SPI Industries
Injection Molding (574) 272-3733
Blow Molding (269) 849-3200

custom • design • engineering • molding

Archive | Prototypes – Inventions

RSS feed for this section

Temporary Plastic Safety Barricades

plastic safety barricades - the boyz or the boys

Plastic safety barricades are used to block off areas from automotive or pedestrian traffic. From a single barricade to a continuous, obstruction free, fencing system, safety barricades provide clear guidance through work zones. Highly visible barricades prevent people from entering dangerous work zones.

Plastic safety barricades have increased in popularity

Safety barricades are used in emergencies and in situations when accidents have occurred or have the potential to occur. To ensure timely response, safety barricades that are lightweight, easily assembled, and easy to break down and store are very popular. Using plastic safety barricades meet these demands.

Plastic safety barricade uses

Plastic safety barricades are used heavily in road construction. Those of us in the midwest know orange barrel season all too well! The ever present orange plastic cones used to keep people in their driving lanes and out of off-limit areas are universal indicators of caution.

Most A-frame barricades traditionally constructed of wood are now entirely constructed of plastic. From the A-frame sides to the 2 x 4 rails with reflective caution stripes, these temporary plastic safety barricades are weather resistant, easy to install, break down, stack, and store until they are needed again.

Plastic safety systems also include temporary barricades for use inside buildings. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers guidelines for proper placement of barricades for protection of employees in all circumstances. From blocking off spills in cafeterias, closing off construction areas, blocking areas with limited access, warning of wet paint or wet floors, and many other precautionary instances, plastic safety barricades are in demand.

Benefits of Plastic Safety Barricades:

  • lightweight
  • durable
  • weather proof
  • damage resistant
  • color can be added during manufacturing process
  • stickers / labels can be applied
  • reusable – recyclable

free standing barricade -the boyzSPI Blow Molding manufactures plastic safety barricades in a product for both interior and exterior safety situations called, “The Boyz”. The Boyz are a unique plastic safety barricade. Each ‘boy’ is all one piece and is 80% larger than the standard tent sign at 31” wide by 41” high. There is no set up time or any additional parts needed for use. If the area requires sectioning off, multiple boys can be used to form a temporary, solid wall, maintenance barricade by joining them at the hands. The unique ‘boy’ shape is 1,271 square inches of bright yellow plastic.

Each boy has ‘Caution: Out of Order’ emblazoned across the chest and a stop sign on the helmet. Quick deployment of the wire stand on the back of each boy allows it to be free-standing. The wire doesn’t get in the way when multiple boys are joined together to form a solid pedestrian barricade. Once the area is secure again the lightweight ‘boy’ folds flat for convenient storage.

Use of ‘The Boyz’ and other plastic safety barricades in manufacturing plants, schools, offices, shopping centers and stores help keep visitors, children, personnel, contractors, and everyone in the facility safe. If you, or your organization, are looking for plastic safety barricades to alert people of hazardous situations with maximum visibility, ‘The Boyz’ may be a good solution. As the manufacturer of ‘The Boyz’ SPI is presenting them for purchase and delivery. Contact us today with any questions.

AcciDENTAL Masterpiece – New Product Inventions as Art

New Product Inventions as Art Blow molded Plastic Teeth

At SPI Industry molding facilities we are fascinated with the creativity and ingenuity of new product inventions.  Product developers create new designs of existing products as well as completely new products that are designed to make life easier, more efficient, safer, or more attractive for everyone. We see all new product inventions as art!

