Before you select LP&P as your partner, you will want to understand how they manage product development and program management.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
LP&P utilizes mature, experienced managers to drive its R&D efforts in plating, injection molding, and plastics. These efforts involve both internal projects, focused on new or improved processing techniques that can expand LP&P’s capabilities & product offerings, and external projects, partnered with customers on a specific advanced-product. In both cases, cost-effect techniques are used to reach a decision-point that will allow both LP&P and its customers to have enough specific details to fully analyze the choices before them.
LP&P’s quoting is headed by an individual with experience in numerous manufacturing processes. A strong knowledge-base is possessed in areas such as tooling needs, packaging requirements, financial ‘break-downs’, long-distance freight & transportation issues, and other related manufacturing aspects. This knowledge base allows LP&P to not only understand what you are asking for, but to also assess the capability to meet your needs with alternative processing techniques, possibly finding a better performance-to-cost ‘fit’.
The program management system Lapeer Plating & Plastics utilizes is an AIAG-compliant APQP process, with management reviews set at specific milestones along the way. Timelines are created and managed using computer-driven packages. Assistance to your specific program manager at LP&P is provided through a matrix of people with expertise in related disciplines, such as tool manufacturing and design. LP&P’s Program Managers focus on achieving a timely, successful launch of your product.
While working with Lapeer Plating & Plastics, mistakes can be avoided when the parties involve know the best way to do something. This is often referred to as “Lessons Learned”. Lapeer Plating & Plastics strives to catalog this type of detail so that those involved in the up-front aspects of a program, even to the point of quoting, can access the detail and utilize it to achieve better results. The intent is to nurture a culture of continuous improvement through documentation and communication.
DESIGN & MANUFACTURING
Lapeer Plating & Plastics utilizes CAD systems in its tool and product development. Both CATIA and UG are ‘native’ to LP&P, with others means available for translation, if needed. Additionally, our tool shop resources have an expanded offering of software packages at their disposal.
We use Moldflow and other tool design tools to understand the best approach to producing your parts. Moldflow analysis can be used to pin-point design issues before any metal is cut for your mold preventing potential problems before they occur thus saving time and money. A similar computer-aided tool is utilized for the plating tool design, where required.
Plating racks are a key element in the successful launch of your product. Each rack must be designed to properly present the part into the plating system to best achieve the performance levels you require. Often, parts must be tipped at an angle, spaced further apart, or re-designed on their backside surfaces to achieve the best results. Computer-aided systems can be utilized to avoid the timing issues and costs related to extensive prototyping efforts.
Painting, hot-stamping, pad-printing and similar other secondary decorating techniques are available to our customers through LP&P. Each process requires specific knowledge and expertise. LP&P possesses decades of experience through its engineers in these areas. This experience level can assist you in reducing the time required to get your product to market, while allowing you to avoid the costs related to ‘mis-steps’ along the way.
While the cosmetic acceptability of our component is often the customers primary focus, the part still needs to fit the balance of the assembly. This often involves the inclusion of gauges and fixtures. Lapeer Plating & Plastics uses several sources for building these items. Design and construction of them is followed by the specific program manager, as well as the tooling expert assigned through our staff’s matrix of expertise.
LP&P has injection molding machines ranging in size from 100T to 1435T. Resins are fed from outside silos. Machines processing acrylic resins are segregated from the others to help promote a contaminant-free environment for the acrylic process.
Processing differs by resin and by application. To develop the best adhesion characteristics for plating, a very consistent chemical balance is needed on the surface. To accomplish this, molds must run hotter than usual, creating slower machine cycles but achieving a process conducive to improved plating performance.
LP&P’s plating system processes both ABS and PC/ABS alloys, non-conductive materials in a process where the part must be conductive. To achieve an acceptable level on conductivity, the parts are taken through a “pre-plate” step.
This involves etching the part surface, then chemically-treating it before applying a thin coating of electro-less copper. This coating then allows a more traditional electroplating cycle to take place on these plastic part surfaces. Different finishes are possible, and can be selected to meet the specific requirements of the given part application. Highly reflective chrome, or a less reflective ‘satin’ finishes are available. Finishes specific to exterior or interior applications are also possible. Finishes specific to higher temperature applications can be programmed, too.
PAINT & ASSEMBLY
Hot stamp foils, pad printing, laser-etching, metalizing and mask-painting are methods used daily to achieve finished selected for a given application. Durable masks can be used to selectively apply paints to the given substrate. Different colors can be applied directly next to each other, if desired, or a space can be left to allow chrome or metallization to show. Your product’s intended environment will impact the selection of the processing technique. Special paints can be applied over a chromed surface, or an acrylic ‘lens’ can be metalized on the back-side (or ‘2nd surface’) and both will achieve a similar ‘look’. LP&P can help assure you get the best performance-to-cost balance.
Assemblies can vary from a very simple 2-piece unit to ones with numerous components in multiple finishes. LPP has the capability to do both. Assembly can be achieved through designed-in snap features, mechanical fasteners, sonic or heat-welding, or tapes and adhesives. LP&P is accomplished in all these methods and can provide design assistance where needed in developing the assembly methods.
All of the engineering expertise mentioned above, would be worthless without a constant connection to the quality expectations of our customers. While the Program Manager involved will convey the customers’ needs to his/her team, there is a member of the team specifically assigned to focus on these throughout the development process. Typically, an advanced document is created to establish the products expected performance levels, along with the related timing aspects. Testing requirements, both for initial acceptance and daily production, are included in this plan.
At Lapeer Plating & Plastics, we specialize in injection molding, ornamentation, molding, plating, plastics, decorative trim, handles, and emblems.