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Plastic Manufacturing: Happy 43rd Anniversary ThermoFab!

 Happy 43rd Anniversary!

Its certainly been an interesting road that started 43 years ago on December 1st 1976, when a group of link minded individuals brought ThermoFab to life.  The word evolutionary comes to mind when we look back at how it all started compared to the industry we know today. 

The founders of ThermoFab began their journey squeezed into a what could be considered closet space now and started building plastic enclosures in a time  when the materials used for protecting electrical or mechanical equipment had been made of mostly glass and metal. 

In the 70's plastic became the new frontier for builders of electronics, machinery and much more. In 1976 ThermoFab was working hard to secure their spot on that fast moving train.

In the years ahead they would be greatly challenged and their limits tested,  as one of the first companies to manufacture parts for lottery machines being distributed in the US and Canada.  Sixty plus hour work weeks, at times with no pay, they would establish themselves as an up and coming contender in the rapidly growing plastics industry. Delivering quality materials at a rapid pace. 

Computers had not quite made the move to mainstream businesses so all records were being keep by a type writer with no budget for someone to do the work. Each partner would be accountable for their piece of the business and made it work.THERMO_-172_websize-1

Part designs and plans were all hand drawn and took weeks to complete. The production schedule was in a three ring binder! Forming in extreme temperatures with temperamental machines,  using manual router machines to detail parts, hand packaging all the materials themselves, the ThermoFab team got it done.  They had deadlines to meet and there was very little that could interfere with reaching production goals. 

Those first few years passed in the blink of an eye.  Now 43 years later many things have changed but one remains the same, ThermoFab continues to deliver quality parts with attention to detail and quick turn around.  The lottery machines of yesterday that helped launch ThermoFab's success have since been replaced with hand held devices. As these devices evolved ThermoFab evolved as well moving on from the lottery machines. 

The company would settle into their forever home in 1985, building a company headquarters in Shirley, Ma and continue the adventure of manufacturing plastic enclosures.  Little did they know, the journey that began in 1976  would transition from lottery machines and computer enclosures to producing parts for revolutionary medical devices, flying cameras and robots.

As the founding fathers passed the torch along to new leaders at ThermoFab they took the reins with the power of computer technology behind them and innovation in front of them. The integration of computers into mainstream society in the 80's propelled the company into a new age of manufacturing. Not only for the advancements that came with computer science but also for manufacturing the actual unit enclosures. With that everything became more organized, controlled and parts could be manufactured at an even greater speed. Three dimensional drawings with images and precise dimensions were now received in minutes rather than weeks and more advanced materials became available. 

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With over 40 years of experience, ThermoFab is now producing parts for robots that can perform hip and knee surgery, machines that can transport a living organ, robots that assist in supply management and so much more. Its a long way from a table sized lottery machine. 

We have experienced an unprecedented year of challenges both in the world and on the home front. Challenges that impacted the plastic industry in a  multitude of ways.  As we come to the end of this year the wheel continues to turn and we learn and grown preparing for the future.  When new and improved mechanical advancements that require reliable, durable plastic enclosures will be needed and  ThermoFab will will be there. Staying true to the goal of the founders which is to deliver top quality parts. 

 

 

Plastic Manufacturing: Recognizing  Essential employees of manufacturing During a Global Pandemic

IMG_8939What do you do on Monday morning when you find out the world you once knew has been replaced with one filled with fear and an uncertainty? When a global pandemic arrives at our doorstep what can you do?

You wake up, get dressed, drink that first cup of coffee and go to work!

This was and continues to be the mind set of our team members at ThermoFab.

Hard working, dedicated associates who in spite of all that has taken place this year and continues to be a concern, report for their scheduled shifts everyday. 

When shut downs were ordered and millions where put out of work the question looming was would ThermoFab join so many other companies and have to close their doors?

As fate would have it manufacturing parts for medical devices would secure our company's business through the months ahead and we were deemed an essential business. 

