When Larry K. Floyd started Plastic Molded Concepts Inc. (PMC Plastics) 45 years ago, he decided to implement a different business model that would set the company apart from other custom molders. “While others were going after high-volume parts and entered a race to the bottom on profits, I decided to specialize in running engineering resins with applications in lower volume parts and be a company that solves customers’ problems by knowing how to run these materials properly,” said Floyd, President and CEO of the Eagle, WI-based company.
Today, PMC Plastics is designated as an “essential” manufacturer, molding “mission-critical” parts for the aerospace, defense, and medical industries, among others. The company has 35 injection molding machines ranging from 40-ton Arburg to a 1,100-ton Van Dorn. Floyd admits that he’s been accused of running a machinery museum, but part of his business model was to buy low-hour used machinery. And he knew where to get this equipment.
Floyd, who used to be a service manager at a machinery manufacturer prior to opening his own business, said, “I knew where all the good machines were that had little, so I bought the ones with low-usage – the ones with around 10,000 cycles on them. We picked up a ton of work! I was never going to buy a new machine until one came out that could accommodate multiple screws and barrels to allow me the flexibility I needed to get the best results.”
Last year, Floyd decided to do something he’s never done before: he looked to purchase a new injection molding machine. In December, he purchased a 250-ton machine, model BL230EKS/C860, from Bole USA. While he took advantage of Bole’s offer of a 90-day free in-plant trial to potential customers, it didn’t take Floyd that long to decide that the Bole machine was the right one for his business. “My business model is such that PMC can make a respectable profit running 30% of the 35 machines at any given time,” said Floyd.
The Bole machine had what Floyd was looking for: the ability to change the screws and barrels to suit material needs. “I can run all the high-engineering grade materials, and we’re the company that solves customers’ problems by knowing how to run these materials properly,” Floyd explained. “Proper processing of these engineering-grade resins is critical to our – and to our customers’ success.”
Bole has more choices for interchangeability of screws and barrels, and special design for screws that gives PMC Plastics greater flexibility the company’s business model demands. “The door is no longer locked to me that I can only run commodity resins in certain presses,” Floyd says, adding that some of the materials PMC Plastics runs are 40% glass-filled Ultem, Polyphenylene Sulfide (PPS), Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) and rigid vinyl.
For example, PMC runs one project requiring 40% carbon-filled PEEK that needs a special screw and barrel on it that resists abrasion. This job ran for 15 years in a dedicated press in which the mold stays in that press. When PMC gets an order for parts, the mold is heated to 360 degrees; a robot performs part removal and the gates – which Floyd describes as “huge” – are removed.
“Typically, these engineering grade resins always need a secondary milling operation to finish the part dimensions,” says Floyd. “The parts are first aged, and the dimensions checked on a CMM, then put through machining process. We can machine dimensions to the fourth and fifth decimal place.”
PMC Plastics uses Paulson seminars for workforce training and RJG’s e-Dart system for material profiling in processing. Bole will soon announce that it will have the RJG interface available in all its U.S. machines. Floyd is already planning to install the RJG e-Dart in the new Bole machine. He currently runs three RJG systems for material profiling.
“I’ve seen a lot of machinery in my life, but Bole is one of the top picks in my book for engineering excellence,” said Floyd. “It’s the most used machine we have, and everyone likes it so much it’s the first one they head for if the mold fits. I’m trying to break my reputation of running a museum.”
PMC- Plastic Molded Concepts, Inc.
111 Murphy Drive
Eagle WI, 53119www.pmcplastics.com
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