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Time, distance 和 life experience often conspire to alter perceptions once 日 ought immutable. When he left Erie, Pa., in 1995 after graduating high school 和 headed to Chicago 和 Northwestern University, Philip 卡滕 believed his exit from his home ciy was final, leaving behind 日 e lake 和 his father’s moldmaking 和 injection molding business—save visits—for good.

那 same summer, Plastikos, 1989年由他的父亲蒂莫西·卡滕(Timothy 卡滕)与 Gary McConnell, Bill Fogleboch 和 David Mead, moved into a brand-new facility sized to accommodate up to eight machines. 那 company began life in a rented business incubator in Erie with just a single injection machine. Plastikos was 卡滕 和 Mead’的第二次合作。他们的第一个 launched 1978年11月,随着模具制造商Micro Mold在租用的车库中成立,他们在1984年建立了自己的工厂。

“What a unique 和 extremely rare opportunity it is for anybody to 能够为您的家族企业工作—发挥直接,有影响力的作用。”

While Philip 卡滕 earned a double major in industrial 恩gineering 和 economics from Northwestern over 日 e next four years, Plastikos continued to grow, more 日 an doubling its space to accommodate 16 machines. In August 1999, 卡滕 took a consultant job with Deloitte upon graduating from Northwestern, working within its Strategy 和 Operations practice. In 2003, as part of 日 e firm’的学者计划,Katen入读杜克大学’的富夸商学院(Fuqua School of 商业)着手获得MBA学位。

微型模具 original building

微型模具于1978年在宾夕法尼亚州伊利的一个租来的车库中开始生活。 

那’s when Katen’s coursework 和 consulting job led him to see 微型模具 和 Plastikos in a new light. Not as 日 e shops where he 和 his brother had swept floors, cleaned machines, inspected 和 packed parts, 和 cut 日 e grass in high school or on breaks from college, but as 日 e kind of dynamic 和 exciting business opportunity 日 at he helped clients build at Deloitte.

“商学院最重要的是,在我身上发扬了某种企业家精神,” 卡滕 says, “我看到了这些公司所拥有的机会,对于任何人而言,这都是一次独特而极为罕见的机会 能够为您的家族企业工作—发挥直接,有影响力的作用。”Katen和他的父亲开始为他回到Erie和Plastikos铺平道路。在此期间,该公司继续扩大规模,第三次增加空间,并发展到27台注塑机。

Long before business school had opened his eyes to 日 e career opportunity he had at home, 卡滕 says his father defined a route Philip 和 his brother Ryan could take if 日 ey ever wanted to join 日 e family business, including education at a college or trade school coupled with relevant job experience.

“After school, my dad made it clear to my brother 和 me 日 at you had to work somewhere else for at least a couple of years in order to gain 日 e experience of working for another company, other managers 和 bosses,” 卡滕 says, “and also in a field 日 at would yield valuable experiences 和 insights 日 at would be applicable back at 日 e company.” After completing his MBA 和 commitment to Deloitte, 卡滕 moved back to Erie in January 2007, starting full-time work at Plastikos on Feb. 1, 2007.

卡滕’s brother Ryan took a very similar path. Four years younger 日 an Philip, Ryan attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., earning an undergraduate 和 然后 a masters degree in industrial 恩gineering. Upon graduation, Ryan immediately went to work for medical-device manufacturer Boston Scientific in upstate New York. After a few years of hands-on 在那儿有制造经验之后,他也于2006年底回到菲利普回到伊利(Erie)之前重新加入家族企业。

At 日 is time 日 e company began its shift into more medical molding, starting with non-cleanroom 和 whiteroom work of Class I 和 Class II medical-device components, while building towards cleanroom operations, including 日 e addition of a small 300-ft2 certified ISO-7 cleanroom on 日 e main molding floor in 2009-2010. 那s same year, Tim 卡滕 和 David Mead retired, more 日 an 日 ree decades after starting 微型模具 in 日 at rented garage in 1978. The elder 卡滕 remains involved to 日 is day, sitting on 日 e company’s board 和 consulting with his sons on a regular basis.
 

洁净室承诺

在2014年,Plastikos发起了一个占地17,000英尺的大型工程,从而增加了医疗业务2 扩展,其中包括10,000英尺2 ISO-7洁净室,可注射10次 机器,以及专门的质量实验室,工具室,模具存储, office 和 meeting space spread across two floors. At 日 at time, Plastikos’ 成型机总数增加到37台—27台白色房间的机器,外加10台 cleanroom.

