Business, as in life, is usually about trade-offs. The most typical one we see in manufacturing is speed and volume for quality.
But when you’re in the midst of a public health crisis such as COVID-19, that trade-off isn’t an option. Just ask PLITEK, a narrow web contract converter, focused on die cutting services for medical, consumer goods, automotive, and electrical verticals.
As hospitals and emergency departments ran low on personal protection equipment (PPE) such as visors, a number of large manufacturers turned to PLITEK for help. Utilizing Delta ModTech, the company responded quickly to meet the needs of a desperate marketplace.
Challenge: Achieve New Performance Standards Without Sacrificing Quality or Safety
PLITEK is no stranger to the medical industry. Since 1968, they’ve served it faithfully, with speed and quality always being a prerequisite for success. But COVID-19 was pushing them to achieve a new performance level: Their customers needed large volumes, and they needed it right away.
The company didn’t blink.
ALMA LIKIC, Marketing Manager, PLITEK
“For PLITEK engineers, no task is insurmountable. Our company loves to take on challenges.”
The process of manufacturing visors wasn’t the issue. Producing them at such a high volume within a week, however, was a whole different ball game. PLITEK would have to alter its converting process, as well as find a way to acquire the necessary raw materials, now considered “gold” in the midst of a pandemic.
Solution: React Quickly, Ramp up Accordingly
PLITEK started with an initial prototyping process, using their laser and digital die cutting capabilities. Once the prototype was established, they converted to rotary and steel rule die cutting.
While developing the process, PLITEK also established a supply chain to secure the required raw materials, working with vendors and selecting the most suitable / available materials.
Next, they realigned their workforce for 24-hour shifts, ensuring that high quality and safety standards would be maintained.
“The basic transition was to react quickly, deploy existing equipment and engage additional shifts,” Likic said. Simple in theory, but an immense challenge in the face of COVID-19 pressures.
Throughput: Moving From 3,500 Prototypes per Day to 280,000 Visors per Day Using Delta ModTech Crusaders®
Delta ModTech’s modular approach is designed for flexibility. But like any powerful tool, the machine’s success is predicated on the skills of its operator.
“It’s not easy to stop what you’re doing and make a completely different process,” said David Grenwis, Marketing Manager at Delta ModTech. “But PLITEK’s experts are very good at what they do, and they really know how to make the most out of the flexibility of our machines.”
According to Keith Hoffman, PLITEK typically utilizes the Crusader for die to die sync technology, camera registration, island placement, in-line laser cutting, and more to convert multi-layered laminations with high precision tolerances and excellent quality. For this project, they used the die to die sync technology.
“We were able to transition from making 3,500 visors a day on our prototyping equipment to thousands a day using rotary Delta ModTech Crusaders,” Likic said. “Delta equipment was producing 90% of the PPE volume now being delivered to three major customers.”
It’s one thing to meet a manufacturing challenge. It’s quite another when the implications are as profound as this one. It’s why this project has instilled a deeper sense of purpose among the PLITEK team.
“Everyone takes pride in it,” Likic said.
As well they should. PLITEK’s throughput is just what the country needs in a time of crisis. We’re proud and grateful they delivered such impressive results.
“As customer demands continue to get more stringent, it is vital that PLITEK evolves with them. Delta ModTech provides PLITEK with the capability to meet the growing needs in the marketplace through the use of advanced converting techniques within the Crusader presses.” – Keith Hoffman, Operations Manager