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Pexco Applies Exacting Expertise to Writing Instrument Product

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Challenge:
A leading brand of pens and markers wants to outsource high volume product component manufacturing to a reliable, specialty extruder close to its assembly production and packaging facility in Mexico.


Solution:
Leverage facility location and experience engineering custom extrusions for the medical device, health and safety markets to the assignment. Today, Pexco co-extrudes a high volume of pen barrels and refill casings of varying colors and shapes (round, triangle, square) and ships finished products to the client packaging facility in Baja California.


Innovative Thinking:
The basic ballpoint pen as we now know it has evolved since the first patent was filed in 1888. Ergonomic grips, clear barrels and retractable roller balls are just a few of the writing instrument advances during the past 20 years. However, when it comes to plastic extrusion, to win over a customer in this market segment and convince them that quality could be maintained when outsourcing production, a company must be able to consistently deliver a reliable product that is in many ways mightier than the sword.

Today, Pexco supplies one of the world’s largest pen and marker manufacturers from its operation in Mexicali, Mexico. This site, located in the capital city of the State of Baja California, is the only independent custom tubing extruder in the region and has proven experience delivering products for medical device, health and safety markets.

But location, experience and reputation were not enough to win the assignment. The engineering team set out to prove they could specify materials and produce single pen barrels for the U.S. market within tight tolerances at high volume and speed, without sacrificing quality.

The assignment was a success and the location proved to be ideal. A new extrusion line was rapidly deployed to produce durable pen ink refills from polypropylene. In a little over a month, the plant was extruding finished pieces at a speed of 700 feet per minute or faster, with cut tolerances of 0.010”.

The relationship and outsourcing assignment expanded in 2009 when the company sought a provider for co-extruded pen barrels and refill casing also featuring a high mix of material compounds. Again the work included using a mix of materials including polypropylene, monoprene and elastomer to deliver thousands of durable parts per minute in a wide array of colors and shapes. On-site engineering expertise allowed Pexco to add more lines to the facility to accommodate this request and today the site has dedicated high-speed extrusion technology, packing, and die-head design to deliver approximately four million parts each day for assembly and delivery to North America for distribution

So the next time you pick up your favorite writing instrument to sign a check or permanently label something that you don’t want to lose, consider the engineering expertise, dedication to quality and durability that is built into each product. According to the National Association of Writing Instruments, most ball-point pens can draw a line that is 4,000 to 7,500 feet long. That’s more than enough ink to make a statement.

 

About Pexco:
Based in Atlanta, Georgia with several manufacturing plants across the United States and Mexico, Pexco is a North American leader in the design and fabrication of specialty plastics products. It provides standard and custom products and components to manufacturers and end-users for a broad range of market applications, including the Aerospace, Medical, Filtration, Lighting, and other Industrial sectors. Pexco offers a full range of design, engineering and fabrication services. It operates six Class 7 & Class 8 medical clean rooms. Pexco meets the requirements of ISO 9001:2008, and holds ISO 14001, ISO 13485, 21 CFR 820, OHSAS 18001, GMP, AS9100C, ITAR and other registrations and/or certifications for its manufacturing operations. Pexco is your trusted plastics advisor for specialty plastic products and solutions. For more information, visit www.pexco.com or contact 404-564-8560.

Precision

High volume precision extrusion of pen barrels and ink refill casings.

Exacting Tolerance Specifications

Pexco’s Mexicali, Mexico plant maintains exacting tolerance specifications – lessons learned from medical manufacturing applied to consumer product throughput & efficiency.