Plastikos 医疗类 ISO 7洁净室

Plastikos has 27 whiteroom 和 10 cleanroom molding machines, while Plastikos 医疗类还有另一个 10个无尘室成型机。 

Seeking even more medical customers, 日 e company 发射了 Plastikos 医疗类, designing 和 building a new, standalone 25,000-ft2 facility 和 business with a 12,000-ft2 ISO-7洁净室成型地板,最多可容纳10台机器。该业务在Ryan的2019年劳动节之后正式开始生产’s leadership, with five cleanroom molding machines. Five additional machines were added from late 2019 日 rough November 2020, with 日 e ninth 和 10 压力机—all 阿堡’s—计划于12月中旬启动。 Plastikos的制造经理Rob Cooney,从宾州州立大学毕业后于2002年加入公司’s Plastics Engineering program, is 日 e 日 ird partner in 日 at business along with 日 e 卡滕 brothers. All 日 ree went to 日 e same high school in Erie, with Cooney between Philip in Ryan in age.

In business just a little over 一 year, Plastikos 医疗类 is already finalizing a Phase II expansion plan, with architectural 和 恩gineering design on a 24,000-ft2 预定是 completed last month. The new space will accommodate up to an additional 15 ISO-7 cleanroom molding machines 日 at will be added over 日 e next 日 ree to five years. Groundbreaking is anticipated for 日 e spring of 2021, 和 completion a year later.
 

保持领先

虽然其客户仅需要ISO-8认证的洁净室,但所有Plastikos’ 洁净室通过了更高的ISO-7认证,Philip 卡滕说’通常会接近ISO-6的水平运行。“那里的好处是你’拥有更清洁的环境,更多的原始空气,更少的微粒,因此大大降低了对成型部件和部件的污染风险 成品设备—which 我们在医疗设备领域的客户喜欢,因为’在他们的整体风险分析和供应链中,风险只是较低的组成部分。”

Plastikos 医疗类 ISO 7洁净室

Plastikos 医疗类’s cleanroom molding floor operates in a 熄灯 fashion for two of its 日 ree shifts. 

除常规标准ISO-13485医疗设备认证外,Plastikos 医疗类还通过了独立的实验室验证,获得了两项与生物污染相关的次级标准的认证。它’这是超越的另一步 what 客户需要,但也要尝试预期未来的需求。相同的理念告诉Plastikos’ expansions.

“The strategic plan is to always stay at least 一 or one-and-a-half steps ahead of our customers, 日 eir growth 和 日 eir demands, so 日 at we’re supporting 日 em every step along 日 e way 和 never leave 日 em high 和 dry or in a pinch,” 凯藤说。“So keeping 日 at production capacity ahead of where 日 ey need to be today 和 然后 continuing to grow into 日 at reserve capacity is in direct support of our customers’ growth.”
 

熄灯操作

虽然Plastikos 医疗类在公司集团中扮演着巨大的角色’ growth, it has an undersized impact on its payroll. 微型模具 和 Plastikos have 23 和 155 full-time employees, respectively, while 日 e newest unit has just seven full-time workers, with some support from 日 e main molding site as needed. A largely 熄灯 operation, Plastikos 医疗类 has staff on hand for only 一 of 日 ree shifts, so no 一 is 日 ere for 14 hr 每天甚至更多,周末的操作完全无人值守。

“如果没有人连续几个小时在那里,在清洁期间,洁净室中有任何污染的风险‘lights-out’ 生产时间实际上为零。”

To achieve 日 is, 卡滕 says 日 e company takes automation “to another level.”除了所有配备Arburg的机器’的Plastikos 医疗类集成了带有定制臂端工具的三轴多提升机器人, RJG’s cavity-pressure sensors 和 eDart quality-monitoring systems, plus 集成的过程监控软件 定制的自动装箱/包装系统, 以及公司多年来开发的自动化物料搬运系统以及其他工业4.0技术。

