When it comes to knowledge of product, processes and machinery, no one knows more about SIKA than Pete Bernier, SIKAs production manager. As production manager, Bernier is responsible for keeping SIKAs products rolling down the production line without problems.
Manufacturing acoustic sealants for automotive sound deadening, SIKA die-cuts and kiss-cuts barrier patches and door seals from rubber-based extruded forms. Each part is an intricate panel of differing size with up to .003 inch tolerances, die-cut and separated from pre-cut extruded forms.
SIKA performs a unique service to the auto industry, in that we are a certified Just-in-time supplier. We often get orders that are due the next day, to keep our clients warehouse storage costs low, said Bernier, or that reason, we needed presses that could set-up easily and quickly, were durable enough to withstand constant demand, and could meet the tolerances that our customers require.
SIKA began to run into a problem though, failing presses and new customer designs put a strain on the production line. SIKA had to work harder to meet customer demand.
In response, Bernier was put in charge of a purchasing team to find new machines to replace the old presses. Berniers team investigated four of the top manufacturers of die-cut machinery.
We were looking for a company that put out good quality equipment, at a relatively low cost. But most importantly we were looking for someone that would back and support us during start-up. said Bernier.
After evaluating each companys products, SIKA purchased five CONTECH presses: two to replace old machines, and three for new products. Each CONTECH Ultrapress™ could either die-cut or kiss-cut material ranging from Â± .5 mil to 3 mil. The presses were geared to cut material ranging from 20 to 72 in size, and featured permanent stop blocks to facilitate easy kiss-cuts.
In the end, we chose CONTECH because it met all of our needs. Not only was it a quality and inexpensive product, with plenty of support available, but their engineering team was more than happy to help design custom in-feed and out-feed assemblies required for our new types of materials and end products. said Bernier.
And when it came time for delivery, SIKA knew that CONTECH would assist if needed.
After the first presses were installed, testing began on the sticky, rubbery material that makes up SIKAs products. Two problems were found immediately.
First, the sticky material used in the product would dry up when it was sent back to CONTECH for testing. Second, the material was so gummy that it would adhere to the dies, making it impossible to knock the product out.
CONTECH immediately moved to solve the two problems. In order to test the material, CONTECH moved testing equipment and technicians to the SIKA site. To solve the problem of material sticking to the dies, CONTECH attached a talcing device to the in-feed, and created a double knock-out that would punch the product above the die into a chamber. Air was then pumped through the chamber to clear the product onto a conveyor belt for inspection and collection. CONTECH re-designed the knockout and talcing device on-site.
CONTECH didnt stop at designing the product, technicians were sent to ensure that everything ran smoothly and everyone was trained on the new equipment.
I particularly remember the delivery of the second press, said Bernier, CONTECH literally lived in SIKA for two weeks to make sure everything was set-up and running correctly.
When we do business, we look for straightforward people, said Bernier, CONTECHs full of them. If we have a problem, they solve it. They give you what you want.