Recently, we received the most unique new plastic molding product request yet. SPI Injection Molding and SPI Blow Molding have produced a full gamut of new product inventions from plastic game pieces, plastic home decorations, plastic parts for appliances, molded parts for healthcare, and many more but this new plastic product concept was a first.  It wasn’t too unusual when the SPI Injection plant in South Bend, Indiana received a request to produce a large plastic tooth. What was unusual was the story behind the tooth.

plastic blow molded teethNew Product Inventions as Art Installations

The over 3000 molded plastic teeth were needed to create a toothquake! The toothquake was represented in the form of a 23’ x 26’ wide waterfall from the second story windows of an old Victorian that is home to the dental office of Dr. Demray. The tooth quake, we learned, was a result of the seismic activity that arose from the relocation of everybody’s favorite childhood messenger, the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy was staying at Dr. Demray’s offices temporarily while her new warehouse was being constructed. As each night passed, the increase in children’s teeth could no longer be contained and caused a toothquake Friday, June 17, 2016.

Dr. Demray was the most obvious choice when the Tooth Fairy was in need of temporary living quarters. Throughout his over 40 year career Dr. Demray’s mission has been to educate kids about good oral care. Demray’s commitment to share the message of bone preservation and dental care to children is also demonstrated in his cast of characters such as Betsy Floss and Miss Ginger Vitis. These characters participate in parades and school presentations sharing the importance of good oral care for kids. Ever seeking new ways to bring dental care education to the forefront, Dr. Demray decided an art installation of thousands of teeth in a cascading waterfall from his second story offices would be impactful. As a long time Art & Acts supporter, Dr. Demray planned the art exhibit reveal for the opening day of the 2016 Northville Arts & Acts celebration.

When the concept was conceived Dr. Demray and his staff hoped the teeth would be made in the United States. When Dr. Demray’s staff contacted SPI Industries they called SPI Injection Molding plant in South Bend, Indiana. After a short discussion it was determined SPI Blow Molding plant in Coloma, Michigan would be the best approach for the production and molding of the plastic teeth.

SPI Blow Molding understood the teeth would be used to help educate kids on the importance of dental care. The SPI team quickly learned their efforts would also be paramount in the relocation of the Tooth Fairy to Northville, Michigan. This was no ordinary plastic tooth to be used in dental displays or for training for the dental industry!

Fulfillment of the order in time for the Arts & Acts Celebration in Northville set to begin June 17, 2016 was a fun and rewarding experience for the SPI Industry team.

Do you have new product inventions, art installations or even a new twist on an old product that needs attention to detail and experienced engineers to construct? Give SPI Injection or SPI Blow Molding a call today. We’d love to sink our teeth into it.

Read more about how Dr. Demray’s future plans for the teeth to benefit dental care awareness in future blogs.

Get Your Invention To Market: Start With A Strong Prototype

Get Your Invention To Market: Start With A Strong Prototype

Before you begin shopping around your new idea there’s some groundwork you’ll need to take care of first. Having an idea is easy; it’s the steps that come after that are the most difficult. 

A strong prototype will give you many tangible and intangible benefits that will speed up market adoption, and give your invention a chance to thrive. Below we highlight several reasons why you’ll want to start with a strong prototype for your new idea.

1. Having A Tangible Product Gives You Confidence

When you have a spectacular idea for an invention it can be tempting to spend all of your time creating product mockups and refining the initial design. This step is very important, but you’ll never make progress towards your goal if you never create something tangible.

A plastic prototype, even if it is flawed will give you confidence that you’re moving forward with your creation. Once you have the initial prototype you can work with it to truly polish and improve your design.

2. It Allows You To Refine Your Product First

During your first product run-through you’re always going to have kinks to work out. Or, you may need to add or remove certain features. By creating a plastic prototype you’ll be able to refine the design of your product into a workable prototype. You might also start with one type of plastic and molding process, and then decide that another type of plastic will make your product more durable. The range of function and processing methods as well as type of plastics available can be overwhelming to new product inventors.

This allows you to avoid any product mishaps that might occur without proper prototyping. The only way to truly create a plastic product that exceeds your expectations is by starting with an initial prototype and innovating from that point.

3. Can Experiment With Production and Distribution Methods

When taking your design to market chances are you’re going to need to scale. This means you’ll need to have your production and distribution methods ironed out.

By starting with a strong prototype you can smooth out the plastic production process, and any methods of distribution to reach your customers or your suppliers ahead of time.

