Team 1 Plastics Produces Parts for John Deere Filter

Producing precision plastic parts for a riding lawn tractor is a new venture for Team 1 Plastics, a company that has historically been automotive focused – and yet, it seems very familiar.

The use of plastics parts in the automobile of the future is unknown, and Team 1 Plastics wanted to position itself for changes that are coming. In mid-2017, Team 1 Plastics made a corporate decision to expand its focus from being strictly automotive to a wider focus that includes all of the transportation industry. Dave Biondo, Sales Development Manager for Team 1 Plastics, said that the company has “identified the transportation industry as a future growth and diversification strategy. Our main strategy is working through Tier 1 customers that have both automotive and non-automotive business, such as transportation industry work.”

One such Tier 1 customer is MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters, LLC, inventor of the oil filter in 1923. According to its website. “Purolator products are engineered and manufactured with the rigor of original equipment quality control processes, global manufacturing best practices, and leading-edge technology and innovation.”

Team 1 Plastics already had a relationship with Purolator, supplying automotive components to the company. When Purolator was asked by John Deere to help them make an oil filter (Model #AUC12916) for their E100 Series of riding lawn tractors, Purolator asked Team 1 Plastics for bids on the project. Biondo said that Team 1 Plastics was awarded two parts on the project, a spacer plate and a by-pass cap.

Team 1 Plastics’ Assembly Department was also awarded a new assembly job that uses the by-pass cap produced by Team 1 and a purchased rubber o-ring. Biondo said, “Purolator originally planned to assemble the rubber o-ring to the by-pass cap in-house. However, it was decided that it was more economical and efficient to have Team 1 install the o-ring and then ship the assembled parts to them.”

The John Deere oil filter project contained important firsts for both Purolator and Team 1 Plastics. For Purolator, it was the company’s first project with John Deere. For Team 1 Plastics, these two parts were the first non-automotive plastic components the company would make since it made the decision to widen its focus to the transportation industry.

It was a new venture for Team 1, and, yet, it seemed familiar. Dave Seedorf, Engineering Manager for Team 1 Plastics, explained. “We faced the same challenges that we would when building automotive parts. The spacer plate is a very complex part design and has many different and complex GD&T (Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing) while the design of the by-pass cap is fairly simple.  I think the challenges that exist are the same whether it be automotive or non-automotive.”

Seedorf said that the project kicked off as normal. Team 1 Plastics received the Purchase Order (PO) from Purolator and worked with their toolmakers to make molds for the two parts.

According to Seedorf, the work for the by-pass cap went very smoothly. The work on the spacer plate was progressing well and then some challenges surrounding the complex dimensions of the part began to be experienced. While the companies were still working through the challenges, Team 1 Plastics received orders to begin producing large quantities of parts – even though PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) had not been completed. Seedorf said that this timing was surprising. “The customer was expecting to go into production based on our committed PPAP time. Typically with automotive, that’s not the case. There’s usually some lag time from PPAP approval to the beginning of production.”

Team 1 Plastics immediately began production of the spacer plate, the by-pass cap, and the by-pass cap assembly, building up enough inventory to be able to meet the customer’s needs, and in turn, help John Deere produce its Model #AUC12916 oil filter, which has, according to John Deere’s website, revolutionized oil changes with the John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System. “Now you can change your oil in 30 seconds. This new system features increased oil capacity, improved filter media, and increased filtering capacity to help ensure long engine life. Never drain your oil again with the John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System.”

For Team 1 Plastics, its first venture into supplying parts for the transportation industry was a success. “This was an important first project with John Deere for Purolator,” Biondo said. “Timing was tight, and Team 1 worked with Purolator to launch successfully on time.”

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