A running start at predictive procurement orchestration

A running start at predictive procurement orchestration

If you’re unfamiliar with PPO, you aren’t alone. Here’s how Westfall Technik discovered it and is turning it into a powerful tool to simplify and streamline procurement.

This is a story of what-ifs. Here are 10 to get started.
What if the procurement process could be more: Disciplined
Predictive. Productive. Data dependent. Strategic.
What if the procurement process could be less: Reactive. Time consuming. Costly. Isolated. Uncertain.

That’s a lot of what-ifs, each with the potential for a strong ripple effect across a business. And at Westfall Technik, those what-ifs are powerful outcomes that today are driven by predictive procurement orchestration (PPO). And even though we are still in the early stages of implementing PPO, we know it is the preferred platform for a highly effective and efficient procurement process at Westfall.

But first, a little background. The company is a $350 million roll up of more than 15 injection molding and mold building companies assembled by private equity funds over a five-year span. Westfall molds plastic parts on demand primarily for healthcare and consumer packaged goods for more than 250 different companies.

In a typical year, the company molds hundreds of millions of parts at a dozen or so locations around the United States. To make those parts, Westfall buys tens of millions of pounds of more than 100 different plastic resins. In many cases, these resins are proprietary blends developed for specific products that Westfall molds for its customers. As you already suspect, all those corporate entities had their own unique procurement processes.

That’s a lot of pressure on an organization like Westfall. There was nothing standardized, streamlined, coordinated, or forward-looking in the overall procurement process. Did I mention that it was costly and slow, too? The big picture might have even been called undisciplined. Westfall CEO Mark Gomulka wasn’t having that for long.

That’s where I came into the picture in early 2022 with my experience as the chief procurement officer and chief supply chain officer at both publicly traded and private companies.

The basics of PPO

Despite that procurement experience, I had never deployed predictive procurement. In fact, automated sourcing when I first heard of it, I rejected it out of hand. Or to be more diplomatic, I wasn’t a fan. But I am now.

My conversation with Edmund Zagorin started at a chief procurement officer event that I was chairing, an event that focused on technology trends across the procurement profession in different industries. When Zagorin isn’t spending time at conferences, he is the founder and chief strategy officer of Arkestro (which at the time was still called Bid Ops).

Let’s start with the generic name itself: predictive procurement orchestration. Zagorin says it’s called predictive procurement because it suggests upfront in the supplier’s quoting process a price for the items a company wants to purchase. It essentially predicts a commercial outcome at the beginning. And then orchestration relates to the platform that coordinates all data and communications in the bidding process. As required, orchestration extends the platform’s reach to key enterprise software layers at the user.

Drilling down, Arkestro’s PPO platform is an embedded layer of intelligence in the form of continuous simulations and predictions running on Arkestro servers and using a range of data points, including real-time market data and statistical models, to monitor and inject recommendations via email into the procurement process.

Westfall procurement staff and suppliers tap into the business opportunity process via email using an interface similar to DocuSign that radically reduces friction from suppliers logging in and having to create multiple profiles with the same customer. Relevant data at key points in the process are pushed to individuals and their personalized control towers, not to a centralized dashboard.

Unlike traditional procurement platforms, Arkestro’s PPO process starts with a suggested price, delivery date, and other relevant conditions for the buy. Bidders respond by email via the platform to the offer in a series of rounds. In each round, individual bidders are ranked by both a predictive model (e.g., comparing an actual quote against the predicted outcome) as well as versus the other suppliers, to let the supplier know where they stand in the process.

As the process tracks toward an optimal commercial outcome, Westfall’s procurement team gets notified with recommendations for award allocation that takes into account the holistic nature of the supplier relationship, commercial history, and even factors like supplier risk and operational performance. What was remarkable to us was that in Arkestro, this process typically takes days, not weeks or months.

While I generally liked the process of PPO, I did not initially embrace the premise. Why offer a price to a supplier? From that point forward, I’m negotiating with myself. Or so I thought.

This is where I connected the dots to something in game theory I had heard about previously, which is called the anchoring effect. It’s a basic premise of Arkestro’s PPO that works alarmingly well.

One example of the anchoring effect on human behavior is organ donation in Germany and Austria. While the two countries have much in common, they have dramatically different participation rates when it comes to organ donation.

In Austria, which has a 99% contribution level, all citizens are automatically enrolled in the organ donation program at birth and are forced to opt-out if they elect not to participate. But in Germany, with a 12% donation level, each person must enroll personally or opt-in to be included. In Germany’s case, attaining the desired outcome is more work (extra decision points, extra paperwork), not less.

In game theory, the anchoring effect, quite simply, selects the preferred outcome upfront in a process that not only removes extra steps but also establishes the desirability of that outcome. It’s the same reason so many marketing messages arrive with a check in the opt-in box for their email newsletter before you even know what the company is selling.

