Achieved 50% reduction in piece part price, 100% elimination of ten years of persistent quality issues by re-shoring manufacturing to Wisconsin.
iMARK was approached by a potential customer experiencing quality issues with a persistent leak in a hydrophobic and oleophobic filter on the cap of a nutritional feeding bottle. This filter was very delicate but needed to contain the contents of the bottle but also act as an air vent to prevent collapse of the bottle when in use. Any leakage of the bottle contents was not acceptable due to bacterial concerns. The leak was a major quality issue that dramatically increased costs during the product’s ten years of production in Puerto Rico and one of the largest molders in the world could not solve this problem during those ten years.
iMARK quickly identified the ultrasonic welding process used to attach and seal the filter to the injection molded cap as root cause of the leakage. The original design of the ultrasonic weld horn had a flat face causing separation of the filter fibers and ultimately causing the filter to leak. The ultrasonic welding of the very delicate, tissue-like, “glass fiber sprayed on hemp layer” filter to an injection molded Cap made of Elvax material was most certainly a challenging proposition. An innovative tooling and ultrasonic weld process would be necessary to avoid straining and separating the filter fibers. With limited help from the ultrasonic weld equipment vendor, iMARK developed and optimized new tooling and process in approximately six months. A proprietary horn design and process developed by iMARK gathered the fibers instead of flattening and separating them. Our process development and optimization process also identified the need to incorporate an automated, brush cleaning system to clean the bottom of the horn every cycle.
With the leakage problem solved and a robust ultrasonic welding process in place iMARK then developed and optimized three sixteen cavity molds and a fully automated Cap Assembly work cell complete with 100% leak testing of every welded Cap and Filter Assembly. The automation cell included the die cut of the filter, visual acquisition and orientation of the cap, placement of the filter on the cap, ultrasonic weld process, and leak testing of every completed assembly with assembly rejection capability. By removing human intervention the automation cell also substantially increased the cleanliness of the finished assembly. As a result this white room molding and assembly work cell eliminated the need for an ETO sterilization process saving the customer $500,000 a year just in sterilization costs. Overall the customer’s costs were significantly reduced through the elimination of labor and processes while dramatically increasing product quality.
The results of this project is one of the greatest part cost savings and quality improvement success stories in iMARK’s history. By re-shoring this project, iMARK was able to manufacture the assembly for ½ the price in Wisconsin versus production costs in Puerto Rico. This move saved the customer over 5 million dollars in a little over seven years. iMARK shipped over 60 million parts defect free.
Due to this projects success iMARK was awarded and developed the next generation assembly that also included multi-cavity tooling and fully automated assembly.
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