A Look at the SmartDitch® Product Line

SmartDitch

Learn more about the flexible HDPE ditch lining system made by Krueger Family Industries.

SmartDitch® is one of KFI’s lesser known products that acts as a ditch lining system and is the smarter approach to water management.

With a variety of products and uses, the SmartDitch® product line is key to controlling drainage, flow control, erosion control, irrigation, on-site dewatering and much more.

A look into SmartDitch® must start with the forming process. Like many of our other products, SmartDitch® is made of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) material which is heated and formed through the thermoforming process. To an outsider, this product is essentially a trench lining, however the possibilities of the SmartDitch® product are endless. While this not only helps with water management, it also helps prevent erosion and sustain fragile environments from run-off.

This line of versatile channel lining solutions includes a trapezoidal ditch liner, a semi-circular ditch liner, and MegaDitch system, fittings for each liner system, and a maintenance pack.

  • Trapezoidal Ditch Liner– this trapezoidal system is a virtually leak-free channel lining system which has been designed to control and direct the flow of water and other fluids. The corrugated design helps regulate the flow of liquid from flat to steep grades while still being light weight and easy to handle and install.

  • Semi-Circular Ditch Liner– This system is often used for both permanent and temporary applications as an above ground lining solution. The corrugated material helps keep flow rates consistent and predictable while still providing excellent tensile strength and durability. At just 64 lbs per section, this lining system is easy to transport and install as well.

  • MegaDitch System– This is the largest scale water control solution in the SmartDitch® system. This was developed to fulfill larger scale liquid flow needs by using an expandable HDPE channel. Engineered with sidewalls to fit different slopes and grades, and base and wall section connected for maximum expandability, the MegaDitch system fits both flat and V-bottom channels. The great thing about MegaDitch is the flexibility. This system has virtually unlimited expansion capabilities and is ideal for uneven terrain, or steep slopes.
  • Fittings and Maintenance Packs– In addition to the SmartDitch® systems, fittings and maintenance packs are also important to each water flow system. The fittings are specially engineered to broaden the range of applications such as drainage, erosion and sediment control, land development, irrigation, industrial site containment systems and temporary flow diversions. The fittings provide the design flexibly needed for both large and small-scale projects. Maintenance packs are the simple, cost effective solution to permanently repair or maintain water control ditches.

The SmartDitch® system has been used in residential areas, mining facilities, landfills, industrial spaces, agricultural zones, and by the Department of Transportation near roads, highways, and construction areas. Used for everything from removing water from neighborhoods, to redirecting hazardous waste run-off, SmartDitch® helps create safe and environmentally friendly spaces.

For a smarter way to manage water, SmartDitch® is the leak-free channel lining system that is specially engineered to control and direct the flow of water or critical fluids. Interested in learning more? Contact our sales team today!

A Day in the Life of a Thermoforming Finisher

TriEnda employees working on a plastic pallet

Explore the workplace of thermoformed plastic manufacturing by stepping into the shoes of a Finisher at TriEnda.

Ever wonder how plastic pallets are manufactured? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be diving into the world of our production associates here at TriEnda to learn more about their duties, let’s start with our Finishers.

What Does A Finisher Do?

Our Finishers are important to the production of the thermoformed plastic packaging we create here at TriEnda. We value their role tremendously as they touch every part that is manufactured for our customers. Because of this, we emphasize the development of our Finishers and many go on to earn promotions within production or even to the office if they choose.

The role of a Finisher is pretty straight forward, they’re tasked with finishing off a thermoformed product so that it’s ready to be shipped to the customer. This can be done via trimming, cleaning, assembly, and packaging of the parts and products we produce. Finishers also support their team at their work cells by assisting with the setup of secondary finishing tools like drills and handheld routers and clean up their areas by sweeping excess plastic pellets and removing scrap from the ground.

Pictured here is an example of how a Finisher performs trimming, cleaning, and drilling to finalize a product before it is shipped. Once these green pallets are pulled off the thermoformer, two Finishers utilize handheld routers to perform a rough cut on the part and remove excess pallet. The pallets are then conveyed down to another Finisher who drills drain holes in each of the legs so that water and other liquids don’t get trapped in the pallet and make it unsanitary. The final step is to use a utility knife to smooth out the rough edges.