4. A Strong Protoype Strengthens Your Investment Potential

When you’re approaching potential investors about your product it’s one thing to tell them about it. It’s an entirely different experience altogether when you show them. Graphics, plans, and descriptions can only go so far. By creating a working plastic prototype you enable an investor to truly experience what it’s like to use your product. 

At SPI we can help make inventors dreams a reality.

With our state of the art plastic production and molding facility we can cater to your every need. Our team of engineers has decades of experience producing plastic prototypes across a wide array of fields. If you’re interested in bringing your idea to life, then reach out to our team here, or give us a call at (269) 849-3200.

BPA-Free-Molding-Phthalate-Free-and-PVC-Free-Plastic Products

BPA-Free Molding, Phthalate-Free, and PVC-Free Products

BPA-Free-Molding-Phthalate-Free-and-PVC-Free-Products
There are so many choices when it comes to the type of plastic required for the job, and molding process that will best suit the end result. One of the latest and largest trends is the shift towards BPA-Free molding, and Phthalate-Free and PVC-Free products. At SPI Industries we believe it’s important to stay on top of the latest processes and healthy plastics to truly offer our customers the best service possible.

Below we dive into the reasons you may want to consider BPA-Free Molding, and Phthalate-Free, PVC-Free products for your next product mold.

Why Choose BPA-Free Molding?

Chances are you’ve seen a product labeled “BPA free” when you’ve gone to the store to buy a water bottle, or any type of food container. Studies have shown that BPA bottles have been known to leech BPA into the bottles when exposed to extreme temperatures. With the increase in studies that have shown the potential health risks of BPA, more consumers are now looking for a BPA-free option.

This is where BPA-Free Molding comes into play. This style of molding process will ensure your products are free from BPA. Although, the FDA hasn’t officially labeled BPA as being harmful for consumer use, a lot of companies are already switching their plastic products to BPA-free. Especially, if they produce children’s goods, or food related containers.

Plastic products produced using BPA-Free molding will be free of PVC, phthalate, and BPA.

Best Uses For This Style Of Mold And Plastic

Most plastics that are free from these chemicals are commonly found in products that come into human contact, or are used in food processing. For instance, a lot of children’s toys and baby food containers are produced using this style of molding.

A lot of food containers, water bottles, milk jugs, plastic cups, and bath toys are commonly produced using BPA-free molding as well.

When you’re trying to consider whether or not to use BPA-free molding for your next set of plastic products it’s important to think about how your products will be used now and into the future. If your plastic products will come into frequent contact with humans through physical contact, or will be used to house food-related products, then staying ahead of the consumer preference curve could be very beneficial for your business.

SPI’s Experience With This Type Of Plastic

At SPI our focus is on providing our customers with the molding processes and types of plastics they require for their business to succeed. Since conscious consumer trends point towards BPA-Free molding and the resulting plastics as the way of the future, it’s important for forward-thinking companies to be able to add this to their product lines.

Our processing capabilities and years of experience enable us to ensure your plastic mold meets all of your required specifications the first time through. A lot of facilities may have the right equipment, but without years of experience working with different types of molding processes, the results will be less than desirable.

If you’re a business owner who needs a new line of BPA-Free, Phthalate-Free, or PVC free plastic products, get in touch with our team of professionals today.

Blow molded, Rotationally molded, or Injection molded? How to make a Good Duck

Blow molded, Rotationally molded, or Injection molded? How to make a Good Duck

Which came first, designing the mold or designing the rubber duck? In the case of The Good Duck the bigger question was which process, blow molding, rotational molding, or injection molding, will result in the best rubber duck ever?

injection molded novelty items

Following through on a crazy idea, Craig Wolfe premiered Betty Boop Duck in 1997, and his company, CelebriDucks was born. Originally invented in the USA, this American icon had long since been outsourced over seas. CelebriDucks returned the art of rubber duck manufacturing back to the United States.

