Leading Midwest Compounder Gains Competitive Advantage with ENTEK QC3 Machinery, Vacuum Feed Technology (VFT)
JEDA Polymers is a leading compounder and supplier of thermoplastics for injection molders. They offer a range of standard, specialized, and custom products with an emphasis on nylons. Founded in central Illinois in 2007 by Jeff Goodwin and Ronda Haskell, the company grew rapidly and relocated to a brand new 43,000 square foot facility in Dyersville, Iowa in 2016.
JEDA originally set out to help smaller injection molders meet their materials challenges, and that same charter continues today; molders make up 100% of JEDA’s business.
Growth and Expansion
After the new Dyersville facility was built in 2016, JEDA Polymers set out to expand their operations. “We already knew of ENTEK’s reputation for building high-quality twin-screw extruders,” said John Deeken, Engineering/Quality Management Administrator at JEDA. “While we had success using other extruder brands, we wanted to work with a USA-based supplier for several reasons, including faster delivery of spare parts. We also wanted to take advantage of the technical and processing expertise that we knew ENTEK provided.”
At NPE2018 in Orlando, FL, Jeff Goodwin and Ronda Haskell visited ENTEK’s booth and saw ENTEK’s live demonstration of a 5-minute screw change on their QC3-43mm twin-screw extruder. “They saw that the ENTEK QC machine features are better for operators, and makes their life easier,” said John Deeken. “They also saw that the new 43mm machine was the perfect size for JEDA’s needs for smaller lots of materials, and frequent color changes. After the show, we decided to make a trip to Oregon to meet with ENTEK’s personnel and run trials in their Pilot Plant.”
Technical Challenges with Color Compounding
When compounding their materials, JEDA uses a unique, proprietary color process to make color changeovers faster, easier, and drive down their production costs. While JEDA’s color process has advantages, it can also be challenging to process in a twin-screw extruder.
“We went to ENTEK looking to develop a stable process to run our proprietary formulation through the twin-screw extruder,” said John Deeken. “It’s important to find the best way – where, when, and how – to feed the formula into the machine.”
When initial attempts didn’t produce the desired results, ENTEK’s Technical Processing Manager, Dean Elliott, came up with an idea for using ENTEK’s new Vacuum Feed Technology (VFT) to optimize the process. It was discovered that VFT, which is designed for processing light fluffier materials, also worked well to pull out excess gas from JEDA’s process.
“We were using this formulation with our other extruders, but we really improved the process with ENTEK’s machinery/technology,” said John Deeken. “Their processing expertise was and is extremely valuable to us.”
Service, Service, Service
JEDA purchased and installed an ENTEK QC3-43mm twin-screw extruder with VFT in 2019. While the machine meets or exceeds all their expectations, JEDA is most happy with ENTEK’s customer service.
“Working with ENTEK is refreshing; their support team always follows up, and makes sure any and all issues are resolved,” said John Deeken. “ENTEK’s team provides impressive service and overall are a great technical partner; they want to ensure we are getting the most out of our machinery.”