Supplier/Processor Partnership Ties Together Laser-Marking and TPE Overmold

The people at injection molder New Berlin Plastics pride themselves on their ability to bring their expert knowledge of plastics processing to bear on customer challenges.

Recently, a new customer, HellermannTyton, was developing an innovative new cable tie tool that offered the ability to select the tension applied to the cable ties as they were being affixed.

For a plastic tension knob, they needed a material strong enough for the small plastic teeth, and it would also need to have a graduated number scale, from zero to eight in half point increments, applied to it.

According to New Berlin’s Business Development Manager, Dave Sansone and Director of Engineering, Mike Miller, the customer wanted to discuss which of three ways would be most effective and efficient for the numbering application: printing the numbers directly on the plastic, using in-mold decorating, or attaching a printed adhesive sticker.

Based on their knowledge and experience, the two men instantly knew which of the technologies would be best for their customer’s application — none of them.

“We’ve both worked with RTP Company most of our professional lives, and knew of their ability to create laser-markable plastics that would also meet the strength and other requirements this application demanded,” said Sansone.

“Laser-marking the numeric scale was a much better solution, avoiding the time consuming challenge of printing, the high scrap rates that would have been associated with in-mold decoration, and the physical challenge of precisely affixing a small, 1/4 inch (6 mm) wide sticker,” explained Miller.

Based on New Berlin’s recommendation, HellermannTyton gave them the go ahead to team with RTP Company and begin the process of specifying an appropriate material.

After careful testing and evaluation, RTP Company furnished a custom glass fiber reinforced RTP 600 Series ABS compound that provided the required tensile strength for the cable tie tool’s tension knob.

A matched RTP 6042 Series thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) was then overmolded on the knob to provide an ergonomic gripping surface. The TPE compound was formulated to bond with the rigid ABS substrate for optimum product integrity.

Laser-marking additives and colorants chosen for their compatibility with the ABS compound and the operational range of the laser being used were added by RTP Company’s colorists, allowing the laser to clearly “write” an indelible, high contrast white mark on the black plastic surface. “The laser-marked numbers are very durable and will hold up for the life of the product,” said Miller.

Sansone noted that this successful application is only one in a long line of successes he and his colleagues have had partnering with RTP Company over the years.

“They’re not an ‘off the shelf’ commodity kind of supplier; RTP Company has excellent engineering capabilities,” said Sansone. “When we need to solve a customer challenge by using a custom-engineered compound, we go to RTP Company.”

New Berlin Plastics of New Berlin, WI, is a full-service injection molder that consistently exceeds its customer’s expectations from design through assembly.

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