Essential. Needed. A name given to doctors and nurses. People who are on the front lines saving lives are essential right?  How could manufacturing be considered essential. It became apparent not only were we essential for parts we manufacture but the people behind the scenes are essential. Just like grocery workers, truck drivers, and millions of others whos jobs have something our communities cannot be without,  our manufactures fell in line under the title Essential Employee! 

First steps made were to ensure Safety for all.

Everyone received  protective masks to were and temperature checks at all entrances began right away.

Hand sanitizer stations were set up and daily/nightly cleaning, sanitizing of the plant commenced.  Our new way of life began in an instant. 

Everyone embraced all the necessary steps needed to keep each other safe.   

In appreciation for their commitment and continued dedication we wanted to say thank you. Knowing we could not celebrate how we have in the past with a BBQ or buffet luncheon,  we got creative and found a fantastic local pizza place, Pizza Bella, to order individual lunches for everyone enabling us to practice social distancing and keep everyone safe. Menu's were handed out, orders were placed and at lunch time on the dot everyone had their very own personal lunch with their name on the bag! That's a lot of lunches! 

Thank you can go a long way when it comes to showing appreciation. A delicious lunch with sweet treats makes it even nicer. 

THANK YOU THERMOFAB ASSOCITES!!! 

 

 

 

 

Plastic Manufacturing: Big plastics recycling

Serina Arcila | Mon, Jan 06, 20 @ 09:00 AM | custom plastic enclosures

In the continuously growing concern for protecting our planet , Plastics manufacturers like us have to find ways to do their part; to keep harmful plastics out of our oceans and find ways to recycle. 

At ThermoFab we can proudly say we recycle!

Most plastics suffer from a bad reputation because they are often all categorized as single use. 

The plastics used for thermoforming at ThermoFab are not single use and are being recycled. 

We thermo form a majority of the parts from Kydex thermoplastic sheets. This form of polymer PVC has properties which allow for a sustainable life cycle that if combined with internal initiatives lowers the environmental impact greatly.

The formed parts have a life span of 50-70 years.  The "left-overs", or the parts that are cut away are collected to fill 1000 lb bins that are returned to the material supplier. The material supplier then recycles the material into new sheets. The cycle then begins again where it is used to make new parts. The suppliers are also making an impact on their carbon imprint by using sea water and natural gas to reform this multi-use plastic.

The manufacturers of the Kydex material we purchase for our thermoforming process have also found a way to use the extrusion/recycling process to redistribute heat to their facilities during the colder months, cutting down the use of the fuels previously needed to do so greatly. The material is lighter, reducing the cost for transport as well. Whether it be by ground or air the amount of fuel needed is reduced saving thousands upon thousands of trees. At the end of its life cycle the Kydex material is then burned as waste to energy rather than going to a landfill. 

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We return over 80,000 lbs of scrap material annually. 

When it comes to making a difference every little bit helps. 

In addition to helping the planet by recycling what materials we can, we also take pride in knowing some of the parts that are being manufactured are used for medical, industrial and robotics advancements for mankind.  At ThermoFab we form plastic enclosures for biomedical testing, medical imaging machines, and organ transportation devices that are just as important to our planet as recycling is. 

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Follow us on Facebook or Linked in for regular videos and postings about what's happening at ThermoFab. 

Plastic Manufacturing: Recycling the box

Serina Arcila | Mon, Dec 23, 19 @ 08:00 AM | Thermoforming, ThermoFab

What do we do with the box when its empty?

In the the world today recycling is essential and it is important for manufacturing companies to do their part.

This can be difficult and could interfere with production. If not managed correctly it could effect cost or effect the flow of business. When it comes to proper recycling we know the biggest return is making a difference for our planet. 

At ThermoFab we manufacture plastic parts. We have a recycling process for the remnants but we know that's not the only material we can recycle.

We needed to have a process for the packaging material, mainly the corrugated boxes used for shipping and receiving. 

Many people are unaware that when it comes to recycling it is important to have a process in place. The materials need to be sorted, separated and organized. Much like how we separate the trash from recyclables at home.

The process we have implemented is simple. It allows for the best management of man power, time and is an efficient way to fill the container. 

