It can be very liberating, as well as economical, to ask for expert support and shift the ownership of time-consuming technical tasks. Particularly intricate assemblies, finishing and bespoke printing jobs that are so critical for branding and component performance.
For OEMs looking to rationalise their plastic manufacturing supplier base, minimise their risk exposure and manage real time stock logistics, switching from multiple vendors to one domestic production partner that can handle every associated production service offers greater agility. Citing the tangible cost savings and enhanced product quality as a key rationale, many entrepreneurial companies served by Broanmain Plastics entrust the company’s dedicated specialist team to handle all moulding and after-moulding assembly and component decoration requirements. Monika Siakala, manager of Broanmain’s finishing shop, stores and despatch team explains why this value-add service is so highly regarded.
Of all the thousands of technical components moulded on site at Broanmain, over 30 percent require some form of specialist finishing estimates Monika. Comprising the machining of parts, drilling, de-flushing, electronic device shielding, pad printing, chrome or coloured plating, serial laser marking, inserting and high-quality reaming, whatever a customer requires there’s a high probability that Broanmain has professional machines and skills on site to do it.
In fact, Broanmain’s growing Assembly and Finishing team has got so busy, they continue to increase their workforce and have been assigned a dedicated space featuring a humidity, dust and temperature controlled room.
The technical aspects of the teams’ work is never underplayed. Applying inserts at temperatures of +400° requires the highest level of concentration. Pad printing involves working with solvents and inks that must be handled with extreme care. The operatives are fully trained on all aspects ensuring ensure full adherence to the latest safety guidance.
Having invested in a range of new inserters, drills and machining tools, Broanmain’s finishing workshop is more extensive than most affirms Monika. However, outsourcing finishing and assembly doesn’t mean relinquishing total control of the final component.
In many ways, Broanmain considers itself to be a natural extension of an OEMs in-house engineering team. They have robust service level agreements and always keep customers informed of all the latest techniques and finishing options. “Not only do we have an extensive range of equipment, Broanmain also has carefully controlled processes, quality checks and Kanban monitoring to maintain consistent product integrity,” comments Monika. A first off sample is checked in every production run, no matter how large or small.
This collaborative spirit extends right across the business, from moulding to despatch. It is one of the primary attributes that contributes to the company’s average 95 percent on time delivery (OTD) performance. “Given the multiple processes involved, having oversight of the entire production cycle helps to ensure that all the elements sync up and are optimised,” adds Monika.
Although automation is becoming more commonplace in plastic processing environments, the diversity of products that go through Broanmain’s finishing department means some processes, pad printing and inserts, are often best performed manually. Pad printing is a good example, exclaims Monika. “Operatives are often better placed to respond to the sensitivity of the inks and can perform a vital quality check as components are loaded in and removed from the machine. That said, tools like our CNC milling machine and profile projector do speed up and improve the accuracy of other finishing and quality control tasks.”
For a fixed fee, Broanmain customers value having access to a greater range of product and supply solutions. “Because everything is handled under one roof, customers don’t have the additional tactical purchasing headaches that they would incur if they outsourced assembly and finishing to another supplier or bought it in-house,” notes Monika.
International energy management firm Trend Control Systems, part of the Honeywell Group of companies, has entrusted Broanmain to mould and print terminal information onto a range of their products for over seven years. Made to order, mostly with a two-day lead time, the finishing team insert micro switches and print the terminal information onto units in numerous colours and formats.
Additionally, the technical moulder monitors stock levels for Trend using Reorder Point Planning to replenish components and despatch ready-prepared assembly cases at least twice a week.
“The Broanmain team has a great work ethic. It helps having such a proactive moulding supplier on our doorstep that can turnaround components with such a short lead time,” comments Peter Light, Supplier Development Engineer at Trend Control Systems.