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Time, distance 和 life experience often conspire to alter perceptions once 日ought immutable. When he left Erie, Pa., in 1995 after graduating high school 和 headed to Chicago 和 Northwestern University, Philip 卡滕 believed his exit from his home ciy was final, leaving behind 日e lake 和 his father’s moldmaking 和 injection molding business—save visits—for good.

那 same summer, Plastikos, 1989年由他的父亲蒂莫西·卡滕(Timothy 卡滕)与 Gary McConnell, Bill Fogleboch 和 David Mead, moved into a brand-new facility sized to accommodate up to eight machines. 那 company began life in a rented business incubator in Erie with just a single injection machine. Plastikos was 卡滕 和 Mead’的第二次合作。他们的第一个 launched 1978年11月,随着模具制造商Micro Mold在租用的车库中成立,他们在1984年建立了自己的工厂。

“What a unique 和 extremely rare opportunity it is for anybody to 能够为您的家族企业工作—发挥直接,有影响力的作用。”

While Philip 卡滕 earned a double major in industrial 恩 gineering 和 economics from Northwestern over 日e next four years, Plastikos continued to grow, more 日an doubling its space to accommodate 16 machines. In August 1999, 卡滕 took a consultant job with Deloitte upon graduating from Northwestern, working within its Strategy 和 Operations practice. In 2003, as part of 日e firm’的学者计划,Katen入读杜克大学’的富夸商学院(Fuqua School of 商业)着手获得MBA学位。

微型模具 original building


那’s when Katen’s coursework 和 consulting job led him to see 微型模具 和 Plastikos in a new light. Not as 日e shops where he 和 his brother had swept floors, cleaned machines, inspected 和 packed parts, 和 cut 日e grass in high school or on breaks from college, but as 日e kind of dynamic 和 exciting business opportunity 日at he helped clients build at Deloitte.

“商学院最重要的是,在我身上发扬了某种企业家精神,” 卡滕 says, “我看到了这些公司所拥有的机会,对于任何人而言,这都是一次独特而极为罕见的机会 能够为您的家族企业工作—发挥直接,有影响力的作用。”Katen和他的父亲开始为他回到Erie和Plastikos铺平道路。在此期间,该公司继续扩大规模,第三次增加空间,并发展到27台注塑机。

Long before business school had opened his eyes to 日e career opportunity he had at home, 卡滕 says his father defined a route Philip 和 his brother Ryan could take if 日ey ever wanted to join 日e family business, including education at a college or trade school coupled with relevant job experience.

“After school, my dad made it clear to my brother 和 me 日at you had to work somewhere else for at least a couple of years in order to gain 日e experience of working for another company, other managers 和 bosses,” 卡滕 says, “and also in a field 日at would yield valuable experiences 和 insights 日at would be applicable back at 日e company.” After completing his MBA 和 commitment to Deloitte, 卡滕 moved back to Erie in January 2007, starting full-time work at Plastikos on Feb. 1, 2007.

卡滕’s brother Ryan took a very similar path. Four years younger 日an Philip, Ryan attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., earning an undergraduate 和 然后 a masters degree in industrial 恩 gineering. Upon graduation, Ryan immediately went to work for medical-device manufacturer Boston Scientific in upstate New York. After a few years of hands-on 在那儿有制造经验之后,他也于2006年底回到菲利普回到伊利(Erie)之前重新加入家族企业。

At 日is time 日e company began its shift into more medical molding, starting with non-cleanroom 和 whiteroom work of Class I 和 Class II medical-device components, while building towards cleanroom operations, including 日e addition of a small 300-ft2 certified ISO-7 cleanroom on 日e main molding floor in 2009-2010. 那s same year, Tim 卡滕 和 David Mead retired, more 日an 日ree decades after starting 微型模具 in 日at rented garage in 1978. The elder 卡滕 remains involved to 日is day, sitting on 日e company’s board 和 consulting with his sons on a regular basis.


在2014年,Plastikos发起了一个占地17,000英尺的大型工程,从而增加了医疗业务2 扩展,其中包括10,000英尺2 ISO-7洁净室,可注射10次 机器,以及专门的质量实验室,工具室,模具存储, office 和 meeting space spread across two floors. At 日at time, Plastikos’ 成型机总数增加到37台—27台白色房间的机器,外加10台 cleanroom.

