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Mastercraft Companies’ Polycraft Industries division will showcase its Film Insert Molding capabilities along with Hytech Forming Systems (USA) Inc., a Phoenix-based IMD (in-mold decorating) and FIM (film insert molding) equipment and tooling supplier, at an open house on Friday, May 21. Mastercraft and Hytech have been working together on a new FIM product for a customer of Mastercraft’s.

Clare Goldsberry

May 11, 2010

4 Min Read
Film insert molding demonstration

Mastercraft Companies’ Polycraft Industries division will showcase its Film Insert Molding capabilities along with Hytech Forming Systems (USA) Inc., a Phoenix-based IMD (in-mold decorating) and FIM (film insert molding) equipment and tooling supplier, at an open house on Friday, May 21. Mastercraft and Hytech have been working together on a new FIM product for a customer of Mastercraft’s.

The decision to hold an open house and invite printers, material suppliers, customers, and potential customers who are interested in seeing what the IMD and FIM processes is intended to demonstrate what the technology can provide in the way of reducing costs associated with secondary operations. Other companies participating in the open house include Esterline Technologies’ (Bellevue, WA) Memtron Input Components that provides the printed panel; and Nazdar, a global manufacturer of inks and coatings based in Shawnee, KS, which provided the inks. 

AccuForm2_web.jpg

Hytech’s Accuform

During the open house, Hytech will form the labels and trim appliqués at its facility in Phoenix, then provide those to Mastercraft, which will demonstrate the FIM process to promote the technology, and the participants’ products.

Hytech USA is a multi-facetted company that provides forming and trimming services to screen printers, injection molders, and contract manufacturers. The company also manufactures the equipment and tooling required to form the film appliqués that are then insert-molded. “If a molder or printer is interested in jumping into FIM they can start out by using our service company,” explains Fred Himmelein, president of Hytech USA. “When volume and revenue justifies, they can purchase the equipment and bring everything in-house. If a company wants to vertically integrate, we can supply it all.”

While Hytech, founded in 1980, is headquartered in Phoenix, the company has facilities in the UK and Singapore to serve the Asian and European markets. Hytech is a one-stop shop for IMD/FIM integration. The company provides primary solutions for forming and trimming such as equipment, form and trim tooling, and processing. Hytech also provides secondary solutions such as design and processing input for part design, printing, and molding. Hytech also provides the end-of-arm robotic tooling for loading the film appliqués into the mold.

“We can provide design and engineering input for the entire supply chain,” notes Himmelein. “In terms of planning we know the optimum layout, what’s needed in terms of materials and tooling, and the services required.”

Typically the forming tools are built using aluminum, while the trim tools are hardened steel. Hytech can also supply the inspection fixtures for quality control. Hytech’s AccuForm FIM equipment has a maximum draw depth of 35 mm. The company typically uses polycarbonate sheet material for the formed appliqué or label, but they also use some acrylic sheet particularly for the appliance industry.

Himmelein says that companies in the U.S. or Mexico don’t tend to be vertically integrated, however in Asia and Europe they are. “To serve some markets, you need to be totally vertically integrated, especially for appliance, automotive, and medical,” he states.

Mastercraft has customers whose products require the inmold decorating process using Film Insert Molding. Over the past year, Mastercraft has been in conversation with Hytech about partnering. “We began discussing creating a virtual corporation in which we could both benefit from improving our capabilities without driving up our overhead,” says Dale Behm, COO for Mastercraft.   “We’ve partnered in a unique way in that Hytech supplies the inlays by forming the plastic sheet for the IMD and FIM process. Mastercraft does the insert molding.”

Because Mastercraft has customers that require the processes, and Hytech knows the various companies in the supply chain, Mastercraft can supply the insert-molded or inmold decorated parts.

Behm notes that Mastercraft also makes a printed circuit using the formed and die-cut film inserts from Hytech that are loaded into the mold in a film insert molding process. Behm says they use mostly PC for the inlay because it has to be able to withstand the heat of the plastic being injected over the inlay.
 
“The circuits are on the film and we mold the plastic around it,” Behm explains. “This process has eliminated the limitations of a hard PC board, and also gives it a three-dimensional appearance for use in a variety of electronics such as front display panels on any type of electronic equipment, such as cell phones, that require unique decoration. It’s such a unique process, and one in which you can make every part a different color just by the inlay using a different color ink. As we go forward we’ll have more projects that require this process.” —Clare Goldsberry

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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