Most people in procurement are taught to never make the first offer in a negotiation. However, making the first offer here is actually a powerful anchoring effect in getting to a preferred price for goods and services relatively quickly. It’s not so much that you are guaranteed to get the price you offer, but rather by going first, you prevent the other person from anchoring, and the power of the other party’s anchor is so influential that people who make the first offer end up ahead.

There is one other benefit. Because no one I know in procurement likes the data input stage of the buying process, it clearly doesn’t hurt to suggest a price upfront to potential suppliers. Quite simply, it eliminates their need to manually enter that number during the process. This approach is contingent upon the purchaser knowing the category/commodity well enough to predict what the outcome should be in a competitive marketplace.

This is where the AI/ML analytics take center stage to analyze the data and determine the proper place to begin the process.

There’s also the matter of taking time out of the process of receiving and analyzing a supplier’s quote, whether that’s part of a formal bidding process or a spot buy-purchase. We’ve all been in negotiations that drag on for an extended period of time, maybe even a month or two. And while that time ultimately might result in a lower price, it can be detrimental too.

For instance, your objective may be to make a buy with the potential to save $1 million a month. If the bidding process extends for a couple of months, that’s $2 million in savings that you can never get back. It’s referred to as the cost of delay (COD) and can be prohibitively costly. PPO is an antidote.

It is also worth noting that PPO does not, as a process, guarantee the lowest possible price. But from what I have found, PPO does generally get to the best price quickly, which, after all, is only one of the criteria in any buy. And it does so without taxing the supplier relationship, which for many of our suppliers is absolutely critical.

My experience over the years has resulted in significant frustrations voiced by suppliers when subjected to reverse auctions for several obvious reasons. This process seems to enable very similar levels of cost reductions through the transparency of the feedback but doesn’t result in a fractured relationship going forward.

There is one qualifier here, too. Arkestro’s PPO starts with informed pricing based on real-time input from sources that track market conditions. Combined with historical data, these real-time information feeds provide valuable insights that naturally lead to an initial price in the supplier’s quote submission process. Because it’s data-driven, we don’t need to spend a lot of time in pivot tables analyzing quotes on the back end. If Arkestro suggests it to a supplier, we know that it’s informed by market data and customized to the competitive environment and supplier base we have at Westfall.

This is not a matter of picking a number out of thin air. Instead, PPO allows Westfall to sufficiently understand the subject matter prior to suggesting a price. Artificial intelligence has a role here. More on that in a bit.

Setting up the pilot at Westfall

Understanding all of this was my “aha” moment with PPO. It’s a good fit for Westfall, which, beyond making great products, is focused on speed and the lowest total cost of ownership, as well as providing negotiation services to our internal customers and reporting reliable, trustworthy data about our supply base and our cost structure. In procurement, PPO is our best shot at being both fast and highly cost-effective.

I got to this point relatively quickly. However, I wasn’t the only one at Westfall who needed to understand the value of PPO. IT and the extended procurement team also needed to understand.

At our headquarters in Las Vegas, I pulled together a team of four in April 2022. It included our CIO and other key stakeholders. Unsurprisingly, IT was plenty busy with other projects. They didn’t need a procurement guy introducing them to new software that they were completely unfamiliar with.

Here’s the good news. As far as Westfall is concerned, Arkestro’s PPO solution is a platform. Everything runs on Arkestro’s servers, not Westfall’s. There certainly is software on Arkestro’s end, but there is no software to install or learn here at Westfall. CIO Andrew Jankowski was much relieved, to say the least. We spent the first four hours or so introducing the PPO concept to the assembled team, laying out the premise and the game theory behind it. From there, we moved on to a pilot for making an indirect materials purchase of new laptops for Westfall. Within 72 hours, the team had reached an agreement to purchase our yearly requirement of laptops using PPO. In only this pilot, we saved significant time and dollars. Now, we could start to see the real-world potential of PPO for a company that was always buying large quantities of many different direct and indirect materials, including plastic resins, to service our customers’ needs.

This was a live test. People quickly noticed there was no user’s manual. That’s because all of what was on their screens was highly intuitive. (See sidebar for a rundown on the steps in the supplier quote request process.)

The secret sauce

In a word, the secret sauce here is data that’s timely and relevant and packaged up with an action, not data that we have to dig through a dashboard in order to know if we’re getting the right quoted price from the best supplier. But it’s much more than internal data about already preferred suppliers. It also includes external, real-time market data from multiple sources.

Example of typical process

  1. Aggregate and specify demand.
  2. Identify potential suppliers.
  3. Shortlist and qualify suppliers.
  4. Invite suppliers to propose and quote.
  5. Tabulate and rank supplier offers.
  6. Downselect and negotiate with preferred suppliers.
  7. Award business to one or more suppliers based on total value, incorporating quoted price and other relevant factors.