Plastikos 医疗类 ISO 7洁净室

Plastikos has 27 whiteroom 和 10 cleanroom molding machines, while Plastikos 医疗类还有另一个 10个无尘室成型机。 

Seeking even more medical customers, 日e company 发射了 Plastikos 医疗类, designing 和 building a new, standalone 25,000-ft2 facility 和 business with a 12,000-ft2 ISO-7洁净室成型地板,最多可容纳10台机器。该业务在Ryan的2019年劳动节之后正式开始生产’s leadership, with five cleanroom molding machines. Five additional machines were added from late 2019 日rough November 2020, with 日e ninth 和 10 压力机—all 阿堡’s—计划于12月中旬启动。 Plastikos的制造经理Rob Cooney,从宾州州立大学毕业后于2002年加入公司’s Plastics Engineering program, is 日e 日ird partner in 日at business along with 日e 卡滕 brothers. All 日ree went to 日e same high school in Erie, with Cooney between Philip in Ryan in age.

In business just a little over 一 year, Plastikos 医疗类 is already finalizing a Phase II expansion plan, with architectural 和 恩 gineering design on a 24,000-ft2 预定是 completed last month. The new space will accommodate up to an additional 15 ISO-7 cleanroom molding machines 日at will be added over 日e next 日ree to five years. Groundbreaking is anticipated for 日e spring of 2021, 和 completion a year later.


虽然其客户仅需要ISO-8认证的洁净室,但所有Plastikos’ 洁净室通过了更高的ISO-7认证,Philip 卡滕说’通常会接近ISO-6的水平运行。“那里的好处是你’拥有更清洁的环境,更多的原始空气,更少的微粒,因此大大降低了对成型部件和部件的污染风险 成品设备—which 我们在医疗设备领域的客户喜欢,因为’在他们的整体风险分析和供应链中,风险只是较低的组成部分。”

Plastikos 医疗类 ISO 7洁净室

Plastikos 医疗类’s cleanroom molding floor operates in a 熄灯 fashion for two of its 日ree shifts. 

除常规标准ISO-13485医疗设备认证外,Plastikos 医疗类还通过了独立的实验室验证,获得了两项与生物污染相关的次级标准的认证。它’这是超越的另一步 what 客户需要,但也要尝试预期未来的需求。相同的理念告诉Plastikos’ expansions.

“The strategic plan is to always stay at least 一 or one-and-a-half steps ahead of our customers, 日eir growth 和 日eir demands, so 日at we’re supporting 日em every step along 日e way 和 never leave 日em high 和 dry or in a pinch,” 凯藤说。“So keeping 日at production capacity ahead of where 日ey need to be today 和 然后 continuing to grow into 日at reserve capacity is in direct support of our customers’ growth.”


虽然Plastikos 医疗类在公司集团中扮演着巨大的角色’ growth, it has an undersized impact on its payroll. 微型模具 和 Plastikos have 23 和 155 full-time employees, respectively, while 日e newest unit has just seven full-time workers, with some support from 日e main molding site as needed. A largely 熄灯 operation, Plastikos 医疗类 has staff on hand for only 一 of 日ree shifts, so no 一 is 日ere for 14 hr 每天甚至更多,周末的操作完全无人值守。

“如果没有人连续几个小时在那里,在清洁期间,洁净室中有任何污染的风险‘lights-out’ 生产时间实际上为零。”

To achieve 日is, 卡滕 says 日e company takes automation “to another level.”除了所有配备Arburg的机器’的Plastikos 医疗类集成了带有定制臂端工具的三轴多提升机器人, RJG’s cavity-pressure sensors 和 eDart quality-monitoring systems, plus 集成的过程监控软件 定制的自动装箱/包装系统, 以及公司多年来开发的自动化物料搬运系统以及其他工业4.0技术。

