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PLI Case Study

PLI Fabrication Adds New Converting Capabilities, Transforming Company Capacity and Performance

Challenge, Solution, Throughput

Founded in Atlanta, Ga, in 1972, PLI is a leading converter/manufacturer of foams, nonwovens, foils, films, specialty materials, and fabrics. The company puts a priority on building long-term partnerships through exceptional service to their customers.  

When one of those customers approached PLI with a sizable automotive converting project, it was a golden opportunity to break into a new market. However, taking on the work first meant acquiring the right machine to provide a new service.

Challenge

A plastic injection molding company specializing in automotive parts landed a sizable contract with a major automaker. Given PLI’s prior record of great service, the company wanted to entrust them with a critical step: manufacturing double-sided adhesive for the back of body side moldings – those protective strips on car doors that also provide aesthetic flair.

Jon Campbell
Jon Campbell, Vice President of Operations

“It was a capability we had been wanting to add, but we just couldn’t figure out a good way to break into the market,” recalls Jon Campbell, PLI Vice President of Operations.

Now PLI had a chance to do that. But the big break came with a significant challenge: Find the high-speed rotary press machine to acquire AND the right company behind the machine, one with the expertise and customer support to help PLI get up to speed as quickly as possible.

Solution

After exploring a number of options, PLI ultimately decided to go with a Delta ModTech machine. With specific features such as servo-driven multi-die and nipping capabilities, the new machine enabled PLI to provide the intricate converting capabilities needed for 3M double-sided tape strips.

For example, including tabs on the adhesive release liners would give operators – often clad in gloves – the ability to easily pull off the liner strips, thereby enabling them to apply the body side moldings faster.

“Creating those tabs can be extremely difficult, especially because they can’t touch any adhesive. But we worked with the Delta team to make sure we could do it effectively, ” says Jon.

In fact, working in conjunction with the Delta ModTech team enabled PLI to improve upon the original process. For instance, instead of creating individual tape strips, PLI was able to place the tape kiss-cut on rolls with gaps. That allowed operators to conveniently pull strips right off the roll with the adhesive exposed – no tab required. 

Throughput

PLI’s initial success in providing converting services for automotive body side moldings ultimately led to a cascade of new opportunities. 

“There are so many injection molded automotive parts that require double-sided tape,” explains Jon. “We now were able to go after a whole new market because of the Delta ModTech machine and the success we were having with it.” 

That momentum continued into other industries as well, such as military, consumer electronics, and EV batteries. And Jon says that with more and more project work also came the ability to show more impressive product examples to potential customers. “Companies began looking at us differently, and we felt we were more in the game.”

Ultimately, by combining their old school, service-focused approach with the cutting-edge capabilities of the Delta ModTech machine, Jon says PLI has elevated their overall company performance.  

Without Delta, I can say for sure, we would’ve never gotten some of the big accounts that we have today.

Jon Campbell, Vice President of Operations

“Without Delta, I can say for sure, we would’ve never gotten some of the big accounts that we have today. We just wouldn’t have had the capability or the expertise that we’ve learned from them.”

In fact, PLI’s success with their original Delta ModTech machine has led them to acquire another one. “We’re running three shifts all the time on that machine. Our new Delta machine will allow more capacity and even more capabilities,” Jon says.


OVERCOME YOUR BIGGEST CONVERTING AND PACKAGING CHALLENGES