In a traditional procurement operation, internal data points such as supplier profiles are the centerpiece of buying data. They include histories, patterns, fluctuations, and frequencies of what has been purchased and for what terms.

In advanced procurement departments, business intelligence software is used. Our CIO, Jankowski, made sure that when I came in, we had dashboards set up with all of our ERP activity showing our spend, orders, and requisitions, all visualized in near-real-time on a set of dashboards. The challenge wasn’t that we couldn’t see any of our spend. The challenge was: how do we use this when we’re interacting with suppliers, and where do we embed and leverage this data during negotiations and strategic sourcing and purchasing activities? As everyone knows, most datasets in procurement aren’t always fully accurate, complete, or updated to the current state. That can also make it challenging to embed or incorporate them into the context of sensitive communications with suppliers. The most frustrating thing is to have so much data that it’s impossible to find the needle in the haystack, and the really important insights are only uncovered after it’s already too late.

In addition, it is not uncommon for such workstream data to be less than the best quality. But it is the company’s data, which carries its own biases. The challenge is to make all data involved in the procurement process complete, consistent, and normalized.

Process with Arkestro

  1. Aggregate and specify demand.
  2. Identify potential suppliers.
  3. Simulate quotes from all potential suppliers using predictive model.
  4. Shortlist and qualify suppliers using both history of supplier relationship and simulation.
  5. Invite qualified suppliers and propose suggested offers.
  6. Provide SKU-level feedback and enable suppliers to revise final offers.
  7. Award business to one or more suppliers based on total value, incorporating quoted price and other relevant factors.

With PPO, Westfall easily accessed and enriched internal historical data with Arkestro’s predictive models and then augmented these simulations using external real-time market data. The latter is as disparate as news reports on commodity prices, economic leading indicators, and even supply chain disruptions, as well as Dun & Bradstreet, Rapid Ratings, and many other sources.

But it’s not only data. With PPO, data analytics brings new relevance to the data. And its artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities allow the platform to learn from the new data and resulting analytics, ensuring more current and precise information.

These predictive models that update themselves based on incoming data from multiple sources are the heart of PPO. This gives Westfall the ability to have a sense of the range of preferred outcomes before we even reach out to suppliers.

In other words, the AI capabilities simulate the supplier’s quotes before we even reach out to the supplier. As a result, we are not asking for a quote but pushing a suggested offer out to our suppliers. To me, this is really the predictive in predictive procurement, and it helps us take advantage of the anchoring effect and insights from game theory and behavioral science that make our process move faster toward a preferred outcome.

This also puts a different spin on our relationships with suppliers. Typically, each supplier knows upfront the relative possibility of winning a contract based on the suggested price and their history with Westfall. Better yet, decisions can be made in a fraction of the time once required and can better incorporate our internal stakeholders’ perspective.

Our suppliers also appreciate the fact that while they have multiple chances to win our business, they are only able to iterate their offers three times. After that, everyone gets fatigued. And with all the information we have prior to starting the first round, there really is no need to go longer than three. Clearly, PPO is not a live reverse auction with seemingly endless rounds that often force people into making irrational decisions based on a fear of missing out. It’s kind of a Goldilocks between the classic RFQ (where suppliers only have one shot to get it right with their best and final offer) versus an auction where there’s potentially an unlimited race to the bottom.

For us, and for our suppliers, it’s the best of both worlds—not too hot, not too cold, just right.

We have also found that our suppliers trust and appreciate the rankings during the rounds because they are at the SKU level and thus can affect our allocation decisions. Not only are they informed where they rank numerically, but they are told how far they are from the leading offer. We have heard that the feedback is valuable and enhances trust and transparency around our decision-making, as well as making it much faster (rather than going back and forth with them). It also injects a bit of predictability into the process. The rankings actually help our suppliers better target their offers on the parts of our business they are most interested in and understand what they need to do commercially to win the business. Three additional benefits of PPO, say our suppliers, are:

  • they have an instant idea of where they stand during a quote evaluation process;
  • there is a minimum of manual data entry on their part, and;
  • they are selling value not only price to us.

Best of all, the level of trust between us and our suppli- ers continues to build with the new procurement process.

The future of PPO at Westfall

At this point, Westfall is using barely one quarter of the capabilities of PPO. We have a long way to go but are on our way. To begin, we are using PPO for strategic direct materials sourcing and purchasing across our resins portfolio, plus some indirect buys like IT. Where we’d like to be is every single time we’re getting a quote, at least run it through the model and see how many of our quotes could be improved and use Arkestro to generate their instant counter-offers to the relevant supplier. We’re really excited about this capability because we’ve seen it show value even when we only have one supplier (provided that it’s a single-source, not sole-source supplier). Our primary emphasis now is integrating PPO into the daily lives of key people at Westfall. That includes rolling out access to the platform to more and more people while ensuring they have access to the control towers that feed data-driven recommendations to them individually.

