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Wisconsin Plastics is a contract manufacturing company, specializing in plastic injection molding. WPI provides design and development expertise, manufacturing and assembly solutions, storage and distribution capabilities, and many other value-added services.
WPI serves the medical, automotive, defense, and consumer products industries, and has their own product line of dispensing systems for away from home use.
Wisconsin Plastics is a contract manufacturing company, specializing in plastic injection molding, headquartered in Green Bay.
The company provides design and development expertise, manufacturing and assembly solutions, storage and distribution capabilities, and many other value-added services, to the medical, automotive, defense, and consumer products industries. They also have their own product line of dispensing systems for away from home use.
WPI was using an OGP system from the 1990’s – a ZIP Avant 400 – with great results. But a variety of new parts proved to be a challenge using the older system.
Wisconsin Plastics decided to add a SmartScope Flash 500 system to their metrology lab.
“As a contract injection molder, we get some unique products,” said Jeff Bath, Quality Manager. “We get companies that give us products that measure anywhere from 3 mm square to as much as 18 inches by 24 by 24. So we have a pretty wide range of parts.
“The Flash 500 has solved a few of the issues we’ve had. We do a number of parts that are semi-clear to clear – polycarbs, unfilled lexans, and filled lexans which are white. Some of the systems being a white part are very hard to see and hard to identify with vision systems. With the colored backlighting on the Flash 500, it really helps define those features we need to be able to identify those areas.
“The laser helps us do some nuanced measurement for flatness. We’ve got some parts where we’re talking flatnesses of 10 thousandths or less. Some of our military parts we have tolerances of .13 mm. Those tolerances, those narrow focus parts, and being so small – the ability to zoom in and focus on those features is a significant use for our system”.
“Defense contractors come in and verify what we’re doing for the military. They can see what’s going on, and they have more reliance and trust in the data they’re getting from us. They can see everything,” said Mr. Bath.
“The ability to use CAD has really saved us a lot of issues. Customers aren’t always perfect – but we’re able to say “based on your print, you show picking these features and locations, when we compare to the CAD we’re not getting the same data” and that helps take care of some disconnects between us and the customer where we can say “the CAD isn’t right” or the “drawing didn’t get updated since the newest revision of CAD”.
“Because we help procure tooling for our customers, we’re able to go and scan against the CAD model and find out where we’re out of spec. We then send that data directly to our tool house to modify the tool based on what we’re finding in data.
“Plastics shrink differently. Certain plastics shrink in certain ways, and we’re able to adjust for that shrinkage. Even though the tool is built for the perfect world, nothing’s perfect. The mold changes, material conditions can change, the temperature the mold is filled at can change how the material shrinks, and we can adjust the steel to accommodate for that. That’s been a big benefit of the Flash 500”.
Mr. Bath added, “We chose OGP because that thing is reliable. We have a machine that I know is at least 15 years old and it’s still running. Mechanical systems of the machine still work great.
“Technology has expanded, and it’s nice knowing we have a newer machine that can run the Windows programs, and can do the CAD with the ZONE3 software which really helps us get information to our customers. ZONE3 makes it easier for the operators to see what’s going on, what’s happening, and if the parts are in spec or out of spec and see it graphically on the printouts.
“That’s really been a benefit for us”.