From NBA players, to Mr T, and KISS’s Gene Simmons, CelebriDucks are collectible rubber ducks fashioned after some of the greatest icons of film, music, athletics, and history. CelebriDucks was voted the top fan give-away by ESPN in sports stadiums all over the country.

Not easily satisfied, inventor and CelebriDucks founder Craig Wolfe, had to take the product to a higher level. His most recent invention, The Good Duck, is known as the safest rubber duck on the planet.

As most parents know, the first thing babies do when they grasp an object is to put it in their mouth. The Good Duck is made of medical and food grade materials that are soft and safe for teething children. FDA approved, PVC, Phthalate, lead and BPA free, The Good Duck is 100% Made in the USA, and it floats!

With all great ideas comes research and development. Knowing he wanted a safe, soft, rubber duck that floated, Wolfe knew BPA free and PVC free was the way to go. Hence, his tour of blow molding and injection molding plants throughout the United States. As he bounced from factory to factory researching processes and materials he noted SPI Blow Molding in Coloma, Michigan was already using a soft material that could work. Safety and softness was key for the cute duck.

SPI Industries won the development of the Good Duck

Wolfe explained the determining factor for choosing SPI Industries and SPI Blow Molding was the expertise of the people compared to other plastic manufacturing facilities in the mid-west.  SPI had the experience with reach and development to support The Good Duck project.

Still, that’s only part of the story. The softness of the material, the product safety, and the desire for ducks of different color took much trial and error. Choosing the correct material, one that would remain very soft and hold design detail into molds is challenging. Fine tuning CAD designs, re-molding, sculpting, testing and refinement of molds was time consuming and expensive.

Should a Good Duck be blow molded, rotationally molded, or injection molded?

The Good Duck design was originally planned to be injection molded. Once Wolfe started working with SPI Industries, owned James Doster, advised him on a different direction. With injection molding the Good Duck would be in two pieces. The two pieces would need to be glued together. SPI engineers explained, “The plastic needed for the injection molding method would be too hard and would require welding.” Because a true rubber duck needs to float, it needed to be hollow. Blow molding it as one piece and sealing in the bottom was the solution.

The next challenge was determining wall thickness. The soft material they wanted to use with the characteristics that make the Good Duck safe and chewable doesn’t flow like normal resins. Getting the wall thickness exact took some time.

“SPI Companies do more than just manufacturer, they’re trail blazers. They’re making a difference in every way they can, creating jobs and producing innovative products with cutting edge technology.”

For the Good Duck to be completely safe, color needed to be molded right in the product. Adding color was a another challenge because colorant adds weight and effects the floating capability. Consistent balance was critical and very intricate. “Not easy technology, but SPI came up with a formula that is top of its grade with an age grading of 0 and up and thus completely safe for ALL ages!” reported Wolfe.

SPI also provided a great supplier for packaging services for The Good Duck. American gift boxes are usually very expensive and drive up price point. SPI staff helped to locate a gift box manufacturer right here in the United States, keeping cost in line and also ensuring The Good Duck is 100% Made in America.

Future plans are in place to expand The Good Duck line because it is so unique. Communities who hold annual duck races as fundraisers can now use American made ducks! The Good Duck may also be employed as a promotional piece with custom embossing or silk screening of logos.

Wolfe says. “What’s good for you and the planet is the right thing to do. The Good Duck should be done and we should be making it in America. We now have a niche as we’re the only ones making them here and The Good Duck cannot be duplicated anywhere. It’s a cute little duck!”

Wolfe insists on getting the best product out there and The Good Duck will come out of the gate very strong with the highest level of product safety. Watch for the blue, yellow, and pink Good Ducks on the shelves of your favorite stores as early as December, 2015. If you just can’t wait, you can pre-order Good Ducks on the website http://CelebriDucks..com, call 415-456-3452 or email info@CelebriDucks.com

Benefits of Creating a Plastic Prototype for Production Molding

Benefits of Creating a Plastic Prototype for Production Molding
When you consider creating a new part that is to be made of plastic and the tooling cost is considerable, it is most desirable to test the functionality of the part prior to actually building the tool. Creating a plastic prototype can help determine if the part will function as designed. Modifications to a tool can not only be costly but degrade its overall performance and longevity.

