Category Archives: Blog

Three R Plastics, Inc. Employee Graduates from Prestigious TMA Program

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TMA recognizes hard work from the graduates of the Related Theory Apprenticeship Program. Michael Barnas, employee of Thee R Plastics, Inc. was recognized at the graduation ceremony.

May 27, 2016 –  On Thursday night, May 26, Michael Barnas an employee at Three R Plastics, Inc. graduated from the prestigious “Related Theory Apprenticeship Program” offered by the Technology & Manufacturing Association. The 2016 Related Theory Program’s graduation was held at the Stonegate Confrence and Banquet Centre in Hoffman Estates, IL, recognizing all the hard work the graduates put in during their time in the program.

Three R Plastics’ employee, Michael Barnas, spent three years in the program to fully prepare himself for making molds. The first two years of the program, students learn and take part in math courses. The third, and final year, students can choose which route to take in manufacturing.

The TMA program offers CNC programming, tool and die making, and mold making. Michael chose Mold Making noting, “My third year I chose mold making because it’s something I love, ripping molds apart to me is thrilling, and it’s something different every day.”

Michael Gore, Owner of Three R Plastics was in attendance Thursday night to acknowledge and celebrate Barnas’ hard work. “Our family at Three R Plastics are very proud of Michael Barnas, I’m here tonight to help celebrate and recognize not only Michael’s hard work, all the other individuals too,” Michael Gore.

Over the three years, Barnas was taught by Joe Genc, a professional who has been in the industry for many years. Barnas said he was glad to be taught by a professor with such knowledge and a great deal of experience.

Three R Plastics, Inc. continues to meet and exceed the expectations of the customer by offering high quality service with honesty and integrity. Three R Plastics’ team members are very knowledgeable, and taught by professionals with all kinds of experience in the industry to help maintain our high quality service.


Medical Grade Plastics: Solvays new offerings.

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Material vendor relationships are an important part of an injection molding business and at Three R Plastics we take every opportunity to seek out new materials which meet our customers ever expanding property and process requirements.

Solvay a world of healthcare possibilities.

Solvay has proven to be a valuable partner and took some time recently to introduce our team to a number of new materials offerings with a special focus on Medical Grade Plastics.

Whats new in medical materials?
The medical plastics market has three key performance criteria which are required for most applications:

  1. Biologically compatibility.

  2. Sterilization, steam, chemical,  or gamma.

  3. Structural safety requirements.

Solvay although already a market leader in high performance medical grade plastics with their popular Radel PPSU has expanded their lineup to include new materials covering a wider range of cost, and performance needs.

Although the list of new materials is long today we will be covering three specific materials and what they can offer your next molding project.

1.  UDEL PSU is a durable and heat resistant polycarbonate alternative which offers greater hydrolytric stability and mechanical properties while still handling >100 steam sterilization cycles.  High clarity, and multiple color options makes UDEL PSU a great option for disposable low cost surgical or medical instrumentation.
For more information about UDEL PSU pleas read the UDEL Design Guide.

2.  IXEF PARA is a metal replacement polyarylamide with great aesthetic properties including gamma stabilized colors.  IXEF combines great strength and stiffness in a package capable of >10 steam sterilization cycle.
For more information about IXEF PARA pleas read the IXEF PARA Design Guide

3. PrimoSpire SRP is the strongest un-reinforced material Solvay offers which excels in hardness, and compression while maintaining dimensional stability even after 1000+ sterilization cycles.
For more information about PrimoSpire SRP pleas read the PrimoSpire SRP Design Guide.




Recycling and Plastics: What the numbers mean.

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Most mass produced or disposable plastics are recyclable and identified with a SPI Resin Identification Code better known as a Recycle Symbol.

Recycle Symbols





The recycle symbol was created by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988.  The recycle symbnol is a means of identifying for sorting, recycling, and safety purposes.  Adopted internationally and used to this day, the system is useful for both manufacturers and consumers as a means of identifying plastics for proper use and disposal.
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A day in the life of a manufacturer… Animated

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Last week we shared an inside look into a day of manufacturing with Three R Plastics.
Here are some gifs! Enjoy.

Shedding some light on how and who make the wonderful products produced at Three R Plastics

Specialty electrical connector uses an intricate insert which is hand loaded by Jacob one of our skilled operators.

Mold base is located in cnc machine and first operations are started by Aaron, one of our skilled machinists.

Dakota hand loads inserts for this precision short run molding operation.

Scott performs an internal finishing operation on a manual lathe.

Scott squares up blocks prior to machining a hole pattern on a manual Bridgeport vertical mill.



A day in the life of a manufacturer. A short timelapse film.

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5 Ways to design and engineer with molding in mind.

