Monthly Archives: January 2017

Plastics and Industry – What Keeps You Up At Night?

In this blog post we are not going to tell you about the latest and greatest plastic innovation. We are not going to tell you what you should buy, or that this material is the best ever. We are going to ask you one question about your job – what keeps you up at night?

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Does your machined plastic part have chipped edges or other defects?
  • Are your plastic parts not wearing as long as you think they should or could?
  • Are you new to machining plastics?
  • Do you have a part that is a complex shape?
  • Do you need to solve a quality issue at your facility?
  • Have you heard that plastic parts can reduce environmental noise and you are wondering which one to try?
  • Is the possibility of a food recall at your facility keeping you up at night?
  • Why do I get different results when I’m thermoforming the same kind of plastic in the same way?
  • Can I bond plastics with adhesives?

Chances are, someone on our team has seen one or even all of these questions during their years of working in sales, machine shops or manufacturing plants, and they would love to share their knowledge with you and your team. After all, our best success is when you, our customer succeeds. When an engineered plastic solution doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work for anyone…not us and not the supplier who makes the plastic.

At tkEP we know we don’t have all the answers, but we have people with relationships and resources and we are always looking to use those to improve our knowledge of engineered plastics solutions. We train with our suppliers, we train each other, and we provide training to you, our customer. We don’t think knowledge should be a secret, but rather something to share so we can all do better. So, even though we don’t have all the answers, we do have a dedicated team of people with decades of experience working in the plastics industry and we are passionate about our specialty, engineering plastics, and finding engineered plastics solutions.

This past year tkEP furthered their commitment to engineering plastics education when the company added a large training room as part of it’s new Auburn Hills facility. Since it opened in April the Auburn Hills branch has been host to employees, suppliers, customers, and students from places like the University of Toledo. The room features a large screen, wi-fi and ample space for everyone to gather and get hands on experience with engineered plastics, adhesives and more. But our other branch locations don’t let not having a large training room stop them. The tkEP Outside Sales teams enjoy hosting lunch and learn events and open houses for customers at facilities around the country. Lunch and learns are a  great forum for hands on learning with small to medium size groups of people. Customers can delve into topics like best practices for pouring casting urethanes so you can have a successful experience every time. At other times customers need to look at a particular topic like how to avoid food recalls. This was recently the case for Ann-Marie Neideigh (thyssenkrupp Engineered Plastics Outside Sales) who teamed up with Karen DeBard (Ensinger Plastics, pictured below) to bring a Lunch and Learn to a group of food processing professionals who wanted to learn how they can reduce the potential of a food recall. As Ann-Marie noted, “Lunch and learn sessions are a time when we can tailer the training to your needs and bring along our manufacturing partners and together, discuss and answer your questions about those things on your job that keep you up at night!”

In an open forum Ann-Marie and Karen took questions from the customer’s team and discussed materials Ensinger has specifically designed to help reduce food recalls due to contamination during production as well as the basket of plastics available for use in different applications of the food industry. Ann-Marie noted, “the food industry has a lot of very different applications from the hot dry environment of bakeries to the wet harsh environment of processing fresh fruits, meats and more. We really feel one of the best ways we can help our customers sort out all the material options  is to make sure we are all educated on materials and the specifics of applications.  Sitting down and having a conversation over lunch is a great way to do that.” She went on to explain with so many materials available it’s a process to determine exactly what material is just right for an application. Knowing the application details, and what customers need to achieve is a good start. From there we look at all the concerns and find the right balance between performance and cost. There are websites you can search and some new apps that help to narrow down options that can be helpful. But, as a distributor we are able to look quickly across a large number of manufacturers and products, and take into account real life application experience before we settle one one particular answer.

So, what are the questions that keep you up at night? Let us know! We would be happy to set up a Lunch and Learn with your team to answer questions and see what engineered plastics solutions we can help you with,

For more information about engineering plastics visit our library.

To look for specific engineering plastics visit the tkEP online catalog at We are steadily adding new products and plastics information every month.