Northern Plastics Inc. was hired by a client to manufacture a custom-built thermoformed hopper for their line of walk-behind salt spreaders.
The client reached out to us due to our 35 years of experience in fabricating custom parts for a wide range of industries.
The purpose of the salt spreader hopper was to store a fixed amount of deicing salt and feed it in a controlled manner to the discharge chute to be scattered by the equipment’s impellers.
The hopper needed to be designed to the client’s requested dimensions in order to be mounted on the spreader’s intended steel frame. We worked closely with client-provided drawings and specifications to ensure that the final product would meet the design criteria and be built within tight tolerances.
Since the walk-behind salt spreader needed to accommodate capacities in excess of 100 lbs, we opted for heavy gauge HMWPE (high molecular weight polyethylene) to obtain the desired hopper strength and stability. HMWPE was also ideal for this application since it is highly resistant to the corrosive chemicals present in deicing salts.
The HMWPE was thermoformed using our 3-Station Rotary Thermoformer, which is outfitted with a 4-cavity aluminum water cooled tool for maximum production efficiency. The fully automated rotary thermoformer allows us to meet production demands with repeatable quality and consistency.
The client opted for a smooth inner and outer finish to match the steel frame design. To round off the fabrication process, the product was precisely trimmed to the final required dimensions using our 5-Axis CNC Router and deburred for a smooth edge finish.
Northern Plastic Inc.’s ISO 9001 certified processes and procedures ensured that all units were manufactured to the highest possible industry standard. Each hopper underwent a series of rigorous quality control processes including visual inspections, shrinkage measurements and go/no-go gauge testing. In addition, we verified the quality of the manufacturing materials with Level 3 PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) approval processes. Using these processes, we were able to successfully produce a consistent volume of 2000 units per year for this particular client.
Do you need a custom-built thermoformed component? Let us help with your next project! Please feel free to contact us.