Metal stamping and overmolding specialist, Kramski North America Inc. (Largo, FL) has installed a new 140-ton Arburg 420C Allrounder to injection mold cases, covers, and buttons for the new RxEnergy NeverDie Series of sterilizable lithium battery packs for use in orthopedic power tools used in surgery. The job is the first of two in the battery market that Kramski recently landed, with both prompting capital investments, according to Glenn Shaw, director of sales.
Kramski is also stamping the beryllium-copper contact terminals for the RxEnergy battery in-house assembling all components of the battery packs, and charging, testing, and bar coding each finished assembly. This battery technology enters the market as a replacement to standard nickel cadmium batteries, with several purported benefits, including lighter weight, longer life, and faster charging.
|Kramski supplies molded components and assemblies for the RxEnergy battery systems for use in orthopedic surgical devices.|
|Kramski's Largo, FL manufacturing plant features fully automated production cells, helping keep headcount to 20.|
|Lithionics turned to Kramski for help with some of the design and assembly processes for its line of batteries for the mobility and transportation market.|
Kramski has also completed an assembly area for production of lithium-ion battery systems in a variety of configurations for Lithionics Battery's range of products. Here too, Kramski has been contracted to assemble, test, and certify the lithium-ion batteries, which are designed for use in automotive engine start, racing, electric vehicles, marine, golf carts, RV's, and more.
Shaw said his company was chosen for these projects on the basis of its in-house precision metal stamping, injection molding, insert molding, and automated assembly system capabilities. Shaw told PlasticsToday that the founder of Lithionics and RxEnergy came to Kramski with his ideas and collaborated with the company on the designs for several of the stamped components, molded components, and the proprietary assembly process.
"He had the idea and has applied for patents," Shaw said, "while we had the 'brick and mortar', the quality certifications for the automotive and medical industries, the ability to produce prototypes for testing, and the expertise in the stamping, molding, assembly, and, most importantly, welding processes that were critical to the success of the projects."
The final aspect that helped Kramski secure the business, according to Shaw, was the fact that his company could get the tooling and equipment in place on time to meet a "very aggressive" timetable, pass the required Department of Transportation testing for shipment of lithium batteries, and "help our customer beat the competition to market," Shaw said.
Molding assembly cells complete battery cells
Kramski's Florida operation is running four high-speed Bruderer stamping presses ranging from 30 to 60 tons, along with two Arburg Allarounder 370U 55-ton molding presses (55 ton), an Engel Victory 165-ton, plus the newest Arburg. The two smaller Arburg's handle reel-to-reel automated overmolding of nine different versions of fuel-injector components, Shaw said.
Kramski stamps the terminals in the Bruderer press as a continuous strip, and then overmolds plastic in 16-cavity molds with 100% vision inspection of parts. Kramski also forms the terminals, cuts into loose pieces in a servostamping press, and automatically packs the parts for shipment, with all those functions occurring in a self-contained workcell.
Kramski's Engel injection molding machine runs two versions of a connector for automotive electronics in a fully automated workcell. Here too, a Bruderer stamps terminals as a continuous strip, which is then selectively plated with nickel, tin, gold, and silver. The molding workcell consists of a TOX press for forming and singulating the terminals, as well as three scara robots and a 6-axis robot, which places the terminals into an 8-cavity mold and removes the finished parts, There are multiple inspection stations for electrical and visual testing, with packaging in vacuum-formed trays and automated tray stacking and destacking.
Heavy on automation, light on headcount
Shaw said these high levels of automation allow a "very lean shop" of 20 people to produce more than 300 million parts per year on 2 production shifts in Kramski's Florida facility. Shaw said the Kramski facility in India is set up much like the Largo operation, with a focus on high-output defect-free manufacturing, while Kramski's facilities in Germany and Sri Lanka have much higher head counts to support extensive design engineering and tool-building capabilities, as well as high-volume part production. The company is certified to DIN EN ISO 9001, ISO TS 16949, ISO 13485, and ISO 14001.