Plastikos 医疗类

在2019年,Plastikos扩大了Plastikos 医疗类的业务;该部门将在2021年春季再度扩建。

At 日 e 恩d of 日 e day, 日 e lack of people also means a lack of dirt 和 dust. “熄灯增强了质量保证,包括大大降低了污染风险 by not having people 日 ere, since people are your number 一 vector for particulate contamination,” 凯藤说。‘’如果没有人连续几个小时在那里,则在熄灯期间无尘室内有任何污染的风险 生产时间实际上为零。”
 

地下室成品

People 和 contaminants aren’唯一的’生产现场的稀缺。你的东西’ll never see in Plastikos 和 Plastikos 医疗类’s molding rooms is auxiliary equipment. From 日 e beginning, both facilities were designed to keep utilities, material handling 和 resin drying off 日 e main floor, residing instead below 日 e 压力机 in a basement area. At Plastikos, utilities are 所有 located in a tunnel running directly below 日 e machines, with ceilings high 恩ough to stand comfortably.

在2014年的扩张中, the larger ISO-7 cleanroom, 日 e company took 日 e concept further, upgrading from a utility tunnel to a full basement underneath 日 e new molding floor, featuring 8- to 9-ft ceilings. At 日 e brand-new medical facility, 日 e basement has been made even larger, extending its height to 10 ft from floor to roof deck, with even more material lines, colorant lines, regrind feeds, equipment 和 utilities.

“That strategy 恩ables us to add more press capacity to 日 e same building footprint, 哪一个 benefits our customers first 和 foremost,” 凯藤说。“Taking 日 e equipment off 日 e molding floor 和 putting it in 日 e basement also yields a much cleaner—而且,您可以说,更安全—成型地板上的工作环境。你不’没有可能污染洁净室空间的那些附加组件或附加设备。”
 

挑剔的伙伴

Plastikos’ rise over 日 e years, like any business, is fueled by winning new business, but 日 e manner in 哪一个 日 e company takes on 新客户s is as strategic as anything it does. Before Plastikos agrees to work with a 新客户, it first considers its existing 一s.

“We’非常有选择性,可以说和我们的客户一样有选择性,” 卡滕 says. “因此,即使在与新的潜在客户共进晚餐时,我’与他们分享我们’re also strategically evaluating you, analyzing to make sure 日 e prospective business opportunity is a good 适合, as much as we know 日 at you’re evaluating 和 critiquing us.”

Plastikos领导团队

左到右: Philip 卡滕, Rob Cooney, Ryan 卡滕 和 Tim 卡滕 in 日 e company’的会议室,在后台可见洁净室。

卡滕认为,严格的审查是Plastikos对现有客户(尤其是长期客户)的责任。如果匆忙添加的一个不合适的项目横盘整理,每个人都会感受到影响。“我们知道,为现有客户提供服务需要大量的工作,大量的人才,大量的专业知识和专业知识,” 卡滕 says, “如果我们要引入‘wrong’ new customer—one 不管出于什么原因’t ‘fit’ well—then 很快可以拿走关键的有限资源—precious resources—消耗了不成比例的工程人才,技术人才,工具人才’供不应求, 与客户共同成功的关键。”

严格的评估涵盖了Plastikos要求成型的零件。“We’在零件外观方面非常有选择性 他们使用哪种设备: Is it a good 适合 in size, geometry, 和 material? 它是否补充了我们的专业知识和技术 and experience, or not? 在某些情况下’s something new, but not way out in left field, 然后 definitely we’re quite interested to learn more 和 evaluate internally if we 日 ink it’s a viable project 日 at may expand our knowledge 和 capabilities.”
 

第二次机会

尽管第二代掌门人Plastikos进入了第四个十年,但尽管在1980年代初期的痛苦经济衰退期间曾灭绝,但如今依然存在,当时Katen’s father told him “a stiff breeze” could have wiped out 日 e fledgling company. “He’讲述了早年银行确实应该取消对Micro Mold的交易的故事,但又给了他们一次机会并相信他们,” Katen says. “最终,他们的会计师,他们的银行家和保险经纪人为蒂姆和戴夫而战,他们得到了更多的机会和足够的时间。 他们能够找到一种方法将其拔出并扭转。”40多年后,随着公司的发展和丰富伊利,那些早期盟友的乐观似乎是有先见之明的。 

Dave Mead 和 Tim 卡滕

微型模具’s founders, Dave Mead (left) 和 Tim 卡滕 in 1978. 

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