The CAD Systems of today, such as Solid Works, which is what we use at SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries provide a great deal of power to make changes to a part quickly as well as draw all related interacting parts to test the stack up interference fit required in a final assembly. Solid Modeling on the computer has replaced the need for some part prototyping of the past. None the less, there are several current approaches to making a prototype of the product that remain relevant today.

Plastic Mold Modeling:

Historically the only approach was to have a model made by a professional model builder.  The prototype may have been constructed of wood, plastic or metal depending on the size and function of the test needed to be performed on the prototype to prove its size and function.  Many parts today still require a fully functioning prototype model to get exact data from which a mold can be built.  It is a small price to pay for a good prototype part to avoid or at least reduce the iterations of design changes often required while designing and developing new parts and new products.

Rapid Prototyping:

Modern technology, such as Plastic Part Printing, has made prototyping not only less expensive but extremely quick to completion.  In today’s fast paced manufacturing arena the quicker a product can move from the sales planning stage to the manufacturing floor the better.  The life span of a consumer product has become incredibly short, thereby increasing, the pressure to develop new products even faster.  An example of how SPI Blow Molding recently used Rapid Prototype Printing to solve a problem for one of our customers, The Best Bins, was the development of a Portion Control Cylinder which was to be retrofitted into a current bulk food container dispensing unit.  Our engineering department drew the new portion control cylinder using Solid Works.  The drawing was then sent to the Rapid Prototype Entity, where it was produced.

The Plastic Printer, working similar to laying down ink, uses heated plastic resin instead of ink.  The printer then makes repeated passes just as it would if printing on a piece of paper, only it continues to make passes laying down a thin film of plastic resin with each pass.  Each pass prints a slightly different geometry, thus changing the shape of the plastic that is being printed. Each pass also moves up slightly preparing for the next pass.  This process is repeated hundreds and hundreds of times, until a completed part has been produced.  The part can be hollow or in nearly any shape, making it a perfect process to prototype parts for both Injection Molding and Blow Molding, which is what we do here at SPI.

Blow molded plastic bin dispenserThe Prototype Portion Control Cylinder was then tested for the amount of product it would allow to move though the dispensing unit on The Best Bins Bulk Food Container.  The amount was not what we wanted.  Four versions of the prototype part later we were all pleased with the outcome. At that point we were ready to build a new tool.

The amount of time and money saved by being able to rapid prototype this part was significant to our customer.  Without this testing capability we would have been forced to rebuild a mold cavity multiple times, which is both expensive and destructive to the integrity of the new tool.

It should be noted this approach is best used to determine size and fit, not strength and toughness.  Material characteristics will be very different in the prototype than in the final molded version.

Pull Ahead Cavities:

Another approach to prototyping is the concept of pulling forward a cavity in a multiple cavity tool.  If the project is for medium to small plastic parts, then it is very common to use a tool in production containing several cavities of the same part.  In this case it is sometimes wise to build one cavity and use that cavity to product prototype parts.  If changes are required, modifications can be made to that cavity only, allowing all subsequent cavities to be constructed to the newly proven geometry; resulting from the testing on the prototype (pull ahead) cavity.  This is also the prototyping choice where many parts are required for testing and the test challenges the strength and toughness characteristics.

Pull-Ahead-Cavity-plastic-liquid-dispenserSPI Industries used this technique in developing a new plastic collar for Monsanto’s 1 gallon Pump n’ Go “Round-Up” dispenser.  The new tool was to be 4 cavities.  SPI used Mold Flow Software to assist with the tool design.  It was then determined a Pull Ahead Cavity was the right way to go so extensive testing could be done before completion of the other three cavities. We did discover additional changes to be made and thus preserved the strength and durability of the final three cavities.