We are also getting closer to the point where the PPO platform will be tied into our enterprise software systems, especially our ERP system.

Final words of advice

I’ve come to realize over the past few years that the procurement landscape is changing at a very torrid pace. The tools, techniques, and approaches that have been adequate in the past may not be capable of capturing the value required in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace. With this in mind, it is important to note that some elements of the past live on forever and should never be compromised, no matter the advances in technology. These include the following:

  • Informed decisions always drive better results. Avoid “opinion masquerading as fact” at all costs. This is one of the biggest pitfalls in business today as many are afraid to utter those three words: I don’t know. As it has been said many times, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
  • Relationships should never be discounted no matter what technology is in use. Trust remains at the core of everything we do. A win/win is not when one side wins twice.
  • Much has been written and said about AI and ML, and it is certainly offering a whole new dimension to deal-making and business. Don’t overlook the HI (human intelligence) component. This remains key, and that’s why the results of any sourcing activity need to pass through the business leadership before any final decisions are made to ensure all nuances of the decision are considered properly.

Finally, make sure you make any process enjoyable. For those who know me, I’ve always relied on my sense of humor to work through important and challenging issues. This is serious business but can also result in serious fun and be quite rewarding when done properly.

PPO allows Westfall to get the best pricing from preferred suppliers on favorable terms more frequently. That’s a great value proposition from where I sit.

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Westfall Technik Brings New Chicago Plant Online in Record Time with a Little Help from Its Friends at Wittmann

The medical molder took a shuttered, brownfield plant from an empty building to a full-production molding facility in just six months.

When Westfall Technik bought the former MGS Manufacturing Group facility near Chicago in Antioch, IL, last year, to better serve medical device OEMs in the midwest, the plant had been shuttered for more than a year. It needed a “total facelift,” said Chief Operating Officer Mark Gomulka at the time. It also needed to be up and running as fast as possible, and that responsibility rested on the shoulders of Roy Boyd, who was hired as general manager of the new plant. He got the job done in record time.

“We took a shuttered, brownfield plant from an empty building to a state-of-the-art, full production molding facility in just six months,” said Boyd. It helped that he had deep expertise in medical molding with various companies and, in fact, had worked in that very plant before it shut down. When it came time to source auxiliary and molding automation equipment, Boyd immediately went to Wittmann, who he had worked with before. He knew from experience it could accommodate the project’s need for speed and precision.

“I have worked with Wittmann robots and equipment for over 20 years in my career,” said Boyd in a prepared statement. “They were our preferred supplier for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was their service. They were with us from day one, helping us integrate their robots and auxiliaries into our molding machine cells.”

Availability was critical as supply chain struggled

In the new Chicago plant, Westfall is running 15 injection molding machines ranging from 55 to 280 tons. Three Class 8 cleanrooms with ISO 13485 certification house molding cells making medical diagnostic components and labware. Materials ranging from commodity polypropylene to engineering-grade resins are used.

Westfall uses several Wittmann sprue pickers at the plant, as well as more sophisticated Wittmann robots. In addition to needing consistency in picking parts out of the molds, Boyd cited Wittmann’s product availability as a crucial factor. “As we all know, sourcing machinery, equipment, and materials over the past two years has been difficult,” he said. “Ramping up during the global pandemic was a challenge. We needed to get everything quickly. Wittmann not only had the robots and auxiliaries that we needed, but they also were willing and able to send their technicians here to our plant to integrate their equipment and train our operators onsite.”

In addition to Wittmann robots, Westfall Technik is also using Wittmann temperature control units, dryers, granulators, gravimetric blenders and feeders, and material loaders.

The need to communicate

Westfall Technik has 19 locations worldwide and operates in excess of 450 injection molding machines. Consequently, standardizing machinery, molds, and business practices as much as possible is a priority for the company, as is integrating Industry 4.0 capabilities. “All of our machinery and equipment need to communicate,” said Boyd. In the Chicago plant, Wittmann auxiliaries including temperature control units and dryers are connected to non-Wittmann molding machines, providing real-time data that is easily accessible. “Wittman’s equipment is designed to work well and communicate with other brands of molding machines,” said Boyd, which was a huge advantage he added.

Westfall Technik is currently running 15 molding machines at the new Chicago plant, “but we have the capacity to run more than 30,” said Boyd. “Based on Westfall Technik’s aggressive growth strategy, I expect we will be adding new machinery and equipment here soon.” Those growth plans will include Wittmann robots and auxiliaries, added Boyd. As a matter of fact, he said, “we are already in the process of receiving five new robots with supporting auxiliary equipment.” 

