All's Well that Begins Well

In the development of plastic molded parts it is important to make the right decisions as early as possible - THIEME can help


Choosing the wrong material or manufacturing process for a molded part application can’t be corrected later in the production process. To ensure that the project is on the right track from the start, THIEME GmbH & Co. KG with headquarters in Teningen /Breisgau offers comprehensive qualified consultation about material selection, product design and then leads the project to a successful completion.


For forty years, Thieme has been specializing in the manufacture of molded and functional parts made of polyurethane using the reaction injection molding process (RIM). This  material is a good choice for numerous industrial applications, from medical to vehicle technology.  Nonetheless, it is not the optimal solution for every design or application. In order to provide other manufacturing methods such as injection molding, structural foam  or thermoforming Thieme and its partners have launched the "Centre for Plastics Technology and Marketing." .


"For us, the partnership ideas are of primary importance for a project", managing director Frank Thieme explains the new organization of his company. "We want to ensure that every customer receives the optimal solution for his needs. The partnership with additional suppliers, who are specialized in different materials and manufacturing processes, makes it possible for Thieme to offer the customer consultation on the basis of his design and functional requirements independent of material and manufacturing process used. To that  end, as a first step the design and functional requirements of the customer are analyzed and evaluated with reference to the expected yearly quantities. "Because the advantages of different materials and manufacturing processes are not only dependent on the functional specification, but rather on the number of units produced", explains Frank Thieme. At this level, a selection can be made on the  types of  materials used,  the manufacturing processes and a rough cost estimate can be developed. 


Careful evaluation of the concept
the Thieme plastic molding experts look at the project in detail, discuss possible materials and manufacturing processes with the customer to  make the first recommendations. "It is very important that the parts are then engineered further  after the determination of the material and process", says Juergen Zanger, sales representative at Thieme.  "If the functional demands change and the selected manufacturing process becomes inefficient, we can react early and select an alternative process or optimize the geometry in regard to the manufacturing process which was initially selected."


A very important aspect in this connection is functional integration: "If the customer invests in a series-production tool, then he should also receive the maximum performance from it", explains Zanger . "For this purpose, we also evaluate parts and modules which border on our moulded part, e.g. fastening elements such as assembly sleeves or attachments for internal modules. Every additional component which we can cost-effectively integrate in our moulded parts is - an advantage for the customer, not lastly with regard to the simplification of the assembly processes." Once the evaluation has been made with regard to functional integration, the customer receives an indicative quote for later implementation.


Tangible models
Now we come to the details: The Thieme designers develop the components with regard to function as well as material and process-oriented in 3D CAD. The decisive project parameters are set down in a specification which is prepared together with the customer. A FEM computation can be used to estimate critical forces or stresses in the moulded parts which are then considered in the design. "For the evaluation, the customer does not only receive abstract CAD data from us, but rather on request also design and functional models in all popular model manufacturing processes," explains Juergen Zanger. As a rule these models are already created from the original material and are thus suited for certification or internal test series. Now, essential decisions must be made about the following production process because knowledge gained from the production and testing of the models flows directly into the development of the serial parts. At the same time, precise cost estimates can now be made for the further development process and the following manufacturing process.


Are all specifications taken into account?
Even if the development result already has hands and feet, certain things can go wrong - for example if important specifications are not observed for later certification. Because of the  large number of product applications realised by Thieme - more than 4000 in the last 40 years, the Teningen plastic specialists are equipped with a wealth of experience and can therefore also advise their customers optimally. "Our inhouse quality guidelines - The Thieme Quality Guideline (TQG) - forms the basis for this", explains Juergen Zanger. "For certification, the fire protection requirements in accordance with UL 94 V0 and DIN 5510 must be particularly considered". This applies for both raw parts and finished parts.


From tool construction to painting
The time has finally arrived: The tool construction for the serial production of the parts can begin. This project phase is also completely managed by Thieme: Samples are made on the tools used for final production under the conditions of final production on the basis of Thieme's own guideline TWN (Thieme Tool Standard). The customer receives an initial sample for each component together with an initial sample test report for the approval of the geometry. If this initial sample is approved, then a decision must still be made about the surface finishing of the plastic parts. "Only water-based environmentally friendly lacquers in accordance with the VOC guideline are used in our robot-supported painting system, emphasizes Thieme salesman Zanger. The lacquers are selected in accordance with customer requirements and presented to the customer in the form of lacquer border samples. The automated application of the lacquer ensures uniform surface quality even if a combination of different manufacturing methods are used in a single moulded part. "The various possible surface designs are also defined and described in our own quality guideline TQG", adds Juergen Zanger. "Everything we offer the customer is tested several times and meets the defined requirements."


Preassembly and logistics
The Thieme service does not end with the manufacturing and finishing of the moulded parts, because the plastic manufacturer from Baden places great value on offering the customer comprehensive service. This extends from the preassembly of the finished plastic parts to the delivery logistics for the finished modules. "Above all, we assemble mechanical and electrical finished components for many of our customers", explains Juergen Zanger. "In the process we handle work from simple drilling with drilling gauges to the assembly of threaded bushings to the complex gluing of diverse components."


The last step to a successful product is the delivery of preassembled parts. "Packing and storing plastic parts correctly is a science in itself", knows Zanger. "Since we develop, design and produce moulded parts ourselves, we also know how they should be stored." From throw-away cartons to our own manufactured wooden boxes through to metal frames, every part is given the best packaging. Thus the smallest moulded parts find their way safely and undamaged to the customer just as well as the 40-kilogramme heavy weights. With its launched "Zero-Error-Strategy", Thieme has succeeded in reducing the error rate in the areas of packing and logistics to a few isolated incidents per year.


And if something still goes wrong, the Thieme partnership idea takes effect: "Even if a project involves various materials and manufacturing processes - and thus also several partner companies - our customers always have only one contact and guarantee partner: Us!", emphasises Juergen Zanger. "Because we do not only take over the all around support of a project from the consultation to the delivery of the finished moulded parts, but also assume total responsibility to the successful conclusion." Only when the customer is completely satis–fied, can Thieme say: All's well that ends well!





All's Well that Begins Well
The production of RIM molded parts is a complex process. Thieme is attending the process from the development to packaging of the finished parts. Important for the success of the project is the choice of the ideal material at the beginning of the process.


Additional information can be downloaded:



Robert-Bosch-Straße 1
79331 Teningen

Phone +49 (0) 76 41 / 5 83-0
Fax     +49 (0) 76 41 / 5 83-110