Reap benefits of creating a plastic prototype for production molding. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries injection molding specialize in custom solutions and mold design. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries injection molding specialize in custom solutions. Bring us your plastic parts and plastic product manufacturing challenges and let us get to work creating solutions.

What is the best type of prototype for your plastic part?

Benefits of creating a plastic prototype for production molding

3d printer plastic prototype a type of prototype for your plastic part

When you are manufacturing a new plastic part that is to be made of plastic you will save time, money, and stress by testing a mold prior to building the tool. Modifications to a tool can be costly and may degrade its overall performance and longevity. Accurate computer aided design (CAD) software reduces the need for prototyping of some parts. Nonetheless, there are many approaches and benefits to creating a prototype of a product. Determining the best type of prototype for your plastic part is your first step.

Choosing the best type of prototype for your plastic part:

Modeling:

Historically the only approach was to have a model made by a professional model builder.  The prototype may have been constructed of wood, plastic or metal depending on the size and function of the test needed to be performed on the prototype to prove its size and function.  Many parts today still require a fully functioning prototype model to get exact data from which a mold can be built.  It is a small price to pay for a good prototype part to avoid or at least reduce the iterations of design changes often required while designing and developing new parts and new products.

Rapid Prototyping:

Modern technology, such as Plastic Part Printing, also known as 3-D printing has made prototyping quick and inexpensive. With each new product’s life span shortening each year there is much more pressure to create new products and get them out on the shelf as soon as possible.

Pull-Ahead Cavities

Another approach to prototyping is the concept of pulling forward a cavity in a multiple cavity tool.  If the project is for medium to small plastic parts, then it is very common to use a tool in production containing several cavities of the same part.  In this case it is sometimes wise to build one cavity and use that cavity to product prototype parts.  If changes are required, modifications can be made to that cavity only, allowing all subsequent cavities to be constructed to the newly proven geometry; resulting from the testing on the prototype (pull ahead) cavity.  This is also the prototyping choice where many parts are required for testing and the test challenges the strength and toughness characteristics.

SPI Industries used this technique in developing a new plastic collar for Monsanto’s 1 gallon Pump n’ Go “Round-Up” dispenser.  The new tool was to be 4 cavities.  SPI used Mold Flow Software to assist with the tool design.  It was then determined a Pull Ahead Cavity was the right way to go so extensive testing could be done before completion of the other three cavities. We did discover additional changes to be made and thus preserved the strength and durability of the final three cavities.

SPI Offers the Most Current Solutions and Prototypes for your Plastic Part

Do you still have questions on which is the best type of prototype for your plastic part? Please give us a call. SPI’s skilled designers and engineers are experienced in the best practices for plastic part molds and the type of prototype for your plastic part that considers your time, budget and best testing for your specific part.

Bookmark this blog for updates on plastic molding technology and plastics manufacturing. Our next blog will cover more information on rapid prototyping or 3-D printing as it is more frequently known. SPI works closely with a local technical college, Ivy Tech for 3-D printing molds. The Engineering and Design Technology students develop 3-D models for SPI customer review. Read more to determine if a 3-D model will be the best type of prototype for your plastic part.

How To Make A Plastic Mold For Plastic Products and Parts

make a plastic Injection mold for plastic logistic loadbars

Injection molded plastic logistic load bars

Most people within the plastics industry are familiar with creating a mold for plastic products. Or, at least have a general understanding of the process that goes into it. However, some general confusion still exists with product designers, engineers, and other professionals about the ins and outs of the process. There are a number of methods to make a plastic mold for products that will be used for manufacturing multiple quantities of products. Each method will take different amounts of financial investment and time. The steps below will get you moving in the right direction to create your very own plastic mold.

1. Determine Quantity

What’s the quantity of plastic products you’ll be producing? The number of parts and custom plastic pieces you need will determine the type of molding you use, and the manufacturer you work with.

Most manufacturers require that your entire build be at least 100,000 parts or greater. If this number is too high then you may have to shop around until you find the right manufacturer who is willing to do the job for you. Contact SPI Blow Molding or SPI Industries today to discuss quantities, larger plastic blow molded pieces or plastic injection molded pieces can be produced at lower quantities and still be cost effective.