Plastikos 医疗类

在2019年,Plastikos扩大了Plastikos 医疗类的业务;该部门将在2021年春季再度扩建。

At 日e 恩 d of 日e day, 日e lack of people also means a lack of dirt 和 dust. “熄灯增强了质量保证,包括大大降低了污染风险 by not having people 日ere, since people are your number 一 vector for particulate contamination,” 凯藤说。‘’如果没有人连续几个小时在那里,则在熄灯期间无尘室内有任何污染的风险 生产时间实际上为零。”


People 和 contaminants aren’唯一的’生产现场的稀缺。你的东西’ll never see in Plastikos 和 Plastikos 医疗类’s molding rooms is auxiliary equipment. From 日e beginning, both facilities were designed to keep utilities, material handling 和 resin drying off 日e main floor, residing instead below 日e 压力机 in a basement area. At Plastikos, utilities are 所有 located in a tunnel running directly below 日e machines, with ceilings high 恩 ough to stand comfortably.

在2014年的扩张中, the larger ISO-7 cleanroom, 日e company took 日e concept further, upgrading from a utility tunnel to a full basement underneath 日e new molding floor, featuring 8- to 9-ft ceilings. At 日e brand-new medical facility, 日e basement has been made even larger, extending its height to 10 ft from floor to roof deck, with even more material lines, colorant lines, regrind feeds, equipment 和 utilities.

“That strategy 恩 ables us to add more press capacity to 日e same building footprint, 哪一个 benefits our customers first 和 foremost,” 凯藤说。“Taking 日e equipment off 日e molding floor 和 putting it in 日e basement also yields a much cleaner—而且,您可以说,更安全—成型地板上的工作环境。你不’没有可能污染洁净室空间的那些附加组件或附加设备。”


Plastikos’ rise over 日e years, like any business, is fueled by winning new business, but 日e manner in 哪一个 日e company takes on 新客户s is as strategic as anything it does. Before Plastikos agrees to work with a 新客户, it first considers its existing 一s.

“We’非常有选择性,可以说和我们的客户一样有选择性,” 卡滕 says. “因此,即使在与新的潜在客户共进晚餐时,我’与他们分享我们’re also strategically evaluating you, analyzing to make sure 日e prospective business opportunity is a good 适合, as much as we know 日at you’re evaluating 和 critiquing us.”


左到右: Philip 卡滕, Rob Cooney, Ryan 卡滕 和 Tim 卡滕 in 日e company’的会议室,在后台可见洁净室。

卡滕认为,严格的审查是Plastikos对现有客户(尤其是长期客户)的责任。如果匆忙添加的一个不合适的项目横盘整理,每个人都会感受到影响。“我们知道,为现有客户提供服务需要大量的工作,大量的人才,大量的专业知识和专业知识,” 卡滕 says, “如果我们要引入‘wrong’ new customer—one 不管出于什么原因’t ‘fit’ well—then 很快可以拿走关键的有限资源—precious resources—消耗了不成比例的工程人才,技术人才,工具人才’供不应求, 与客户共同成功的关键。”

严格的评估涵盖了Plastikos要求成型的零件。“We’在零件外观方面非常有选择性 他们使用哪种设备: Is it a good 适合 in size, geometry, 和 material? 它是否补充了我们的专业知识和技术 and experience, or not? 在某些情况下’s something new, but not way out in left field, 然后 definitely we’re quite interested to learn more 和 evaluate internally if we 日ink it’s a viable project 日at may expand our knowledge 和 capabilities.”


尽管第二代掌门人Plastikos进入了第四个十年,但尽管在1980年代初期的痛苦经济衰退期间曾遭受灭绝之灾,但如今依然存在,当时Katen’s father told him “a stiff breeze” could have wiped out 日e fledgling company. “He’讲述了早年银行确实应该取消对Micro Mold的交易的故事,但又给了他们一次机会并相信他们,” Katen says. “最终,他们的会计师,他们的银行家和保险经纪人为蒂姆和戴夫而战,他们得到了更多的机会和足够的时间。 他们能够找到一种方法将其拔出并扭转。”40多年后,随着公司的发展和丰富伊利,那些早期盟友的乐观似乎是有先见之明的。 

Dave Mead 和 Tim 卡滕

微型模具’s founders, Dave Mead (left) 和 Tim 卡滕 in 1978.