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Don’t miss this informative talk by speaker Mark Gomulka at the Injection Molding & Design Expo

Mark Gomulka is CEO of Westfall Technik Inc., a global holding company disrupting the injection molding industry by offering end-to-end manufacturing. Don’t miss his informative talk on how plastics manufacturers can maintain a strong growth curve by identifying new opportunities to enhance their business.

Join leading injection molding companies at the first Injection Molding & Design Expo on May 25-26, 2022 at the Huntington Place (formerly TCF and Cobo Center) in Detroit, MI. Organized by AMI and Crain Communications, brought to you by Plastics News and Injection World. Learn more and register at: http://ow.ly/Z0lN50IMJiS #IMDExpo

Organized by AMI and Crain Communications, brought to you by Plastics News and Injection World.

Watch Video Here: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6922575227596025856/

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Device Talks Boston

Merritt Williams​ Chief Commercial Officer, Westfall Technik, Inc. joins a panel of speakers discussing how the medical device makers faced unprecedented challenges in securing materials and supplies over the past two years. In this discussion, supply chain leaders will detail the challenges, share insights they gained and share their outlook for the future.
#future #supplychain #medicaldevice #plasticsmolding #micromolding #allin

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Westfall Technik Expert Featured at MDM West April 12 and April 13

Vijay Kudchadkar

Director of Advanced Engineering

Westfall-Technik, Inc.

Advanced Molding Technologies that Enable Reduction in Plastic Consumption and Waste

Tuesday, April 12, 2022 2:20 PM to 2:50 PM

Room 210CD

Vijay Kudchadkar · Westfall-Technik, Inc.

Panel: Solving Today’s Challenges in Injection Molding for the Medical Device Industry

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Convention Center Lobby

Len Czuba · Czuba Enterprises, Inc.

Donna Bibber · Isometric Micro Molding, Inc.

Vijay Kudchadkar · Westfall-Technik, Inc.

Juergen Giesow · Arburg

Vijay Kudchadkar is the Director of Advanced Engineering for Westfall Technik. Vijay is a Plastics Engineer with 16 years of experience in injection molding, specializing in material properties, hot runners, screw design, micro molding, and flow simulation. Vijay also has 8 years of experience in extrusion, thermoforming, and blow molding, and has numerous publications and 9 patents in the field of polymer processing. Vijay is an active member of the Society of Plastics Engineers and is currently the Councillor of SPE Ontario and Newsletter editor for the SPE Medical Plastics Division.

Is member of Westfall Technik, Inc. – Exhibitor 4001

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Westfall Technik Names Mark Gomulka CEO

LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The Board of Westfall Technik and Brian Jones, the company’s founder, are pleased to announce that Mark Gomulka has assumed the position of CEO of Westfall Technik. 

Jones, who started Westfall with a vision to create a vertically integrated advanced plastics company, has worked closely with Gomulka for years at Nypro and at Flex. Gomulka joined Westfall as Senior Vice President in January 2020. Together, the Westfall leadership team has launched or acquired 18 companies in less than four years. Westfall enjoys a leading roster of medical and CPG customers, high-performing operators, and a world-class sales team. 

“I trust Mark to lead Westfall as CEO,” Jones said. “I’ve seen executives grow up in the plastics industry for a long time, and Mark knows better than anyone how to execute the integrated vision for Westfall. We’ve worked together closely for many years, and Mark has done a masterful job maturing the Westfall organization.” 

Gomulka has risen rapidly at Westfall, after leading Flex’s medical and precision plastics operations for the prior five years. Previously, he spent 15 years at Nypro in various global operational and leadership roles. 

“I am committed to the success of our customers and teammates,” Gomulka said. “I look forward to furthering our focus on flawless execution, integrated sales, and new capabilities, to attract the best new plastics technologies and talent to the Westfall family. None of this would be possible without the Westfall executive team and the support of our founder, Brian Jones.” 

New York-based private equity firms Lee Equity Partners and BlackBern Partners sponsored the launch of Westfall Technik in October 2017. Benjamin Hochberg, a partner at Lee Equity and a member of Westfall’s board, stated: “We sponsored Westfall with the goal of building a differentiated, integrated plastics company to best serve the needs of leading medical and consumer brands. Brian and now Mark have delivered speed, scale, talent and technology. We are excited to join Brian in congratulating Mark, as he assumes a role to help achieve Westfall’s full potential.” 

About Westfall Technik Inc. 

Westfall Technik is a global holding company that provides highly productive plastics manufacturing solutions to the medical, consumer packaging and consumer goods industries. Westfall Technik’s competitive advantages include modern automated systems, correlative molding processes, and effective industry 4.0 concepts. Brand owners can expect high quality products at an excellent value, a fast response for decreased time-to-market, 100% inspection and traceability from pellet to pallet, supply-chain security compliance, and reliability from a trustworthy team. Learn more at www.westfall technik.com. 


