PLANT TOUR SYNOPSIS: R E I F F I N J E C T I O N M O L D I N G, S P O K A N E W A . 1 7 J A N U A R Y 2 0 0 7 Society of Manufacturing Engineers Inland Northwest Chapter 248 • Spokane, Washington INDEX TERMS: Thermoplastics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Thermoplastic Injection Molding http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ injection_molding Hot Stamping Ultrasonic Welding http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Ultrasonic_welding Figure 1 —SME Chapter 248 member and Reiff Injection Molding owner Jim McCall explains operation of the company’s Cincinnati-Milacron 300 ton x 30 oz. shot plastic injection molder. P L A N T T O U R S Y N O P S I S: REIFF INJECTION Reiff Injection Molding — Success from Adaptation... M OLDING , S P O K A N E Case History/Plant Tour – Spokane, Washington., Jan. 23, 2007 by Dave Davidson. Photos by Ray McDied W A. 1 7 J ANUARY 2 0 0 7 Jim and J. McCall own and operate Reiff Injection Molding Co., a manufacturer of plas- tic injection molded parts originally established in 1979 in Walla Walla, WA. The com- Inland NW Chapter 248 Contacts: pany moved to Spokane, WA in 1999 and recently moved from its University Road op- eration to larger facilities located at 131 N. Pittsburg close to the Altamont exit on I-90. Vice Chair: Tony Wisniewski The company runs four different plastic Chair-Elect: Douglas McGuire injection molding machines, and manu- Treasurer: Robert Ladd factures parts for a variety of industries including the medical, telecom, irriga- Secretary: Dean Croskey tion and recreation industries. Newsletter: Dan Tabish Challenges: Like many American Webmaster: Matt Feider manufacturers, Reiff has faced serious http://chapters/sme.org/248 challenges due to the outsourcing of products overseas. The company faced 2007 Chair: David A. Davidson a severe test when one of its major cus- Deburring/Surface Finish tomers, a subsidiary of a Fortune 500 firm decided it was going to start out- Specialist sourcing product from India. This Reiff Molding has developed unusually close VoiceMail: (509)-230-6821 change was particularly unsettling as it relationships with customers and provides in- (e): email@example.com would mean not only loss of one of the house custom engineering and specially tai- companys largest customers, but the lored production and inventory programs that www.deburringsolutions.com facility in which the company operated. anticipates customer needs and requirements.
Plant tour synopsis: Reiff Injection Molding, SME Chapter 248 Spokane Wa. 17 January 2007 D. A. Davidson [ed.] Plant Tours — Collaborative opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas for manufacturing, services and lean process implementation... PAGE 2 (Cont’d from p. 1) but the loss of the company facilities as well, as the large customer had been providing facili- ties for the plastic injection molding operation for its own convenience. The company has not only survived but has success- fully expanded its business through utilizing its internal strengths to provide exceptional customer service that competitors find difficult to duplicate. As a family busi- ness, father Jim McCall has a strong process and op- erations background working with Whirlpool Corpora- tion in Michigan after receiving a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Michigan. Son, J. McCall, has a strong plastic materials background with a degree from Western Washington University. To- gether, they are in a position to not only offer manufac- turing services but custom engineering development and materials selection advice to customers who need this kind of process development assistance to take parts from prints in the design stage and turn them into reality. They have locked in customer relationships notFigure 3 — SME Chapter 248 members listen as owners Jim and Jay only by being a manufacturing source for plastic moldedMcCall explain their operation as well as the basic principles involved products, but by also being a design and engineeringin transforming thermoplastic granular feedstock used as the basic raw resource to customers who have new product in thematerial into molded products by carefully controlled heat and pressure formative stage. They are especially adept at assisting customers in modifying or tweaking original designs in such a way to make actual production operations more practical, feasible and cost efficient. As an example of this, Jim McCall, explained an espe- cially challenging design and operational problem the company had been faced with recently involving “puffer nozzles”. This molded component is part of a sophisti- cated quality assurance system used in the food and produce industry. As items are passed down the length of an inspection conveyor they are analyzed by an opti- cal/video system which can identify defective or non- conforming items. Once an identification has been made the system will remove the offending item from the production stream by actuating the “puffer nozzle” which then directs a “puff” or “blast” of high velocity air at the defective piece as it comes off the conveyor, seg- regating it from acceptable product. The “puffer noz- zle” is a challenging product for the plastic injection molding process where products are typically designed with a specific taper to promote ease of ejection from the mold at the end of the injection cycle. On this partFigure 4 — Plastic Injection Molding cell at Reiff Injection Molding the internal orifice had to be designed with a taper op-Inc., plant tour attendees watch as Jim and J. McCall explain opera- posite to that which would be normal for ejection pur-tions of the four machines in the cell including: (1) BOY 25 Ton x 1 oz. poses in order to produce sufficient velocity in the air(2) Toshiba 85 &on x 3.2 oz. (3) Toshiba 190 Ton x 10 oz. (4) Cincin- puff used to remove the piece from the conveyornati-Milacron 300 Ton x 30 oz stream.
Plant tour synopsis: Reiff Injection Molding, SME Chapter 248 Spokane Wa. 17 January 2007 D. A. DAVIDSON (ED.) Reiff Injection Molding —Success from extensive process technology knowledge coupled with customer need anticipation PAGE 3 Customer Service: The other weapon in Reiff’s arsenal is customer service that goes the extra mile after the parts have moved from the design stage and into production stage. Marilyn McCall manages office operations and closely monitors customer needs. The company has developed such close relationships with customers that it provides what the Wall Street Journal has re- cently described as the next level of customer service — not just meeting customer needs and desires, but in some cases — anticipating them. The company has also carved out a special niche strategy in that it avoids becoming a com- modity supplier, but focuses its attention on cus- tomers who need the kind of quick response for shorter runs of parts that have become Reiff’s specialty. The company has also recently ac- quired marketing rights to one of its major prod- uct lines “The Gripper Caddy” (shown in the pic-Figure 5 — J. McCall explains operation of the computer controls on the com- ture on page 1)pany’s TOSHIBA 190 Ton x 10 oz. injection molding machine to Jeff Dorner- The Reiff success story then is a combinationberg, an associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Dept. at Eastern of highly effective customer assistance at theWashington University. The university located in Cheney, WA. was a recipient design and engineering level coupled with out-of an SME Education Foundation grant ($220,000.00) used in the construction standing responsiveness to customer needs onceof it’s new computer science facility. part production has begun. ? Plant Tours: cross-pollination opportunities: SME and SME chapters have a strong tradition of arranging plant tours for members to view opera- tions in a wide cross section of industry and busi- ness. Recently this concept was taken to the next level when SME arranged for COLLABORATE 2006 an event designed to draw attendees from across industry to share ideas on everything from new manufacturing techniques to lean implemen- tation. Participants included representatives from Toyota, Daimler, Lockheed, Northrop, Ford, the Army and others. In addition to attending technical and networking sessions, pLant tours of Siemens Electronics and Boeing Delta RocketFigure 6 — The plastic injection molding cell at Reiff Molding includes four assembly facilities were offered.different injection molding machines of varying capacities. The smallest ma- NEXT TOUR: 6:00 PM February 23, 2007chine is a 25 ton x 1 oz, where as the largest is rated for 300 ton x 30 oz. The “Lean” Plant Tour, MacKay Manufacturing, Spo-first figure is a reference to the amount of force the screw mechanism is capa- kane WA.. With the Inland Northwest Lean Man-ble of exerting when pressing the mold segments together. The second figure agement Consortium. Details to followrefers to the maximum amount of raw plastic material that can be injected.