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Plastics Technology Laboratories Inc. (PTLI) reduces lead-time by combining automotive experience with expertise in plastics testing.
8/30/2004 - Pittsfield, MA

Carl Olson
Plastics Technology Laboratories, Inc.
50 Pearl Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201

August 30, 2004

For immediate release

Plastics Technology Laboratories Inc. (PTLI) reduces lead-time by combining automotive experience with expertise in plastics testing. 

PTLI, the independent plastics testing laboratory, has reduced lead-time again for completion of automotive testing programs. Using a combination of equipment and software changes, PTLI has reduced the typical program completion time by nearly 20% since 2003. James Galipeau, Laboratory Manager, attributes the reduction to a focused effort to reduce non-value added activity: “First we held team meetings with key staff members to analyze where there were inefficiencies in the existing process. Customer feedback reinforced the need for speed, without sacrificing quality. Several areas were identified as bottlenecks, and were eliminated by streamlining the project tracking software and adding several key pieces of equipment in the lab”. Data reporting was simplified, and now 100% of all reports are automatically saved as PDF files, accessible by customers via email or PTLI’s own web portal, the PTLI Neighborhood. 

James Beauregard, company president concurs: “customers require their suppliers to be better, faster, cheaper. We surveyed a wide range of customers in automotive and other industries and found that turnaround time [of all types of test labs, not just PTLI] was the area most in need of improvement. The actions we have taken have reduced the average time to completion of a project to just under seven days.” PTLI is not done improving: “we are always looking at the metrics across all of our business operations, seeking trends that may show problems or opportunities to improve.” says Beauregard. “We plan to enhance the current systems in 2005, and provide expanded offerings in PPAP testing and data reporting”. 

By specializing exclusively in plastics testing, PTLI has been able to develop depth in its understanding of methods and materials, which can also contribute to cycle time reduction. Since PTLI’s founding in 1986, the automotive industry has been a significant source of its testing work. Additionally, PTLI will continue to participate in the ASTM, ISO, and A2LA organizations that govern testing and accreditation. “PTLI’s support of these organizations has helped save much time and effort for automotive OEMs”, said Beauregard. “We work with all interested parties in an effort to keep standards up-to-date, and relevant to the test standard’s intent”. PTLI is focused solely on plastics testing and is accredited to ISO 17025 by A2LA. 

In 2005, PTLI expects to add new types of testing in response to customer needs, as it did in 2003: “For example, we realized PPAPs for automotive materials often require accelerated weathering,” said Beauregard. “So we decided to build a weathering lab to satisfy this need.” PTLI started up the first of four Atlas Electric weatherometer machines early in 2003, and now runs all standard exposure cycles routinely, giving access at a moment’s notice. “Now customers can source the whole package of PPAP testing with one supplier, which further simplifies the management of the program.” New equipment PTLI anticipates adding in 2005 will be for measuring tribological and wear properties of plastics, and permeability of plastic films and packaging. 

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