PPE – The Sudden Need for Personal Protective Equipment
2020 will go down in the record books for many things. Besides the ongoing fight to eradicate COVID-19, we’re hoping this year has opened our eyes, as Americans, to how vulnerable we are. Our free market mindset makes us the most powerful country in the world, and the internet enables us to scale many products and services globally. There will always be a company in another country that can do it cheaper, but truly, it is not the same as making it in America.
Just like a virus, the outsourcing mentality exposes our weaknesses. We lose control of design, innovation, and most importantly deliverability. We at Toth Mold/Die Inc. have been making products for all types of companies, big, small… All the way down to the solopreneur inventors. Since 1982, our family owned business is known as the “Go-To” or the “One-Stop Shop” for all your injection molding needs.
As this virus kept spreading throughout the world, we knew it would be a tough road for us Americans. Fortunately, we have the resources to take control of this virus and attack it by shifting manufacturing back to the U.S.A. Since March 2020, we have been a part of this transition. Yes we are a small shop and can only handle so much, but consulting for other manufacturers and companies, is becoming one of our strongest assets. You’re seeing breweries making hand sanitizer, clothing companies making masks and gowns, others are focusing on face shields, headgear, ventilator parts and testing. If you would like to switch gears and convert your operations to make PPE due to COVID-19, there are a number of things to consider.
What is involved in an injection molding start up – many factors go into it such as:
- Injection Molding Machines
- Accessory Machinery such as dryers, hot water unit, chiller, conveyor, water tower for cooling, etc
- Experienced Injection Molding Processor
- Knowledge of thermoplastic materials
- Quality Control Department
- Is assembly involved or will it be outsourced
- Custom or bulk packaging etc
- Marketing – Where is the marketplace, attention of buyers, content, assets and platforms etc
Of course the technology of 3D printing is relevant in this conversation, but realistically *it can take up to 3.5 hours for a 3D printer to produce one piece of headgear. Comparably, injection molding can construct a face shield in 22.8 seconds, or 550 pieces of equipment at the same time a 3D printer produces only one item (*source). Our consulting services can help your business make this production transition.
Toth Mold/Die Inc. has a wealth of knowledge in all aspects of injection molding
- Product Design & Development
- Design Molds
- Building Molds
- Debugging Molds
- Production of Molded Parts
- One-Stop Shop
We have an in-depth blog documenting many of our injection molding experiences highlighting some product troubleshooting, challenges, techniques and customer stories. Our most recent posts are: (links below)
- Injection Molded Filter
- Remedies of Part Shrinkage
- Important Key to a Successful Injection Molding Company
- More Simple Fixes to Injection Molding Problems
- Injection Molding Challenges – Insert Overmolding
- Injection Molding for Inventors
Currently, we are seeing new injection molding technologies emerge. In particular, the testing swabs that were previously produced on specialized, proprietary equipment in limited supply can now be produced on injection molding machines which is helping to meet the demands of communities around the country. In late March, General Motors Corporation, and Ford Motor Company shut down car production and redeployed their Detroit factories to produce ventilators. GM also partnered with other companies to create face masks which required modeling and custom tooling. Boeing is another company that produced face shields for healthcare workers using 3D printing technologies. Another manufacturer made a durable, reusable face shield with additive manufacturing. When the demand spiked, they shifted their production to injection molding. The end result was high quality, reusable face shields at a competitive price. Three days of development, 55% decrease in production cost, and 8x increase in production capacity.
One thing we have learned in business is not to be complacent. We are always actively challenging ourselves, especially when other shops say it can’t be done. In times like these, it’s an opportunity to rethink or re-imagine your business; keeping people motivated and employed for the greater good of the company and our country.
There are a lot of steps involved in making the transition to serving the PPE needs of Americans, but partnering with us can help streamline the product design, building of the molds and development. It’s always better to have a “One-Stop Shop” to achieve your business goals.
Please reach out to us by filling out the form below. We look forward to starting a conversation around your needs.