Custom molder AGS Technology (Schaumburg, IL) has launched a do-it-yourself plastic part quoting module based on its Injectoblend line of recycled materials, hoping to show potential clients the cost benefits of its in-house compounded recycled plastic. The AGStimator program reportedly generates a quote in less than a minute once users enter a part number, tooling, annual volume, material type, part weight, molding machine size, number of cavities, cycle time, and labor/operator requirements.
AGS VP George Staniulis told IMM that the company's materials can be anywhere from 20-40% cheaper. AGS compounds those materials itself, using recycled plastics and scrap for feedstock. It skips the pelletizing step, however, to remove a compounder from the process stream, which in addition to eliminating a layer of cost also lessens the plastics' heat history. With this cost advantage, Staniulis says AGS can target "shoot-and-ship" jobs that other molders can't, using lower-cost resin as a selling point. "We're a green and sustainable company, and that's good, I don't want to belittle that," Staniulis says, "but our concept was to be a low-cost producer."
In business for 15 years, Staniulis said the company has had to modify its molding equipment to run the scrap, utilizing mixing screws and customizing material handling systems, among other changes. At this point in time, 70% of its business is in automotive, but particularly after the hardship felt in that industry last year, Staniulis says AGS has sought to diversify its customer base, going after new clients in non-appearance parts for the industrial, material handling, and building and construction markets, among others. Its injection molding site in Schaumburg runs 10 machines ranging from 90 to 720 tons, with raw material processing undertaken at a 25,000 ft2 site in Elk Grove Village, IL.
The AGStimator offers six recycled raw materials: general-purpose acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), high-impact polycarbonate (PC/ABS) blend, 33% glass-reinforced nylon 66, impact-modified PC, polyacetal copolymer, and 30% glass-reinforced polypropylene. AGS says these six grades are the most popular of the more than 50 standard and custom formulations in its Injectoblend portfolio.
Chris Racelis, AGS president, notes that many companies don't have the time to pull together drawings, documents, and electronic files to get an alternative material quote for a new part or to market test an existing virgin part. Racelis believes that by using AGS' cost estimator, companies quoting jobs can see the "significant cost benefits" of making products from AGS recycled materials.