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Hoffer Plastics Inc., a moldmaker and contract injection molder based in South Elgin, IL, has received the 2015 Supplier of the Year award from Briggs & Stratton, a manufacturer of small engines that power products from eight of the 10 top lawn mower and tractor manufacturers.

PlasticsToday Staff

July 24, 2015

2 Min Read
Briggs & Stratton names Hoffer Plastics supplier of the year

Hoffer Plastics Inc., a moldmaker and contract injection molder based in South Elgin, IL, has received the 2015 Supplier of the Year award from Briggs & Stratton, a manufacturer of small engines that power products from eight of the 10 top lawn mower and tractor manufacturers.

Linda Clarke, Quality Assurance Manager; Bob Deaton, Focus Factory Plant 2 Manager; and Marion Metz, Business Development Manager, were in attendance on behalf of Hoffer at the Briggs & Stratton plant in Murray, KY, to receive the award. It was the only supplier to receive an award from Briggs' stable of vendors for 2015.

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Bob Deaton and Linda Clarke of Hoffer Plastics.

Hoffer has been supplying Briggs & Stratton with components for more than 30 years, but today's OEMs require more than just parts, as Metz is quick to point out. Production quality is a given but now, more than ever, it is about risk reduction, production redundancy and innovation. Briggs wants suppliers who anticipate solutions to problems of which they may not even be aware, and it wants innovative mold design ideas and process technology methods that can help improve quality, reduce cost and speed time to market for its small engines, says Metz. It is also critical that production lines are kept humming smoothly.

As regards risk reduction, for example, Deaton notes that Hoffer Plastics builds in redundancy at its plants-within-a-plant manufacturing system. That includes running multiple molds in multiple presses for a given part number, and a co-generation system consisting of 16-cylinder engines converted to natural gas that can keep Hoffer Plastics up and running if there is an electrical outage in the area. This is no small feat, considering Hoffer's energy demands for keeping 112 presses running.

Innovation also keeps Hoffer Plastics on the leading edge as a supplier to Briggs & Stratton. For example, when Briggs needed a re-design of a carburetor to meet higher emissions standards, Hoffer Plastics successfully produced a plastic carburetor that others said could not be done. This success was a radical improvement in output and tolerances, and it also eliminated many secondary operations compared with a metal cast carburetor that Briggs was considering. The successful carburetor re-design resulted in numerous accolades, including Innovation of the Year 2012 and Supplier of the Year in 2013.

Briggs engines are built in the USA with parts from Hoffer, helping to meet the demand from consumers for more domestic products, creating jobs and strengthening U.S. manufacturing. "The team at Hoffer understands Briggs' requirements and we are truly interested in their success, and the people at Briggs know that," says Clarke.

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