2. Your Budget

What will your budget be for this plastic mold? Your budget for your project should include the design and creation of your mold, as well as future modifications.

Your budget can also influence the method of plastic molding you use, as some are cheaper than others. Also, the more complex your overall design, the more expensive the process is going to be.

3. Overall Size and Design

The type of plastic molding your project will require will be determined by the size and design of your product. You can also adapt your design to use a specific plastic molding process. For instance, when using injection molding you’ll generally have to have a smaller design. While, blow molding is usually used to create products, such as, containers, tubes and bottles.

4. Project Materials

Your project design will influence the materials and types of plastics that need to be used. Sometimes, designs will have a specific material that needs to be used for the product to function, while other times the materials can be more flexible.

Make sure you speak with your manufacturer to ensure you’re using the right material for the job.

Plastic Molding Methods Available

There are a variety of plastic molding methods, which can be used based upon your unique project specifications.

make-a-plastic-mold-blow-molded-bellows

Blow molded plastic bellows

The most commonly used methods to make a plastic mold are:

  • Injection molding
  • Blow molding
  • Compression molding
  • Gas Assist Molding
  • Film Insert Molding
  • Rotational Molding
  • Thermoforming

By going through the process above you’ll have every specification you require to build the perfect plastic mold for your product. This isn’t a process you’ll want to rush, as a simple design flaw can have you starting the entire process again from scratch.

If you’re ready to make a plastic mold or product, or have a question about the process, contact SPI today. No question or project is too challenging for our team! We can help to guide first time product inventors through the plastic molding process, or implement a unique solution for a product redesign that your are considering.

New Outdoor Product Manufacturers Benefit from Multiple Generations of Outdoor Enthusiasts

New Outdoor Product Manufacturers had blow molded at SPI

New Outdoor Product for New Outdoor Product Manufacturers

New outdoor product manufacturers are feeling supported by studies that show increases participation and spending in the outdoor recreation industry. Even during the economic recession from 2005-2011 the outdoor recreation economy grew approximately 5% each year.1 In the United States there are 198 million adults between the age of 18-65 and of those, 60% qualify themselves as outdoor consumers.2 With it’s undeniable impact on economic, social and health benefits, outdoor recreation is getting attention from leaders and consumers alike. Last month (February 2015) the Obama administration’s announcement for “Every Kid in a Park” and the new national monument designations brought attention to the importance of the outdoors and introducing outdoor recreation to a new generation.

With America’s youth spending less time outside than ever before, many parents who grew up enjoying the outdoors are working to expose their children to outdoor activities. 43% of outdoor consumers have kids at home.3 Studies by the Outdoor Industry Association show this renewed interest in outdoor activities increases outdoor product purchases by this growing sector. From bicycles and accessories to hiking, swimming, sports and camping gear, outdoor recreation product manufacturers are diversifying their product lines to meet the demands of families getting outdoors and active. Whether outdoor sports enthusiasts or backyard barbecuers, outdoor consumers are all ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicities and income levels. New outdoor manufacturers can assist in raising the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts by developing innovative products that can fit family budgets and lifestyles.

The recent OIA Consumervue study identifies clear consumer segmentations in the outdoor recreation industry. These consumer segmentations can help new outdoor product manufacturers develop specific products that help people participate in outdoor recreation more easily and often. New outdoor product manufacturers can strategize business growth by developing new product lines for existing consumers, discover new consumers with an existing product line and capture new customers with new product lines. A clear example is with the aging baby boomer generation. Many baby boomers grew up enjoying outdoor recreation and still want to enjoy the outdoors. Health and mobility can be limited with this group and they need products that will assist them in continuing to engage comfortably. New outdoor product manufacturers who create products that will help this generation stay active and comfortable while enjoying the outdoors not only increase the aging populations lifespan and well-being, healthier communities and reduced medical expenses result.

