QC Precision Machining
Case Studies: Case Studies
Tyco Electronics
Creative Packages Plus
The Topps Company, Inc.

Tyco Electronics Case Study;

Few companies appreciate precision machining as much as Tyco Electronics, the world's largest manufacturer of passive component electronics based on "interconnect technology."

Tyco Electronics manufactures over 500,000 precision-engineered products (including connectors, relays, circuit breakers, active and passive fiber optic components) across many industries, including data and telecommunications networking, energy, critical communications, and defense. Tyco and its 100,000 employees are committed to infusing every product or service they provide with a performance advantage.

For Tyco Electronics, performance advantages are measured in millimeters. Case in point-the tiny holes that must be drilled into plastic sheets to make sockets for connecting computer chips to circuit boards that creates one of Tyco's signature technologies.

"Our company provides an interconnect solution between computer chips and circuit boards," says Steve, Senior Planner and Buyer for Tyco Electronics. "Unlike most interconnect solutions, Tyco's does not require soldering; engineers like that."

Tyco's solution involves injecting a silver polymer into a tiny socket hole to create an electrical connection. To insure the requisite level of precision (known as "tight tolerance" among engineers), Tyco Electronics turned to QC Precision Machining for its MPI manufacturing beginning in 1998.

"Our products require staying within an exacting specification, down to thousandths of a millimeter;" says Tyco Prototyping Specialist Catherine. "QC Precision Machining gives us that tight tolerance."

Typically, QC Precision Machining is called on to drill 5 mm-thick plastic sheets to accommodate the Tyco sockets. The plastic is the insulator or the carrier of the silver mix. QC Precision Machining also drills or routs thicker materials (usually plastics 9-13 mm thick) for accompanying parts such as stops.

Tyco's working partnership with QC Precision Machining is now in its second decade and is going strong.

"QC Precision Machining differs from most other suppliers in terms of flexibility," Steve says. "They provide tight-tolerance products in short lead-time that are high quality and have good repeatability."

That's the main reason that Catherine places between 15 and 20 orders with QC Precision Machining every few weeks. "QC Precision Machining is great: they provide precision parts and they work well with our engineers."

Creative Packages Plus

Job shops are typically small manufacturing operations that perform specialized processes (small customer orders or batch jobs) that require specific skills. When finished, these operations move on to different jobs and serve a crucial role in bringing products to market.

"When the phone rings in this office and a customer asks for something, say, the cutting of flat plastics for use in products, we always say we'll look into to it," says Paul, president of Creative Packaging Plus, located in Hilton Head, South Carolina. "We're basically a job shop, a manufacturer's representative, and we job a lot of work out."

For over 35 years, Creative Packaging Plus has helped businesses meet design and manufacturing challenges, making products cost less by helping companies find more effective ways to manufacture them. The firm's design engineering experts and network of state-of-the-art manufacturers avails clients of a wide range of materials and processes and the creativity to design innovative, cost-effective products and services.

Creative Packaging Plus could never serve this vital role in the product development process without partners of its own. For over a decade, QC Precision Machining has provided Landry with one of his most mission critical partnerships.

"We do a lot of cutting: water cuts, laser cuts, dye-cast cuts, in our business and QC Precision Machining cuts a lot of flat plastic for us," says Landry.

Most of the products Creative Packaging produces are related to the water heater industry. They complete processes that turn materials into finished products, such as circuit boards and plastics used in cabinets.

In turn, Creative Packaging Plus relies on outside shops to perform various functions. Until the mid 1990s, they had used a Massachusetts-based supplier for their drilling needs. The work was not satisfactory to Landry. Through word of mouth, he learned of Shawn Devine, president of QC Precision Machining, and began a working relationship in 1997.

According to Landry, QC Precision Machining now ships products to Creative Packaging Plus every week. "What they do is very important to us, lots of machining of injection molding and other types of molding," says Landry.

"We have a whole bunch of suppliers, and QC Precision Machining is our star pupil," says Paul. "They're a wonderful company: the quality of their work, the level of their service, and the relationship they've built with us is outstanding."

"They sure make life easy for us," says Landry.

Bio-Rad Laboritiries, Inc.

When a research laboratory needs to analyze the molecular makeup of a drug they are developing, or perform regulatory testing on food or other consumer products, they turn to Bio-Rad Laboratories.