Merritt Williams, Chief Commercial Officer:  

Merritt.Williams@Westfall-Technik.com or (502) 386-1399 

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From Micro Molding Comes Big Things

Micro molding, the process of injection molding micro-sized, precision plastic components, is not new, but Westfall’s approach to the concept is changing the game. We are the only injection molding company to have its own micro molding machine, the M3, which we acquired in December 2018 as part of our purchase of Ontario, Canada-based Mold Hotrunner Solutions Inc. (MHS).

The ISOKOR Micro Molding Method

Since then, our experts have continued to refine the process, named ISOKOR, which is designed to eliminate the use of cold runners and thereby greatly reduce scrap, slash cycle times, and boost overall production efficiency. This is vitally important since conventional micro molding with cold runners often uses expensive, highly specialized materials, such as bio-absorbable/resorbable resins that increasingly are taking the place of metals. We’ve been successfully designing and molding parts from polyetheretherketone (PEEK), polyoxymethylene (POM), and polylactic acid (PLA) bioresins, among others.

Using traditional cold-runner micro molding techniques can result in 90 percent or so of such materials ending up as scrap, leading to an incredible amount of added cost and unnecessary waste. ISOKOR’s direct gating process solves this problem. 

Our M3 machine, which is designed for both prototype and high-volume production, boasts numerous innovative features that separate it from the pack. It has magnetic clamps that offer ultimate mold safety with a resolution of 10 microns able to detect a hair in the mold parting line. It features secure data connectivity via the OPC machine protocol to cloud-based Industry 4.0 solutions, and a free-fall cycle time of 2.5 seconds. The machine also has an integrated robot inside the machine that does part separation. The M3 is an all-electric, pneumatic machine designed to run in clean rooms.

Micro molding machines are defined by how small a micro part they can mold (in weight) while retaining the polymer properties and a consistent part quality. The true micro molding challenge is melt residence. The ultimate solution is a direct-gated micro part without cold-runner waste that weighs less than 10 milligrams. Our M3-D08 machine, for example, features eight direct valve gates that can produce up to 100 million micro parts per year without waste. The micro capability is in the process, the quality and quantity, not in machine size. 

Injection Molding for Medical Devices and Uses

The market for less invasive medical devices continues to grow rapidly. The market segments seeing some of the highest growth rates include drug delivery and management, general surgery, ear/nose/throat (ENT), orthopedic implants, reconstructive surgery, and wound closure. For medical OEMs to succeed, they need to lean on companies such as Westfall whose experts have decades of experience in both micro molding and in the fabrication of micro molds. Our in-house equipment and capabilities include polymer characterization, design, CT scanners and automation expertise, which together provide our clients with a level of confidence that their project will be successful. 

Micro molded parts often weigh just 0.001 to 0.4 grams, and their dimensions generally have tolerance bands of +/-.001” or less. These tiny medical parts are so small that you could put 1,000 pieces on your fingernail. The part may use a novel resin and its ability to fill a given geometry consistently may not be fully understood in the macro molding world. Additionally, the part may have delicate features or finishes that would require special handling and packaging.

Our ISOKOR process allows for better control of the injection process. The cavities are filled and pressurized in milliseconds, thereby improving shot-to-shot consistency, improving cavity replication, and reducing quality issues such as short shots, sink marks and voids. 

Additionally, the direct-gating approach reduces cycle times by 50-75 percent by eliminating the need to wait an additional 4-10 seconds for the cold runner to cool below its ejection temperature. The micro molder also does not have to wait for the cold runner to fill and pack during each cycle.

The result: much faster production, virtually no waste, lower energy usage, cost savings on expensive materials, and high-quality end parts. 

Westfall is unquestionably the new industry leader in micro –– specifically, micro-injection molding. We have essentially “skipped” a generation by taking this technology and to an entirely new level. 

Join us on this exciting journey, as we do big things with micro parts.

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Westfall Technik Acquires Multi-Site Consumer Packaging Molder CPP Global; Expands into North Carolina and China

Westfall Technik Acquires Multi-Site Consumer Packaging Molder CPP Global; Expands into North Carolina and China

LAS VEGAS, NV (July 2, 2021) –– Westfall Technik, Inc. (“Westfall”, the “Company”), a global holding company that provides superior manufacturing solutions for the production of plastic parts in the medical, packaging, and consumer goods industries, announced today the acquisition of Carolina Precision Plastics, LLC (d/b/a “CPP Global” or “CPP”) and its wholly owned subsidiaries. 

The deal greatly strengthens Westfall’s geographic footprint by adding its first plants in the southeastern United States, specifically in Mocksville and Asheboro, NC, as well in Kaiping, China, in Guangdong Province. “This provides a further supply-chain advantage to Westfall when it comes to serving key customers in both the packaging and healthcare sectors,” said Merritt Williams, the firm’s Chief Commercial Officer. “CPP’s North Carolina plants are ideally located to serve the multitude of brand owners with a manufacturing presence in the surrounding area.” 

