Operating in high-volume, fast-cycle-time markets such as hospital and homecare products, where shipments are sent daily, Medline Industries Inc. (Mundelein, IL) takes its responsibility to customers very seriously. The manufacturer of medical/hospital supplies (think medicine cups and washbasins) has found that partnering with its suppliers is critical to its success. Jack Maze, VP of manufacturing at Medline’s Dynacor Div., says his relationship with mold manufacturer StackTeck Systems Ltd. (Brampton, ON), molding machinery maker Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. (Bolton, ON), and CBW Automation (Fort Collins, CO) began more than a decade ago.
Every project begins with a cycle objective, Maze explains. The objective in the 1000-ton press was 5 seconds. StackTeck and Husky engineering teams examined the required parameters of the molding machine to see if, in fact, they could get to the cycle rate Maze required.
The automation of the project involved CBW, which participated early in the development and worked collaboratively with StackTeck and Husky to ensure that the automation could support the cycle goal. “To get in, grab the parts, and get out in 0.5 second or less requires special equipment and integration,” says Jim Overbeeke, VP sales for CBW.
Partnerships like that of Medline, Husky, StackTeck, and CBW don’t develop overnight. The three suppliers have worked together for many years with a variety of customers. A level of trust has been achieved that doesn’t often happen when different suppliers are called upon to work together only intermittently during a program. “There’s a lot we can do in a partnership situation with a good working relationship,” says Tustin. “Everyone has to trust everyone else.”