Challenging processes. Hard-to-run materials. Unique tooling scenarios. They represent the type of manufacturing that has remained in the U.S. So to be competitive today, you have to be really competent at the complex engineering and processing applications…the hard stuff.
“I hear a lot of people talking about investing in automation so they can compete for work going overseas,” he continues. “Personally, I think the next investment wave will be in people – bright, experienced engineers and other professionals who can handle the challenges and keep the work at home.”
About Mack Molding
Mack Molding – a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mack Group corporation – is a leading custom plastics molder and supplier of contract manufacturing services. Mack specializes in plastics design, prototyping, molding, sheet metal fabrication, and medical device manufacturing. The company operates seven facilities throughout the eastern United States. Founded in 1920, Mack is a privately owned business that has earned a 5A1 D&B rating, the highest available. For further information, call 802-375-2511 or visit Mack on the web at www.mack.com.