vina - The Dilemma of Alemu
After years of trading in plastic articles, Alemu decided to set up his own manufacturing unit for plastic household products. Now bargaining for a finished product is one thing and the raw materials is another. His quest for "good" machineries and materials started with Europe and ended with China.
- Alemu hired a local consultant who suggested Korean machines and Taiwanese moulds but Alemu found them to be very expensive. Now Alemu did a lot of surfing and contacted many suppliers who sent him various offers. Alemu discussed these offers with his consultant, who had only seen Korean machines and had a limited experience with anything else, and they started comparing the price versus tonnage of the machines.
- Alemu ordered an unknown brand of Chinese injection moulding machine with a 328 T capacity and was informed by his consultant as well as the supplier that this would suffice to make a 20 litre bucket. Alemu orders the machine and places the order of the mould with some manufacturer, who agreed to develop it based on the sample. Alemu's prerequisite was to reduce the weight of the article by as much as possible. It was a bucket made out of PP Copo and weighed 435 grams. Alemu is sent the bucket trial samples by the mould maker, which is 5 grams lesser than Alemu's sample. Alemu is ecstatic.
- He gets his machine, moulds, everything is installed, the material comes in and voila....No matter how hard they try, they are not even able to get a single semi-formed bucket! He sent mails to the machine supplier, who told him to check a bevy of settings. He sent dozens of mails to the mould maker, who responded with his troubleshooting, as he understood.
- One month down and Alemu is still running from pillar to post and meets up somebody who tells him that he is using the wrong material. He had actually ordered 1 x 20 fcl of HDPE Injection moulding grade rather than PP Copolymer!
- He then gets PP Copolymer. This improves the output a bit. He now gets buckets though not filled up to the top. Again the same procedure, spent a lot of time and money, ten days have past. He approaches another consultant, who refers him to us.
- We examined the whole situation and told him that the machine he has is below capacity, it did not have enough pressure to fill up the bucket. Initially, he doubted our motive, thinking we wanted to sell him another machine. We told him that he can buy a machine from anywhere he likes as long as it meets the specifications we need and from a reputed manufacturer.
- He finally told us to give him a machine, which we did, a 408T machine manufactured in Hong Kong, by a reputed manufacturer.
- He gets the machine, mounts the mould, loads PP Copolymer and gets his buckets, 5 grams less than his sample. But during this time, his competitor has already got a mould which is 10 grams less than his original sample and this is bothering Alemu. Besides, his product lacked the finish that his competitor's bucket had.
- He approaches us for a mould. We give him a quote, he compares it with the price of the Chinese mould maker, which was made with an inferior steel as neither Alemu nor the mould maker (who should have) discussed about mould steel. We told him about the quality of metal to be used for maximum productivity and overall product quality. He gave us a chance.
- We took 50 days to complete the mould, sent him the trial samples, which he really liked.
- When he mounted the mould and started production, he got a weight of 380 grams, a shorter cycle time and a perfect cooling. That was a reduction of over 50 grams than his original sample! Alemu continues to make buckets of different sizes and has emerged as one of the market leaders.
- Identifying the target market you are catering to, the quality of the product you need, the material, the machine, the mould and various other parameters have to form a technical equilibrium to produce outstanding results.