Expanding our Process Development Capabilities
GW Plastics is proud to announce that we have expanded and upgraded our Process Development & Training Center in Royalton, VT to now develop and debug entire manufacturing cells in a dedicated non-production facility. This expansion comes during the 20th anniversary of the Process Development Center, for which we achieved RJG certification as a Mold Tryout Facility in 2012 and are currently one of eight companies worldwide to have this certification.
What is the Process Development & Training Center?
The GW Plastics Process Development & Training Center was founded in 1998 to expedite mold testing and qualification and improve overall speed-to-market. Prior to the foundation of the Process Development Center, a production press would need to be used to test new molds, forcing interruptions of scheduled production. To avoid production backlogs and improve speed-to-market, we built a dedicated facility for mold testing and process development.
The Process Development & Training Center has since been responsible for developing production processes for new molds to be introduced to all GW Plastics production facilities worldwide. When a mold arrives at any production facility, the technicians only have to duplicate the process that was developed in the Process Development Center rather than develop a process from scratch. This significantly decreases the downtime on a production machine for doing developmental work and increases speed-to-market. Within 24 hours of a mold being completed at our in-house moldmaking facility, it is sent to the Process Development Center, eliminating production machine scheduling interruptions.
Over the past 20 years, GW Plastics’ worldwide operations have evolved to house cutting-edge molding and automation technologies, with a focus on Scientific Molding and Lean Manufacturing including advanced electric molding machines and innovative press-side and secondary automation. Many of our processes now include extensive automation, whether it be a high-speed robot picking parts out of molds or handling a full suite of secondary operations such as pad printing, assembly, laser marking, and component testing.
Our Process Development Center recently added two new hybrid electric injection molding machines with hydraulic tiebarless clamping systems. The machines are outfitted with both pneumatic and hydraulic valve gate controls, three hydraulic core pulls, 16 zone integrated hot runner controls, and will be equipped with six axis integrated robots for part removal. The Process Development Center is now able to fully service our engineering departments in the scientific process development and qualifications phases for entire manufacturing cells, including the machine, mold, and automation. The finished manufacturing cell is then delivered to a GW production facility as a completely automated and qualified manufacturing system.
Molding our Workforce
In addition to investigating and testing these new technologies, our Process Development & Training Center serves as the educational hub of the company. GW Plastics offers RJG injection molding courses open to employees and customers, ranging from Injection Molding Essentials, Systematic Molding, and Decoupled Molding workshops. We welcome our customers to these classes to improve their injection molding and tooling knowledge, and to serve as a collaboration and troubleshooting location for new and existing programs. GW Plastics also conducts the Master Molder® certification training internally for our employees.
Every GW Plastics production facility now has at least one RJG-certified Master Molder® on staff to act as a liaison between the Process Development Center and the production facility. When a production facility receives a new mold and process documentation, the Master Molder® is able to duplicate the process in their own facility and equipment. In addition, all process engineers at the Process Development Center carry industry certifications in order to successfully carry out the process development work, including three Master Molders® and a certified Molding Engineer from the American Injection Molding Institute.