Prototypes, rapid development at the heart of Minnesota Rubber & Plastics’ expansion
Anaheim, California – Injection moulder Quadion LLC, trading as Minnesota Rubber and Plastics, is building a 9,000 square foot innovation center to design, build and test prototypes next to the company’s headquarters in Plymouth, Minnesota.
The center’s focus is on growing the company’s medical business to more than half of total sales, Don Bonitati, global medical market director, told Plastics News at MD&M West 2021 in Anaheim.
Medical projects currently account for 37 percent of the total turnover of the thermoplastic and elastomer processor, including liquid silicone rubber.
“We are going through a lot of the strategic initiatives we launched a few years ago, and it really makes a difference,” he said.
New business accounts for about 40-45 percent of total sales, Bonitati said.
The company assumes that the groundbreaking will take place this fall and the center will go into operation in spring 2022.
By investing in new skills and improving response time, the center “will really change the way we do business and interact with customers,” said Bonitati, “especially when we work with people early on in the development.” this into the commercial product. “
The company had previously outsourced much of its prototyping, he said. But customers “can’t wait” three to four weeks for prototypes.
When the center is ready, Minnesota Rubber and Plastics will be able to turn a prototype in a week, Bonitati said.
“As a custom moulder who does many things that are unique to everyone out there in the marketplace and have the ability to formulate materials, [customers] I’m really looking forward to getting started, “he said.
The innovation center will include its own tool shop, compression molding and secondary operations room adjacent to the company’s corporate headquarters, which will house the advanced materials, tooling, and product and process engineers group.
“The idea is to have the latest technology … that is comparable to what we have in production,” said Bonitati. “What we do at the beginning of development can therefore be translated in terms of the process and the tools to scale in order to align ourselves with what we will do for a customer in production.”
Bonitati declined to comment on the cost of building, infrastructure, capabilities, and equipment for the new center, but cited it as substantial.
The center is expected to create six new jobs initially, he said. “As we get things going, there are plans to recruit more support staff,” and some of the company’s current staff will adjust their roles to support the facility.
Now the company is “close to finalizing the design of the outdoor structure” and “all contract approvals are in place”.
“It’s just about stepping on the ground and making progress,” said Bonitati.
New and existing customers can join the process in person or online, according to a press release on August 9th.
“We’re excited to show the industry how bringing these processes together under one roof will shorten the component development process by weeks, resulting in unrivaled production-ready prototyping speeds,” said CEO Jay Ward in the press release.
“Our customers have told us that they urgently need their partners to get their new products to market faster,” said Ward.