Foodservice Equipment OEM Onshores to Weather the Perfect Storm, Taps Rahco to Fill Production Gaps and Quality Concerns

Global supply chain disruption, extended lead times from an offshore supplier, and formulation concerns rising from a volatile polymer market began to forecast a Perfect Storm that this foodservice equipment manufacturer couldn’t weather .

The distress call went out when this industry leading OEM experienced production line down periods due to an offshore supplier’s inability to provide key assembly components. The OEM was also concerned that the material used for their component had been manipulated due to raw material allocations and force majeure challenges.

Rahco stepped up and conducted material validation and compliance performance specification testing, rapid proto-typing, and expedited production tooling.

Rahco’s chemists and on-staff material science experts developed and tested a formulation based on most available raw materials that satisfied the customer’s high performance and ASTM D2000 specifications. Rahco’s design and engineering team worked with the client’s tooling sources to compress deliverable dates for a top-quality production mold; facilitating a production-intent proto-type mold that was completed in 4-weeks, and a production mold to meet a high-volume EAU that was delivered within 9 weeks.

Rahco successfully eliminated the supply chain gap, reduced lead times by 80%, and introduced a robust custom formulation that exceeded expectations and field requirements. Confidence in the critical formulation as restored and the brand’s integrity was protected.

Rahco Assumes In-House Rubber Molding when this Global Energy Leader faces Labor, Equipment, and Production Deficits

A global leader in the Oil & Gas industry realized that their ancillary in-house rubber molding operation required new equipment. The division was also occupying valuable floor space and pulled much-needed human resources away from its strategic product manufacturing and core competencies.

Rahco immediately assessed the energy company’s goals and not only catered to its rubber molding needs, but redesigned the critical tooling to more-than-double the production output per cycle.

By outsourcing critical component manufacturing to Rahco, the customer was able to optimize its workforce and repurpose significant labor, reappropriate approx. 4,000 sqft. of existing floor space that had been used for molding operation, as well as avoid approx.$1M in CapX for a non-core operation because Rahco was able to make the investment in necessary machinery and assumed expenditures for two new dedicated presses. Rahco’s production also exceeds demand requirements and delivers finished good volume targets that prevent a future backlog.

Life Saving Over Molding — Rahco Addresses Delamination Issues with Rapid Inflation Flanges used on Lifeboats to Ensure Zero Defects

For nearly three decades, this high precision equipment manufacturer has been serving a range of industries with complex, assembled components that are second to none — including the customizing valves and flanges that fit the unique needs of life rafts, inflatable jackets, helicopter floats, marine evacuation systems and the alike.

The company produces a very high-quality brass component used on lifeboats as part of a critical rapid gas inflation control equipment. It had been sourcing a finished product that featured an over molded rubber brass substrate. Before the OEM worked with Rahco, it was concerned with a rubber to metal bond failure and needed greater certainty that the rubber wouldn’t delaminate. Among other quality control and continuous supply challenges, it turned to our team at Rahco for help.

As with any rubber-to-metal bonding, which can be achieved via a mechanical or chemical process, the substate, final part design and materials determine the best method. So, Racho analyzed the all of the contributing factors and determined a robust system for success. Additionally, a new tooling design was recommended to allow for greater throughput resulting in production with zero defects.

Using the high-precision apparatus provided by the customer and over molding a Neoprene compound, Rahco delivers finished high-quality goods much more consistently that boosts the component’s reliability and achieves long service life in saltwater environments to meet the high standards for maritime safety. Rahco also ensures greater on-time delivery, overall production efficiency improvements, and most importantly, no delamination. The customer has since asked Rahco to mold four other finished parts for other advanced equipment serving life-critical sectors.

Mitigating a Force Majeure Material Offset for a Global Transport and Rail Industry Leader

For close to three decades, Rahco has been supplying this Rail Industry leader with Nozzle Gaskets — and Chemours Viton (FKM) has always been the requirement as directed by the end-users. Allocation and Force Majeure on this material, however, presented serious concerns with the potential for them to lose a sizeable amount of business. Convincing their customers to finally accept an FKM replacement was critical.

Rahco’s team of material science experts analyzed a side-by-side comparison of a replacement FKM from GFL and the current material from Chemours, and validated that the physical properties were almost identical. Expediting samples to begin testing was crucial, and Rahco proactively engaged our material supplier to identify the alternate from another polymer producer, while our global customer engaged with their end-users to validate the acceptance of an offset. Our team had samples produced within two weeks and parts were approved a week later.

Rahco was not only able to bring a solution to the table in a very expeditious manner, but ensures safeguard around any future supply chain disruption with two compounds now being approved. The offset material also saves the customer 9.3% in piece price, and they didn’t lose any business.

Irrigation & Agricultural Industry OEM

Challenge:

The need for added capacity because of increased customer orders continue to grow. The current part of Rahco molds is 90% of their product line with EPDM and FKM produced using the same tool made 18 years ago. EPDM is approximately 6 times the volume of the FKM part.

Goal:

Bring on a second mold for risk management purposes. Support the growing backlog with customer orders.

Rahco’s Approach:

  1. Capital investment – 1 new vertical injection press and 1 new horizontal press.
  2. Tool up a multi-cavity injection mold dedicated to producing the EPDM part only utilizing the latest flashless molding technology.
  3. Output per cycle 4-5 times greater than the conventional tool made 18 years ago.

Net Wins:

Customers will now be able to better manage their backlog. Rahco incorporated a flashless tool design which eliminated the need to cryogenically de-flash the parts; delivering time and cost savings. The customer now has a dedicated mold for FKM and a new mold for EPDM parts. Rahco not only solved their need for added capacity but additionally saved their customer $30,000.00/year with a reduced piece price.

