New applications for narrow channels
Case study and task
Technology and its benefits
The 300°C heated plastic enters the injection mold and spreads to its furthest corners. After a moment, the mold opens and a few seconds later 100 yogurt cups fall out. The mold then closes and the process begins again.
This great speed can be maintained only because the plastic is extremely rapidly cooled to 40°C. Therefore, the placement and distribution of the cooling channels when constructing the injection mold is vital.
The channel structure technology requires considerable expertise, since one millimeter wide channels must withstand multiple and extreme heating and pressurizing conditions over long periods of time. It takes only a single leak to bring the injection molding machine to a standstill, interrupting the whole production process: Within minutes the world has to do without thousands of laptops, car rear-view mirrors or telephone handsets. This not only leads to substantial downtime costs for the producer but also to liability claims against the mold manufacturer.
Your Career Opportunity
Molding Incorporated specializes in designing channel structures, fitting them into the mold and, in particular, ensuring the quality of the channel structures. You are sitting in the passenger seat of Mr. Adam´s car, he is the company CEO, and you are traveling to a customer in Germany. After crossing the border into Germany, he steps on the gas: The car accelerates to 200 km/h, the engine roars and its temperature rises rapidly.
"And that is how the molds are cooled by means of the channel structures," he says calmly. "As you see, it requires considerable expertise, which has to be developed over decades of work. In addition, it needs appropriate strategic partnerships to be able to offer this industrial service." You reply: "Yes, that's really interesting. It's just a shame that this fascinating world is completely foreign to the end customer."
In the meantime, you are racing towards Munich at 220km/h, and the engine temperature has stabilized. Mr. Adam continues: "I want you to find me an application for channel structures outside of plastic injection molding, which cannot involve the automotive industry. In addition, the new application must meet the following criteria:
• The new application has to be found in an industry where the quality of the components and/or the efficiency of the production processes is very important.
• The new application should utilize our existing core competencies. If this is not possible, expertise can be acquired through strategic partnerships.
• The new application must not be price sensitive, i.e. the margin should be at least 20%. Ideally, the new application has a significant advantage over other processes in terms of cost reduction and/or improved performance.
If you can show me a good case, then I´ll hire you immediately in order to implement the idea." You look out the window, see the cars you are overtaking flash by, and think.
1. Read the case
2. Study the background materials
3. Check your knowledge by completing the multiple choice questions
4. Create a team that has the necessary skills to solve the case, or join an existing team
5. After you have successfully gathered your team, you will be invited to a webinar by your supervisor
6. Solve the case as detailed in the assignment
7. As soon as you have completed the case, your work will be evaluated by instructors, experts, and your team members, and you will receive a certificate and feedback
1. Create a document and list potential additional areas of application for ‘narrow channel structures’. You can use creativity techniques to identify new fields of application. Your coach will help you with this!
2. Evaluate the potential for success for each of the new application areas. In particular, your evaluation criteria should include the necessary quality and reliability requirements.
3. Develop a business model for an application area of your choice. You can use the nine modules of the business model canvas in order to construct and organise a business model.