CPP, which runs about 100 injection molding machines in its three facilities, also brings expertise in vital secondary services, such as high-volume, fully automated assembly and sophisticated decorating capabilities. In total, CPP’s three plants cover some 335,000 square feet of manufacturing space. 

“This is just the next step in creating a truly world-class molding and tooling business that is built on a strong culture and unquestionable customer service,” according to Westfall CEO and founder Brian Jones. 

A leader in North America in the injection molding of heavy-wall PET jars, CPP also operates an innovative, collaborative design center and has a strong sustainability profile. The firm is a significant user of recycled resins and biopolymers in its products.

“This highly strategic, synergistic deal greatly strengthens our presence in the fast-moving consumer goods segment,” said Mark Gomulka, Westfall’s Chief Operating Officer. “CPP Global is a valued packaging supplier to several leading personal care and beauty companies, such as L’Oréal (serving their L’Oréal Paris and Kiehl’s brands), Estée Lauder, and Burt’s Bees, among others.” 

For CPP Chief Executive Officer Brian Tauber, the partnership with Westfall offers a clear path forward for continuing the upward growth trend that CPP Global is experiencing right now. “I’m thrilled to combine our strengths with the breadth and depth of Westfall’s capabilities to enhance our ability to provide our employees, customers, and other stakeholders with more opportunities to grow together,” said Tauber. 

The terms of the investment were not disclosed. Westfall was represented by Morrison Cohen LLP as legal counsel. CPP Global was represented by Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP as legal counsel and Stifel as financial advisor.  

About Carolina Precision Plastics, LLC

Carolina Precision Plastics is a global plastic injection molder in the beauty care, cosmetics, beverage and consumer goods markets, providing its customers molding, assembly and decorating capabilities built on a foundation of an industry-leading lean culture. Its global manufacturing presence and commitment to a more sustainable packaging future afford customers the most efficient and environmentally responsible options for their packaging needs. Central to its Lean North Stars, CPP’s journey focuses on providing value to its customers and ensuring a safe, satisfying work environment to its entire team. For more, visit www.cppglobal.com.

About Westfall Technik Inc.

Westfall Technik is a global holding company that provides highly productive plastics manufacturing solutions to the medical, consumer packaging and consumer goods industries. Since its founding in Las Vegas in October 2017, the company has acquired or launched at least 19 businesses across North America. Westfall Technik’s competitive advantages include modern automated systems, correlative molding processes, and effective industry 4.0 concepts. Brand owners can expect high quality products at an excellent value, a fast response for decreased time-to-market, 100% inspection and traceability from pellet to pallet, supply-chain security compliance, and reliability from a trustworthy team. For more, visit https://westfalltechnik.com

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Westfall Technik Opens New, Purpose-Built Medical Molding Plant, Clean Room in Chicago

LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fast-growing plastic molding and tooling specialist Westfall Technik Inc. is answering the call from medical device OEMs who need more North American manufacturing capacity by significantly boosting its clean-room capabilities.

The Las Vegas-based firm has just completely refitted a brownfield structure and opened it as a purpose-built, 40,000-square-foot facility near Chicago that features three Class 8-certified clean rooms and one white space certified for meeting Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). It further expects the clean rooms, which can accommodate up to 23 injection molding presses, to gain ISO 13485 certification by this September. The GMP-compliant space, meantime, has the room to take up to 15 molding machines. Press sizes will range from 35 to 400 tons in clamping force.

The site also features a fully functional tool room, with dedicated, climate-controlled mold storage space, according to Chief Operating Officer Mark Gomulka.

Additionally, in just the past 18 months, Westfall tripled its clean-room space in Riverside, Calif.; doubled it in Union City, Calif.; and installed new clean rooms in both New Richmond, Wis., and in Tijuana, Mexico, he said.

This all is part of growth spree that has seen the firm acquire or launch some 19 businesses in North America in less than four years.

Westfall Technik is operating on the “If we build it, they will come” strategy as it relates to medical molding capacity, Gomulka notes, because “as soon as we put out one of our footprints, we sell it out immediately.”

The new site has a molding history, having begun as All West Plastics Inc in Antioch, Ill., just northwest of Chicago. Germantown, Wis.-based custom injection molder and toolmaker MGS Mfg. Group Inc. then bought the plant in 2006, before shuttering it in 2020 to consolidate production in Wisconsin.

Technik bought the shell of the factory and gave it “a total facelift,” and Gomulka says he has hired several experienced employees who had worked at the plant under MGS.