For over 50 years, Bio-Rad has lead the way in the manufacture of analytical products and systems used throughout the healthcare, pharmaceutical, life science, and clinical diagnostics industries. It currently supplies over 85,000 research organizations, government agencies, and manufacturers around the world.

Bio-Rad Laboratories' Life Science division is renowned for pioneering products used in Gel Electrophoresis, a process used to separate and identify proteins in blood plasma and other biological materials.

QC Precision Machining plays a crucial role in the delivery of these products, "Electrophoresis uses plastic tanks with lids," says Jason, a Product Manager for Bio-Rad's Life Science Research. "Gels are put between glass plates along with protein samples and an electric charge (from a platinum wire) pulls proteins into the gel."

QC Precision Machining makes the plastic combs that form the wells used in this process, a role that requires unwavering and consistent attention to detail. "The combs are spaced millimeters apart, and the thickness of each comb has to match the thickness of the spaces," says Jason.

QC Precision Machining provides the raw materials and assembles these devices based on Bio-Rad's specifications.

Jason's work brings him in contact with more than 100 different manufacturers that supply Life Science Research with parts and products. Over the past decade, QC Precision Machining has become a vital strategic partner.

"It's hard to find vendors who focus on tight tolerance machining, and who understand our products and our needs," says Jason. "QC has the flexibility to deliver highly specialized products-ones that we may only sell 20 of in a year."

What has caused the partnership to expand, however, is QC Precision Machining's capability to fill large orders and deliver a wide range of products.

Following a restructure, Bio-Rad recently needed a manufacturer to produce over 150 separate products. "QC picked up the ball and got things under control in a matter of months," says Jason.

QC Precision Machining also adds value to the products they deliver, says Jason. Sometimes they're are small, such as putting labels on products; sometimes they're mission critical, including ultrasonically welding pieces of polycarbonate to make individual parts.

"We place orders and QC meets them with outstanding quality," says Jason. "Their customer service is excellent; their response time is quick, and they always seem to be looking out for their customer's interests."

Ultimately, Jason says, it's the standard for customer satisfaction that distinguishes Bio-Rad's relationship with QC Precision Machining. "It's nice to work with a vendor that is not so bottom-line driven," Jason says.

The Topps Company, Inc.

The Topps Company invented the modern baseball card in 1951 and for decades stamped its many brands (which includes Bazooka bubble gum), onto the happy, hopeful consciousness of the Baby Boom generation.

In the 1980s, once-happy kids became savvy collectors, the trading card market exploded, and Topps lost its long-held monopoly. To maintain its edge, Topps continued to find new ways to make its cards more unique and appealing to collectors.

By the 1990s, baseball cards had gone far beyond color photos on cardboard sheets, each cut into 132 cards. Topps wanted to offer fans a literal piece of the game, setting bits of memorabilia or relics onto card fronts. To increase rareness, they also needed a convenient, consistent way to produce special cards in smaller ratios to its standard print runs.

Topps turned QC Precision Machining for the tools and procedures to manufacture these unique products.

"QC's rout process enables us to cut various elements on the front of each card," says Tom, Topps' Director of Quality and Manufacturing. "We really didn't have this capability until we began working with them."

QC has the capability to machine cards with different quantities from thousands to one. Thus increasing the end use value of the card to the consumer. QC also has the capability to "Break the Mold" which is to actually take the plate that printed the card and engrave the logos and names as well as enclose memorabilia/relics to the construction of the card. Relics can be pieces of game worn or used jersey's, bats, balls, and gloves. "We can now give Red Sox fans their own piece of Fenway Park's Green Monster," says Tom.

Being the only one in the world. QC and Topps engineer how the card will be laid out on the huge sheets, which are cut down to fit QC's setup. The cards are printed and packaged at different locations throughout the United States.

QC makes it easy for Topps to recast a card into multiple products. A card for Red Sox pitching star Daisuke Matsuzaka, for example, can have a Triple Relic encasing bits of baseballs he threw in spring training games.

The ability to easily produce high-end cards has made Topps a smash on eBay, for which they now make exclusive sets for the online market.

According to Tom, QC's rout process is what adds the most value to Topps' products. "Traditional methods don't provide the intricacy of the cuts or the ability to make changes," says Tom.

"Before QC, we could do some things with laser cutting, but it was tedious and its use was limited."

With QC Precision Machining as a partner, Topps seems to have no limits. QC gives Topps the technology to sell a wider variety of increasingly intricate cards-which range in price from $1.99 a pack to $250. This partnership helps Topps be the leader in the industry.