• more than 140 million Americans make outdoor recreation a priority in their daily live
• outdoor recreation consumers spend $646 billion on outdoor products and activities,
• Outdoor recreation industry employees over 6.1 million Americans.

Although electronic gadgets are in the hands and homes of preschoolers and the elderly alike, consumers actually spend over twice as much on outdoor recreation as they do on their household utilities annually. A recent study on the frequency and types of camping equipment consumers purchased showed these otherwise distracting electronic devices are often used to research camping equipment purchases in advance of camping trips. From sleeping bags to portable sewage disposal products for campers. consumers read about products online, reviewed them in a store and most often purchased them in the store.

As the generations of American’s who grew up enjoying the outdoors continue to actively engage the younger generations in outdoor recreation more outdoor products will fill their homes, garages, and mini-vans. From sports water bottles to baseball bats, kayak oars and plastic lawn darts new outdoor product manufacturers must find cost effective solutions to meet the demand. As the baby boomers strike out with their lightweight walking canes, sunshade umbrellas, and activity trackers, new outdoor product manufacturers can develop innovative solutions to keep them active in style.

As America heads into Spring and the most active months for outdoor recreation are upon us consider what’s missing in your biking, barbecue, sports or camping gear. Search online or in stores for the outdoor recreation products you need. If you don’t find what you are looking for maybe it hasn’t been invented yet. If you have an idea for a new outdoor recreation product you can contact a local manufacturer to create a plastic mold or a 3-D printer prototype and try to develop it on your own. If creating a small business is not your goal, search for an outdoor product inventor club or ask a molding manufacturer if they have customers who produce similar product solutions. You never know, your invention could help countless people in multiple generations step out into the great outdoors in comfort and style.

 

1. Consumervue Executive Summary, 2014, Outdoor Industry Association

2. Consumervue Executive Summary, 2014, Outdoor Industry Association

blow molded game table football

Blow Molded HDPE Table Scores 2nd Place in Industrial Blow Molding Awards

blow molded game table footballSPI Blow Molding molds the HDPE Buzz Ball Football game table that was awarded 2nd place at the Annual Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE) Awards. The award was granted in the Industrial Blow Molding Division of the 2nd annual blow molded parts competition. The ABC, SPE Blow Molding competition showcases the latest innovations and advancements in the blow molding industry. Entries in 14 categories for packaging and industrial applications are judged on molding design, manufacturing, material application, sustainability and commercial use. The competition was held in conjunction with the 30th Annual ABC and SPE Blow Molding Conference in Chicago, October 5-7, 2014.

ABC Blow molded parts competition 2014Features of the blow molded HDPE table that caught the judges eye were the configuration of the tackoffs for the blow molded area on the top of the game table as part of the extra deep design.

The Buzzball Table game is a sliding-triangle football game that is a take off of the old folded paper football competitions we played on our school desks and school cafeteria tables back in the day. As you see by photos this blow molded table is similar in size to a foosball table but has adjustable folding legs to allow for portability and storage. These product features were considerations during the mold design process along with the desire to reduce any concerns of warping.

industrial blow molded tackoffsEd Wu of 99Studio Inc. in Naperville, Illinois. along with Alex Lopex of Amiplex, Inc. in Miami, Florida are the designers of the table. Wu has worked with SPI Blow Molding staff for many years and always delivers fun and challenging designs for our blow molding engineers. Always up for a challenge, SPI appreciates the recognition for the work the entire team put in to achieve the award winning results.

industrial-blow-molding-HDPEOther 2014 Blow Molding Competition awards were given to Amcor rigid plastics for the Jack Daniels PET flasks under the blow molded packaging cateogry. First place in the industrial blow molding category was awarded to Coleman Co, inc. for their Esky 135-quart blow molded HDPE cooler.

We’re setting our sights on 1st for blow molding awards 2015! Be sure to check back to see how we score. Give us a call today to discuss ways we can create blow molded packing products or blow molded industrial product solutions.