Telecom Manufacturer Improves Performance, Cuts Costs
Network interface device maker produces better housings at lower cost
The material that a major telecommunications device maker injection-molded to make network interface device housings (NIDs) was not meeting up to critical production standards.
The information superhighway would come to a halt without NIDs – the literal on-ramps where a company’s wiring is connected to the telecommunication company’s local loop. They typically are mounted outdoors where they can be easily accessed, so they need protection from a rugged, weatherproof enclosure.
But the manufacturer’s enclosures – created in a clamshell-like shape from a single two-cavity mold – were breaking at an alarming rate when ejected from the mold.
After struggling with slow production and high scrap rates, the molder and the manufacturer needed a better solution than the PVC material they were sourcing from a local low-cost supplier.
To get a third-party perspective on the situation, the companies brought in a team from PolyOne to help assess the situation. Their joint research revealed that the molding machine was working at excessive pressure and high temperatures – a result of the PVC material’s high viscosity. The stress was creating weakness in the molded parts.
A new material – along with technical support to optimize the production process – would likely solve the problem. PolyOne’s team worked closely with the manufacturer to understand the product requirements for weather resistance, medium- to high-impact resistance, color retention and UL94 V-0 flame resistance.
After considering all options, the team specified a standard Geon™ Rigid Vinyl based on its ability to meet all of the specifications while also eliminating the production issues. During the first molding trial, the new material was processed successfully at a lower temperature and pressure.
When the OEM tested the new molded parts for accelerated aging and impact resistance, they passed easily and the new material was approved for production.
Once in full production, the benefits of the switch were substantial:
- Reduced Cycle Time: The high flow properties of the Geon material allowed the molder to reduce packing and cooling time while still producing warp-free parts. That resulted in a cycle time reduction of more than 8% during the first trial.
- Increased Production: The new material allowed the molder to increase part output, resulting in a machine cost-per-part savings.
- Reduced Scrap Rate: The new material’s properties and performance created parts with improved toughness and impact resistance. The first molding trial achieved zero part breakage during ejection, fewer rejects and a major reduction in scrap.
- Total Manufacturing Cost Savings: Although the price per pound of the new material was higher than the former vinyl choice, the OEM’s total costs were reduced by more than $21,000 a year as a result of faster cycle times, increased productivity and reduced scrap.
As an added benefit, the Geon material’s enhanced flow properties enabled the molding contractor to fill intricate features within the NID housing while maintaining a superior surface appearance.
Once in service, the new parts met or exceeded additional expectations for dimensional stability, UV resistance, creep resistance and overall durability.
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