When recycling at a manufacturing company occurs time is a key factor. The used material is stored in a central location and every two weeks a team of 5 to 6 associates loads to container. Staring with large to small, carefully folded they are able to fill a container with just over 1,000.00 lbs or corrugated boxes.  That averages to 24,000 lbs per year!

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You can view additional information about ThermoFab as well as parts we have manufactured if you visit our site at www.thermofab.com . For more information on purchasing or requesting a proposal you can email us at sales@thermofab.com or follow the link Request a Proposal.

ThermoFab Associates celebrate the holidays with the spirit of giving

Spreading Holiday cheer by giving to toys for tots

This year in lieu of buying holiday gifts for each other in the office at ThermoFab our Administrative assistant, Heather suggested buying toys to donate. 

We all had fun on our individual shopping sprees finding lots of fun toys like sleds,dolls, art sets, robots and even a body wash set for the kids a who may be a little older. 

We loaded up the car and drove over to Devens where we were met by two Massachusetts State troopers at the Police barracks who let us in to drop off our donation.

" There is no better investment of time and money than in the life of a child, They are the future.. " - Alma PowellToys for tots

Seasons Greetings from all of us at ThermoFab! 

Check us out at ThermoFab.com 

 

Plastic Manufacturing: Shipping & Protecting Parts

Tips to keeping your parts safe from Dock to Dock.

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 When you order parts you should feel confident that they will arrive in pristine condition. The scariest thing to see when your line is down and you are waiting at the door for your parts to arrive is a damaged package! 

Here are a few things to consider to ensure your parts will travel from point A to point B safety. 

Know your Courier Service. When it comes to a budget large companies often have contract agreements for shipping leaving the choice out of your control, however what's great for one branch may not be so good for another.  It pays to do your research. Common couriers in the industry are Fed-Ex, UPs, DHL Express, but there are also local couriers you can learn from your supplier.

It's important to familiarize yourself with fees and costs that may occur when shipping long distance or overseas. Quantity and weight can affect your delivery costs. Knowing amount of parts that will fit in a package or how much they weigh can make a huge difference if the shipping company charges more for weight. It might work to your advantage if you arrange more boxes with less weight in each box.

Ask the Manufacturer. Sometimes the company you are buying goods from knows the little details about a courier that you may benefit from. They get to know the drivers and vehicles. They can tell you if a company is on time or late. The relationships they build with couriers can be invaluable in times of part shortages or lines down. 

Is local an option- Going local doesn't only apply to your baker or candlestick maker. Choosing a local company can be rewarding with support of your community but also in savings as these companies are competing with the big guys so they will often give you a cheaper cost for shipping. You can also benefit by choosing local because they often cater to the suppliers and will make special arrangements with no additional costs. 

Work out some Guidelines- Packaging is an essential piece of the process when it comes to ensuring the parts will be safe as well. Check with your manufacturer to ensure they have the proper procedures in their shipping department to prepare your parts for a shipment. If you have a preferred amount of parts per case this can be arranged. If you would like minimal tape used or are ok with multiple parts in bags you can easily have these instructions followed by the company. 

At ThermoFab we understand the needs of our customers from our dock to yours. Whether it be simple plastic enclosures or sensitive medical enclosures our shipping team takes time to properly package all your parts. You can view information about ThermoFab at www.thermofab.com . For more information on purchasing or requesting a proposal you can email us at sales@thermofab.com or follow the link Request a Proposal.Shipping packagingTHERMOFAB shippingAndrew packaging partsbox wrapping

 

ThermoFab Associates Volunteer with The United Way!

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24th Annual United Way of North Central Ma "Day of Caring"

 

On September 20th two associates from the ThermoFab team, Donna & Serina volunteered to help with the 24th Annual Day of Caring. A Nationally recognized event with United Way.

The United Way of North Central MA holds their event in September every year. The purpose of this volunteer event is to help a non-profit organization within the community complete a project they may not have the time, money or resources to complete. Day of Caring allows for them to be done in one day by volunteers. These projects range from painting, cleaning, organizing and landscaping to trail clearing and building furniture. 