5 Ways to design and engineer with molding in mind.

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1.  Wall thickness counts.  Thermoplastics shrink, and although process and additives can help in reducing blemishes related to shrinking, it always pays to start your project off right.

  • Design with a target wall thickness in mind.
  • Be intentional about planning draft to ensure ribs and bosses stay within 10% of intersecting wall thickness.
  • Core areas which are material heavy.




2.  Plan your undercuts.  Not every undercut requires a cam or slide actuation, work with your mold designer to ensure your using  the best technology available.

  • Consider creating your undercuts with a thru hole from the parts back side.
  • Look at designing your undercut to work with lower cost flexible cores.
  • Include draft angles capable of providing adequate shutoff for mating mold features.


3.   Know and understand your material(s).  Injection molding materials offer a wide range of performance and molding properties.

  • Understand common molding properties and design around them.  From gate placement and size to mold cooling requirements.
  • Consider tolerances when choosing materials which mate in assembly.
  • Look to engineering resins to meet the extreme temperature or strength requirements.

4.  Properly identify the cause of defects.  Work with your vendor to assess processing, mold design, and material specifications.

  • Draw the right conclusions.  Consider the story the facts paint and have honest and open dialogue with your molder.
  • Ensure inspection method is enhanced or updated and respond to ongoing problems.
  • Isolate your variables.  Material supplier, Machine type, Drying method.

5.  Define your quality requirements.  Work to define the best process for meeting your parts quality needs.

  • Consider mating parts when defining your inspection and quality requirements.
  • Work with quality managers to ensure prints and process are what you need.
  • Ensure you are continuously improving a repeatable process which is executed by an competent and effective team.


Common Plastic Part Defects

Common Plastic Part Defects

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Plastic injection molding is a reliable manufacturing platform for efficiently producing high performance lightweight, durable, and chemically resistant components.

Although a common manufacturing technology Injection Molding can still produce defective or substandard quality parts and it’s critical as a vendor,  or customer to understand the identification, causes and solutions to common quality defects.

Fundamentally there are 3 potential places to look for problems with molded parts.

1. The Mold
2. The Plastic
3. The Process


1. The Mold

Here are a list of common defects which are associated to mold design, mold maintenance, or mold build quality.

Flash: Typically flash can be identified as a sharp edge which is often seen on shutoff areas or the parting line of the part.
Scuffs: Marks which are often found on poorly drafted faces or caused by distortion during part ejection.
Short Shot: When a mold cavity is not completely or properly filled with plastic leaving voids, or an incomplete part.

It is important to remember that mold design and processing are interconnected.  It is possible for a good mold to be processed improperly to cause flash, short shots, or scuffs.  At Three R Plastics injection Mold Setup Technicians work directly with our Mold Designers, and Mold Makers to ensure the most efficient process start to finish.


2. The Plastic

Plastic quality and preparation are critical factors in delivering in both strength and appearance.

Splay: Splay is often seen as a white swirl or spray pattern on the surface of plastics indicating improper drying or preperation to the thermoplastic prior to the injection process.
Contaminates: Foreign objects from a improperly purged barrel or unclean work environment can cause defects in a parts finish.
Color: Occasional variances in color or impinging swirls can be the sign of contaminates from improper purging of the barrel or an improperly blended material.

Reliable and certifiable materials suppliers can be critical to achieving the best results especially when quality finishes, and the high performance is required.


2. The Process

The processing which refers to the temperatures, pressures and timing of the mold and plastic injection can have a drastic effect on part performance, part finish, and ultimately part cost.

Flow Marks: Flow marks usually appear as a wavy discoloration caused by a slow or improperly flowing part.
Burn Marks: Brown or black areas which indicate burning which is often an indicator of improper venting or improper injection or temperature processing.
Cold Slug:  Improperly processed and un-melted plastic pellets or slugs tumble through the mold during injection causing distortions to surface finish, and often negative effects to the parts structural performance.
Sink Marks: The inconsistent heating or cooling of plastic during the molding process often caused by varying differences or changes in wall thickness, or due to improper injection pressure or dosage.
Knit Lines: These lines occur when internal mold flow cools before contacting an opposing flow.  Often the result of processing some knit line problems start as early as part design, and most are a result of poorly engineered mold.

The best process starts at product design and ends with quality control.



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Engineering Plastics are a group of thermoplastic resins which offer greater heat resistance, impact, and mechanical properties over their commodity resin counterparts.

PEEK Molding

PEEK Molding

Often used in Medical, Aerospace, Automotive, and High Performance Consumer Goods the unique properties of these resins has helped them replace wood, and metal often meeting or exceeding their performance targets.

Engineering Resins

Engineering Resins

Three R Plastics specializes in short to medium run prototype and production molding of Engineering Resins helping you meet your most difficult needs.  For more information contact one of our dedicated Molding and Mold Making specialists.