Volume 6 Issue 5 June 2005
MAKING IT WORK
Premier Profile Lamination Born From Industry Dilemma
by Elizabeth Jordan
Premier Profile Lamination of Youngstown, Ohio, has made its mark with its ability to offer the industry profile wrapping polyvinyl chloride (PVC) components for windows and doors.
The company was founded three years ago to meet the need to reduce scrap and improve the quality of profile-wrapped pieces. While it wasn’t easy, the individuals who got it up and running investigated the problem, researched possible solutions and implemented their ideas into a successful business that continues to grow.
Recognizing a Need
While working for a PVC die manufacturer, Robert Kingston, vice president of Premier Profile, noticed a widespread problem—the inability of plastics manufacturers to affix vinyl laminate to extruded PVC parts successfully. Obtaining complete and consistent adhesion between the laminate and the PVC profile was a constant challenge; finished pieces often experienced air bubbles or voids between the laminate and profile. Consequently, scrap rates were as high as 50 percent for some in-house operations and contract profile wrappers were nearly impossible to find.
Most in-house window and door profile wrapping is part of a highly-automated manufacturing process, so the opportunity for problems with complete adhesion is enormous.
In the summer of 2000, Kingston spent a week helping one of his die customers troubleshoot a profile wrapping process and determined that only strict attention to the process and, specifically to in-process quality control could reduce scrap and improve quality successfully.
Kingston saw a huge need for a contract profile wrapper capable of producing high-quality finished parts consistently for use in window and door manufacturing. Expanding on the knowledge gained in his one-week indoctrination in profile wrapping, he spent the next year researching different profile wrapping processes and equipment to develop the most-reliable, highest-quality profile wrapping system.
The Development Stage
Profile wrapping is commonly done in the woodworking industry, so Kingston enlisted Jason Baker, a friend and colleague with a woodworking background, as Premier Profile’s processing manager. Kingston and Baker attended the AWFS woodworking show and gained valuable insights into profile wrapping while making key contacts with profile wrapping equipment and material suppliers.
The ability to swap out and/or adjust the machine rollers, as well as adjust adhesive coating width and weight, were key system design elements. Not only was adjustability at start-up important, but the ability to make in-process adjustments was critical to reduce scrap and support short production runs. After extensive research, Kingston decided that a Friz Optimat profile wrapping machine with our PW applicator head and BM 200 bulk melter would deliver the consistency and production flexibility required to produce high-quality profile wrapped parts.
The Helping Hands
Premier Profile was a start-up company, and the expertise and support of suppliers such as our company and Stiles, the U.S. representative for Friz, was imperative to success of the business.
“Willingness and ability of suppliers such as Dave Deibel, Nordson market development specialist, to share their profile wrapping experience and knowledge contributed to the successful start-up of Premier Profile,” said Kingston.
Kingston’s PVC manufacturing background and Baker’s woodworking experience also shortened the learning curve significantly so Premier Profile was quickly operational once appropriate equipment and materials were identified.
Production flexibility is an ongoing requirement to accommodate the more than 200 profiles Premier Profile runs. Sections can range from 7 to 21 feet in length and production runs can range from 2,500 to 30,000 lineal feet.
To maintain high-quality profile wrapping, Kingston or Baker set-up each job personally and oversee production. Besides monitoring the profiles in-process, each finished piece is hand-inspected for air bubbles and voids that could indicate the profile wrapping machine needs adjusting.
In addition to hand inspection, samples from each production run are tested before that shipment can leave Premier Profile. Both pull and boil tests are conducted to check for complete adhesion between the laminate and plastic profile and a 72-hour cure is completed before an item leaves the premises.
Up and Running
Plans are underway to relocate the 20,000-square-foot facility and expand the additional profile wrapping lines utilizing the successful combination of Friz and equipment from our company. In the three years Premier Profile has been producing high-quality profile wrapped parts, Kingston has become even more convinced that profile lamination is an art that requires the proper tools and equipment to achieve high quality products.
Elizabeth Jordan is the senior production manager for Nordson Corp. based in Duluth, Ga.
Weather Shield Changes its Shipping Methods with Good Results
by Sarah Batcheler
When a company that prides itself in producing quality windows and doors delivers shattered glass, it means money down the drain, and worse, displeased customers. Weather Shield Windows and Doors of Medford, Wis., realized how much of its deliveries were being sent back because of damage incurred during shipping and made a dramatic change in its shipping process.
Three years ago, Weather Shield shipments were incurring excessive damage. The company wanted to provide customers with more timely and accurate delivery and tracking information, says Bob Gibbons, director of purchasing.
It wasn’t until a year later that it entered into an exclusive agreement with UPS for the shipment of its packages. The company’s customers were requesting better shipment tracking and delivery, and UPS was able to offer great tracking systems and response to packaging-related damage.
“Providing service and replacement parts in a timely fashion is an integral part of supporting our customers’ needs,” says Gibbons.
The Perfect Parcel
The UPS package lab worked with Weather Shield to design a custom package with special materials for protected transportation of its glass products. Weather Shield opted to keep the package’s composition confidential, but said it can likely be adapted to other products.
The custom box and its contents were submitted to rigorous testing at a UPS package
lab in Addison, Chicago, where it was shaken, squeezed and dropped by a team of engineers. The outcome was the creation of an affordable casing in which the company’s glass products could be enclosed and shipped safely, according to UPS.
“Given the variety of tests that packages go through, it is a good and fair test of packaging and its reliability,” says Gibbons.
Impact for the Customer
Weather Shield took the opportunity to make its entire shipment process better, including the customer’s involvement. The internal order number is cross-referenced in the UPS system so customers can track shipments themselves if they choose. In the past, customers had to track orders by calling the company directly. In some instances, it required a series of phone calls and a follow-up a day or two later.
“The system is excellent and allows us to provide the timely and accurate information our customers require. The result has been a reduction on replenishment on reshipment and the resulting delay to our customer,” says Gibbons.
The results have been striking. According to Gibbons, the shipping damages for small packages have been cut in half. They currently ship 7-8 percent of its products through UPS, 10 percent through LTL carriers and 80-85 percent through the company’s own fleet. They may use other carriers for letters and documents.
His suggestion to window and door manufacturers who would like to lower the amount of damaged shipments is to work with their providers on ideas to reduce damage.
“Be willing to look elsewhere if the provider isn’t receptive,” says Gibbons.
Sarah Batcheler is an assistant editor for DWM.
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