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Quality Plastic Extrusion Operations in the Modern Era

26 April 2017- 13 min read


Having a robust Quality process is a key part of being a plastics manufacturer for customers with a high cost of failure in their supply chain.  Consistently producing complex profiles requires a Quality process that is simple yet thorough.  

Engineered Profiles Engineers have implemented an electronic solution that ties into the existing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system.  In addition to eliminating clutter at work stations, the data is being collected and used in new and interesting ways.

Engineered Profiles upgraded and expanded its ERP in 2015.  This action was done with a long term eye towards expanding the software for use in areas of manufacturing that had not been previously accessible.  In particular, a module that would integrate quality into the everyday task of order fulfillment was a goal for the immediate future.  Facilitating this required upgrading nearly every extrusion work station in the plant with a computer terminal.  Once connected each extrusion line was able to enter real time data as quality checks occurred.  This data is stored in a central server accessible to anyone on the Engineered Profiles team.  No more paper audit sheets that often get lost or difficult to decipher.  Quality in plastics became practically paperless.

Extrusion Quality Station

More importantly, access to this data has allowed engineers to look for trends and stay ahead of the critical errors.  Studies have been conducted in length, wall thickness, and gloss to identify problems and provide process improvements.  In addition, Quality Engineers can update and check for compliance of all control documentation in everything from packaging to process parameters.  This allows for superior revision control so that any time a job is run the most up to date information is at the operator’s fingertips.  The system has been a great success in no small part to the new system being able to intelligently notify Quality, Customer Service, and Operations of potential issues before parts get to the customer.   Automated reports provide daily insight into key data points based on information input at the production line level.

This modernization of Quality, and its associated processes, has been a big win for Engineered Profiles.  While Quality has always been a top priority, focusing on applying sophisticated data collection has led to some exciting process improvements.  Engineered Profiles is excited to be leading the way.