Department Profile – Process Technicians

Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the mobility industry, believes that “Building an exceptional company is the result of building exceptional teams with exceptional people.” Today continues a series of articles profiling Team 1 Plastics’ teams – its Departments. Meet the Process Technicians Department.

Name of Department: Process Technicians

The Process Technicians consists of two Team Members, Derrick Gobel and Terry Elliott. Derrick is assigned to the Day shift while Terry is the night-shift Process Technician. Their main responsibility is to troubleshoot and solve any production process issues so that the injection mold machine presses continue to produce good quality parts.

How does your Department support Team 1’s Customers? Ensuring that all of the 27 injection molding presses at Team 1 Plastics are constantly producing good quality parts is how the Process Technicians support Team 1’s customers.

How does your Department support Team 1? The Process Technicians work closely with several other departments in problem solving of robotics and injection molding processes. When a quality issue arises, they find the root cause of the issue, often working with the Maintenance and Engineering Departments. Once the root cause is identified, they discuss ideas to solve the issue. The Process Technicians then implement the solution which might include tasks such as programming robotics, adjusting the current production process, creating new processes, or helping process trials as needed.

The Process Technicians occasionally fill in for other positions, such as Captains or Material Handlers, when those Team Members are not available.

Describe a typical work day in your Department. The Process Technicians begin their work shift by checking the Hot Board for notes informing them about issues that were encountered by the previous shift. They then walk the production floor, checking the parts that are running on each injection molding press. They take notice of which machines are not currently running and the reasons why they are not running. It is not an issue of concern if a press is down for scheduled maintenance. However, any presses down for other reasons will be a focus of the Process Technicians for that day. They meet with the shift’s Die Setter and Captain to discuss the current issues and prioritize the work. Then, the Process Technicians began attacking the problems, starting with the highest priority issue.

Not all work days require a full shift of problem solving. That’s when the Process Technicians can work on projects such as 5S improvement and updating Set-Up guides.

Share an example of a problem/challenge that your Department encountered and how you solved it. Team 1 Plastics was experiencing a quality issue on a lens part. The robotic cutting fixture was not cutting the part correctly if the part was not perfectly aligned when it was extracted from the injection molding press, leaving excess plastic on the lens.

The solution that the Process Technicians implemented was that if a part is misaligned when it comes out of the press, the cutting fixture does not send a signal to cut the part, and the part is automatically rejected. If the part comes out inline, the cutting fixture will perform the cut. This solution has helped ensured that only quality parts are sent to the customer.

What is One Noteworthy Accomplishment by your Department in the recent past? As part of its focus of continuous improvement in all aspects of the company, Team 1 Plastics has been moving production of some of its parts to different presses so that the parts can run on more than just one press, providing flexibility and efficiency in scheduling production work. The Process Technicians have been very involved in assisting with this project, which is similar to the start up of a new part because it involves customer approval, PPAP (Production Part Approval Process), and trial runs.

What are the Current Goals for your Department? The goals for the Process Technicians are to help prevent machine downtime and scrap and to assist and improve the all-around production and work environment.

As mentioned previously, they are working on implementing 5S. According to Wikipedia, “5S is a workplace organization method that uses a list of five Japanese words: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. These have been translated as “Sort”, “Set In Order”, “Shine”, “Standardize,” and “Sustain” – basically “having a spot for everything, and everything in its spot.”

The Process Technicians are also working on improving Team 1’s detection of short shots. (A short shot is the incomplete filling of a mold cavity which results in the production of an incomplete part.) Team 1 has recently installed a new state-of-the-art camera system at one of its presses as a tool to help detect short shots.

What does your Department take pride in? Simply put: Keeping quality products flowing.

Department’s Random Poll: Are you a Star Trek or Star Wars Fan?
           Star Trek
    2     Star Wars
           Sci-fi Yuck!

Contact Info

927 Elliott Road
Albion, Michigan 49224-9506

Phone: (517) 629-2178