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It starts with a kick off breakfast where all 350 volunteers gather early in the morning, receive their commemorative T-shirts and celebrate making a difference in the community.

Donna & Serina signed up to help at the local Girl Scout camp where they actually attended as children. They built and refurbished picnic tables while other volunteers at the camp painted the mess hall.The tables came out great and Donna & Serina had fun working with power tools.

It was a beautiful day for being outdoors! At the end of the day all the volunteers met up at a BBQ sponsored by the United Way and had the chance to win raffle prizes donated by sponsors in the community. Donna won a prize too! 

They plan on returning next year to help and hope to have additional co-workers join them for this great cause. 

" Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, They just have the Heart" - Elizabeth Andrews

Check us out at ThermoFab.com 

 

DFM Design For Manufacturing

Design manufacturing tips to Consider before tooling

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Design for Manufacturing or DFM is an essential process in the manufacturing world. The actual drawing of the part or product has to be in line with good manufacturing principles for the process to work. Below are some basic tips to consider before tooling begins to save time and money. 

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Parts & colors: Choose the ideal combination between the material and manufacturing process that will minimize production costs. Stay away from expensive and labor intensive final operations with painting, polishing and finish machining. Tight tolerances can be difficult to manage.  Keeping flexibility in tolerance prohibits interruptions in manufacturing. . Manage the size and functionality. Designing multi-functional parts can save on tooling costs. This is an easy way to lower the total number of parts and design parts with more than one function. 

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Keep it simple: Consolidate parts when possible. You will save time in manufacturing as well as shipping. Design your product to join without using screws, fasteners or adhesives. Is it possible for your product to interlock? If fasteners are required, try to keep the size, number and type to a minimum and use standard fasteners whenever possible to reduce added material cost and labor time. 

Click here to download insert specs that ThermoFab recommends.

Consider thermoforming for smaller part quantities. You wouldn't want to use highly-capitalized process like injection molding which involves building of tools and dies to make a low-volume part that could have been manufactured using a lower-capitalized method, such as thermoforming.

Tool-making is one of the most critical and expensive items on the manufacturing to-do list. And because your tool is the basis of your part or product, every decision you make about how your tool is made is, by default, a decision about the quality of your product.

We can build a prototype before tooling allowing you to work out the details before a tool is made.  Designing for manufacturing allows changes to be executed quickly, early in the process saving money in the long run. 

At ThermoFab we are here to work with you through DFM to get your product design perfected and to market quickly.

Request a proposal today or check out our design guide for step by step assistance. You can also reach us at sales@thermofab.com

Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn for videos and information about ThermoFab.

Medical Plastic Enclosure: Technological advancements in medicine.

Serina Arcila | Tue, Aug 27, 19 @ 08:52 AM

OCS Organ Care System

Thermofab team member works on lung enclosureThermoFab team member holds up lung enclosureIn the rapidly growing world of medical advancements Thermofab is proud to be part of this progress.

The OCS Organ Care System is a medical transportation unit used to bring a living organ from one location to another. Its purpose is to keep that organ warm with blood flow while it travels thousands of miles to reach its destination and help save lives. Transplant organs have always been transported in coolers on ice. Though this method has seen many successes, the tissue is in danger if the time the organs are placed in the cooler exceeds 6 hours. The OCS can now double the time an organ can be in transport.

OCSWhen considering the components for a transportation device for a living organ, every nook and cranny of the device needs to be carefully considered and manufactured to ensure the organ will be safe and make it from the donor to the person whose life is depending on it.

The enclosures are pressure formed from a clear poly-carbonate that enables visual monitoring of the organ being transported. Each cover is prepared in a clean room booth before being packaged. Medical devices such as these require specific sanitary handling.

With years of training and skills to handle specialty parts like the OCS cover our team dons white gloves to carefully handle and inspect each part and adds the final touches before shipping.

You can view additional medical enclosure designs as well as other parts we have manufactured if you visit our site at www.thermofab.com . For more information on purchasing or requesting a proposal you can email us at sales@thermofab.com or follow the link Request a Proposal.