Westfall also plans to install three of its M3 micromolding machines in the Chicago plant, and make it a micromolding center of excellence. The M3 is an all-electric, precision micromolding technology that Westfall acquired when it bought Ontario, Canada-based Mold Hotrunner Solutions Inc. (MHS) in December 2018. The machine can micromold, without waste, highly engineered materials such as bio-absorbable resins into microscopic-sized parts.

Additionally, Westfall is considering shifting production of its NxtBio brand of bioscience laboratory consumables to the new Chicago site. The company in May 2019 acquired Claremont, Calif.-based NxTBio Technologies, whose product line includes pipette tips, filter tips, tubes and strip tubes, vials, multi-well plates, and related racking systems.

“Ultimately we will be investing millions of dollars in new, all-electric machines for this site,” said Gomulka. While not committing yet to which types of presses they will buy, he said that Westfall’s preferred electric brands are KraussMaffei, Sumitomo, Netstal and JSW.

Westfall’s portfolio of healthcare-related products includes medical devices, pharmaceutical delivery systems, diagnostic tools, and consumer health products. This includes the molding of plastic parts used in Covid-19 diagnostic rapid testing for both home and clinical use.

The new Chicago plant helps to fill out the company’s regional production capacities, notes Gomulka. “This is a necessary location for us, right in the Midwest, in the middle of the medical corridor that runs from Chicago up to Wisconsin.” In the Midwest, the company already operates facilities doing toolmaking in Willernie, Minn.; molding in New Richmond, Wis.; and both tooling and molding in Wakefield, Mich., in the state’s Upper Peninsula.

About Westfall Technik Inc.

Westfall Technik is a global holding company that provides highly productive plastics manufacturing solutions to the medical, consumer packaging and consumer goods industries. Since its founding in Las Vegas in October 2017, the company has acquired or launched at least 18 businesses across North America. Westfall Technik’s competitive advantages include modern automated systems, correlative molding processes, and effective industry 4.0 concepts. Brand owners can expect high quality products at an excellent value, a fast response for decreased time-to-market, 100% inspection and traceability from pellet to pallet, supply-chain security compliance, and reliability from a trustworthy team. For more, visit www.westfall-technik.com.

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A New Circular Solution: Polycarbin and Westfall Technik are Collaborating to Bring Circular Materials to the Biomedical Industry

LAS VEGAS, July 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Westfall Technik is announcing a new partnership with Polycarbin—a software enabled biomedical plastic recycling company that has developed a method for diverting single-use scientific plastics from landfills, incinerators and recycling it back into the hands of scientists and clinicians as circular economy products. Westfall Technik recognizes a partnership with Polycarbin as a unique opportunity to revolutionize the biomedical plastic life cycle and create the first circular economy in the health sciences.

Through this joint venture with Polycarbin, Westfall Technik will be able to offer its customers:

  1. The first opportunity to buy laboratory products with circular economy (recycled) plastic with consistent quality through its NxtBio line of life science and biomedical supplies, as well as products made for brand owners

In addition, Polycarbin will offer its customers:

  1. The first real opportunity for scientists and clinicians to recycle their plastic waste
  2. High-resolution waste analytics software
  3. Personalized carbon-emission offset data

“Our goal is to set ourselves apart in the Sustainability arena by leveraging our integrated technology solution to deliver products with high levels of recycled content and drive the circular economy. We have achieved up to 100% recycled content inclusion levels for our customers in the Consumer Products Goods and Food & Beverage areas, and with this partnership will be the first company to introduce recycled content in the life science and biomedical space,” says Allison Lin, VP of Sustainability at Westfall-Technik. “We welcome the opportunity to help both CPG and Medical customers run high levels of recycled content for new and existing products.”

Using a system that leverages low-cost front-end segregation and a waste analytics platform, Polycarbin is positioned to capture and repurpose valuable scientific plastics. Polycarbin’s services provide more cost-effective and environmentally responsible waste management solutions to research labs, biopharma, and clinical labs while closing the loop on the biomedical plastic life cycle. Learn more at http://polycarbin.com/.

“Polycarbin is transforming resource management in the health sciences,” says James O’Brien, Co-CEO of Polycarbin. “We are incredibly proud to be partnering with an industry leader like Westfall Technik that has a track record of championing circular economy innovations. Utilizing our waste diversion platform, Polycarbin is helping our clients across biopharma, healthcare, and research to reduce the carbon footprint of innovation.”

Westfall Technik is a global holding company which provides highly-productive plastics manufacturing solutions to the medical, consumer packaging and consumer goods industries. Westfall Technik’s competitive advantages include modern automated systems, correlative molding processes, and effective industry 4.0 concepts. Brand owners can expect high quality products at an excellent value, a fast response for decreased time-to-market, 100% inspection and traceability from pellet to pallet, supply chain security compliance, and reliability from a trustworthy team. Westfall Technik recently joined the Association of Plastic Recycler’s Demand Champions Program and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Global Commitment for a New Plastics Economy. 

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