Narrative:

A large company heavy in the agriculture sector came to Rahco asking how we can increase capacity due to their ever-growing business. After much internal discussion as to the best approach, we were able to successfully offer a proposal that would work for both parties. Rahco once again was able to satisfy another customer and offer savings. It’s what we do. Let us help you too!

Irrigation Spray System Component
Irrigation Spray System Component

Precision Parts Must Perform — And So Should Suppliers: Rahco Responds, Reformulates to Drive Winning Quality

When a critical component within an assembled irrigation spray system wasn’t performing, this global OEM went searching for a real solution and did not want to wait for an answer. Our material science experts and engineers responded quickly — very quickly — with not only a solution but provided the customer with a better understanding around why the part was wearing out prematurely.

Rahco’s ability to quickly reformulate an FKM (Fluoroelastomer Viton®) material to dramatically improve its tensile strength, abrasion and chemical resistance delivered a knock-out blow to the major quality issue our new customer had and should not have tolerated.

The customer shared their experience, stating: “Rahco’s material expertise and problem-solving capabilities are incredible. They gave us more information in the first 20 minutes of their involvement than we received from our other supplier in the past five years — we’ll be sourcing more parts with you.”

Primary Break System Cups
Primary Break System Cups

Rahco’s Experience Helps Eliminate Customers Internal QC Audits

Rahco’s formulating + manufacturing experience pays BIG dividends on high performance and safety critical Primary-cups.. Primary-cups create hydraulic resistance on braking systems for motorcycles, ATV, Snowmobiles. Our new formulation vastly improved chemical and UV performance, our internal compounding ensured match-to-batch consistency + quality, and our No-Waste Flashless molding process eliminated secondary processes and improved finished part quality to a best in class point where the customers internal incoming QC audits were eliminated. Nearly 3 million of Rahco’s primary cups are in service right now (I hope that they’re on your bike!).

Gas Cap Insert
Gas Cap Insert

Rahco Prevents Recall And Warranty Actions

Customers bring us their biggest challenges. A customer experiencing field failures brought their internal critical gasket for gas caps headaches to Dr. Rahco. We examined the seals, their failure modes and developed new formulation that exceeded performance requirements while meeting economic targets which prevented recall and warranty actions. Our remedy also included moving the patient to a No-Waste Flashless molding process that eliminated secondary processes and improved finished part quality. 10 million parts later, the health of our business partner is very, very strong.

Swimming Pool Filtration Unit Seal
Swimming Pool Filtration Unit Seal

Rahco’s Responsiveness Protects Leading OEM From Lawsuit

20″, 18″. 16″ diameter filter. Overseas is not the answer! Rahco saved the day when a leading OEM tried to offshore the most critical seal in their assembly. Rahco responded immediately and protected the customer from a class action lawsuit, stopping warranty claims in their tracks. Rahco’s chemists formulated a new compound that delivered enhanced stability when in compression and exposed to high chlorine environments.  Rahco’s In-house compounding ensured a consistent durometer, quality and improved static deflection properties and chemical resistance. 900,000 of these large diameter seals are in use today. You will never get that this kind of responsiveness and attention from a company 9,000 miles away.

case study 4
9” Diameter Filter Gasket Seal With 5,000 Micro Slit Perforation For Waste Water Aeration Diaphragm

Rahco Raising Performance Bar So High Customers Can Now Offer Industry Leading Warranty

Raising the performance bar. Rahco supported their customer during a previous supplier’s quality crisis, reformulating a sub-par material to an industry changing material. Critical aeration diaphragms used in municipal water management systems were wearing out way to soon which sent maintenance costs soaring.

Rahco to the rescue – a new & improved formulation was developed within 15 business days.

Rahco’s material and part performs so well that it allowed our customer to offer an industry leading warranty – extending term length by 25%. Next, our VAVE focus facilitated the development of an automated micro-piercing operation that saves this customer over $50,000 annually! How about that!

Multi-Colored Pump Diaphragms
Multi-Colored Pump Diaphragms

Rahco Creates An Engineering Triple play with An Odorless, Tasteless And Custom Colors for Condiment Dispensing

Rahco “knocked this one out of the park!” Rahco co-engineered a revolutionary design of a food service industry condiment dispensing valve. Our major league creativity and experience provide to be a winner in delivering a robust component that lasts millions of strokes. Rahco then formulated an NSF approved material that is both odorless & tasteless. To prevent assembly and field service errors, we molded the same part in custom colors. A triple play to clinch the series!

Precision System Seals
Precision System Seals

Rahco Creates A Fairy Tale Of Savings

The tale of the Two-Piece Assembly Structural Plumbing Seal & Fastener. What began as an “inherited” hot pot transfer mold from a customer struggling with quality and hurting from costs soon became a Value Added Value Engineering (VAVE) opportunity when Rahco proposed a low waste flashless mold and transfer cold pot production process! Later on, when suffering with concentricity issues of the mating plastic component, Rahco stepped in again and retooled for this plastic component. Rahco then created an automated 2-component assembly cell that saves this customer over a $100,000 on an annual basis! And they lived happily ever after.

Rahco Develops Flashless, Low Waste Rubber Mold Without Secondary Operations

A major OEM came to Rahco with a recurring problem that was jeopardizing their standing with a very important customer. The problem was inconsistent material along with unpredictable delivery and unacceptable part attribute qualities from their previous rubber molder. In order to maintain a required price point, material for a very low volume swell in gasoline was needed that would not use a super-premium polymer.

Rahco developed a compound that not only solved the swell issues in gasoline but additionally was very robust from a molding standpoint. The end result was the development of a flashless and low waste rubber mold that produced parts with zero defects and a bare minimum of residual waste. Parts are produced and packed right at the molding press without secondary flash removal or inspection operations.

This successful project has allowed us to grow with this customer and enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship.

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