Case Study: Refrigerator Manufacturer

Customer:  Refrigerator Manufacturer

Challenge: Replace powder-coated steel with cost-saving plastic extrusion

White powder-coated steel has a distinctive look but can be very expensive. Recreating that look with a plastic extrusion was the challenge Intek Plastics was given by a leading refrigerator manufacturer for its shelve edging. Adding to the complexity of the task was the need to match the performance and shape of the steel while producing the extrusions in eight different lengths to match the sizes of shelves.

Approach: Evaluate materials, refine manufacturing processes

Intek’s design engineers worked with the customer to identify all of the specifications and requirements needed in this new plastic part. Based on Intek’s experience with a multitude of thermoplastic compounds, the team determined that a polycarbonate material would best match the color, gloss, durability, appearance and cost requirements. Intek conducted extensive testing to determine the precise manufacturing process inputs needed to result in a polycarbonate extrusion that most closely matched the powder-coated steel.

Result: A lower-cost look-alike

The customer is thrilled with the results of the collaborative design development process. The extrusions are durable, look much like powder-coated steel, and fit together seamlessly with the multiple sizes and shapes of shelves. Best of all, the company met its primary objective of significantly reducing its production costs.