A Thermoforming Finisher’s Schedule

At TriEnda, Finishers work on a 2-2-3 schedule, or a 7-on-7-off one. They have 12 hour shifts that happen on days or nights. Each Finisher is given three breaks throughout the day, two 10-minute breaks and another 20-minute one. When days are hot in the summer, we provide extra heat breaks and add extra Finishers to each work cell to help lighten the workload and give everyone a chance to stay cool and rest.

Every day, a Finisher has the opportunity to work on at a different work cell which is producing a new product so that they see a variety of thermoforming work. With the wide variety of material handling solutions we create, a Finisher could go a very long time before working on the same thing twice. If you’re interested in becoming a Thermoforming Finisher and joining the TriEnda team, please apply today! To send us your application, you can visit our website to view our openings and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.

Why work at KFI?

Man smiling in an office

Exploring the many things that make KFI a great place to work!

With a multitude of employers out there, sometimes choosing the right organization to work for can be daunting. It is important to keep in mind the culture that an employer fosters, the feel of the work environment, and how the current employees review their time with the company. Luckily, here at Kruger Family Industries we have outstanding employees that would like to share a little bit about their experiences work for KFI with you

"The family atmosphere that KFI has across the organization is unmatched! Truly enjoy coming to work every day and there are always new things that challenge you.”
jacob hacker
Jacob Hacker
Inside Sales Manager, 1.5 years with Trienda
“What has kept me here all these years is really the fact that the people are decent, and the hours are good. The 2, 2, 3 schedule is great and you don’t get burned out.”
Brian Kearns
Extrusion Operator, 37 years with TriEnda
“My favorite thing about working at Penda is the people that I work with. I like showing people things that I learn throughout the day and teaching other people is a lot of fun.”
Wendy Baker
Wendy Baker
Lead Operator/Trainer, 11 years with Penda
“I really like that KFI is a family owned business that cares about their employees. I’ve been with the company for 34 years in the finance department and have gained so much knowledge and experience working here. I love the variety of work, opportunities to keep learning and interaction with great co-workers.”
Sheila McFarlane
Cost Accountant, 34 years with KFI
“My favorite thing about working here is the transparency, the friends, the comradery, and the education that we keep furthering with each other’s knowledge.”
rob fahey
Rob Fahey
Quality Technician, 9 years at TriEnda
“KFI is a great place to work because there is a true spirit of collaboration and cooperation to achieve common goals. The company is willing to invest in its people and in the best available technology, and I believe that combination will ultimately send us to the top in the plastics manufacturing realm.”
Diana Risner
Diana Risner
Project Manager – System Solutions, 4 years with TriEnda
“The family culture at KFI has fostered my personal and professional growth and has allowed me to gain the confidence to bring new ideas and opportunities to the table.”
riley haight
Riley Haight
Inside Sales Representative, 7 months at Penda
“Although I have been working with KFI for a short time, I have liked it because it is a place that inspires me to learn and develop my skills, also all the people here are always willing to guide me and help me.”
daniel reyna
Daniel Reyna
Inside Sales Representative, 2 months with TriEnda (Mexico)
“An Industrial Design career at KFI gives me the opportunity to utilize a wide range of skills: sketching, CAD modeling, 3D rendering, and graphic design, all while applying sustainable thermoforming design principles.”
alex greene
Alex Greene
Industrial Designer, 10 months with KFI
“I really enjoy the work schedule. Having 4 days off is like a mini vacation. I enjoy the family atmosphere, the people you work with become your family.”
Brandon Prew
Finisher, 10 years with Penda

Whether you are looking for a position as a design engineer, an extrusion operator, or a human resources generalist, KFI focuses on building a positive and collaborative work environment in every department. If you are interested in joining the KFI family, take a look at our careers page and apply today! We can’t wait to meet you!

An Industry-Wide Shift to Electric Vehicles and Its Impact on Automotive Packaging

an electric car charging

Why the automotive packaging industry is undergoing a transformation to meet the needs of the EV market.

From the first steam-powered vehicles to hit the road in the late 1700s, to the internal-combustion engines that built America’s automotive industry, the automobile has seen great technological advancements. Today, we’re continuing to see cars move the industry forward as greener, and more sustainable technologies are used to develop electric vehicles.

Electric vehicle only green traffic road sign.

Where is the Industry Headed?

Some of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers are acknowledging the shift to electric with open arms. Volvo Cars is committed to distributing one million electrified cars into the market by the year 2025. Ford Media Center has reported that by mid-2026, 100% of the company’s passenger vehicles in Europe will have zero-emissions capabilities which means they will be either all-electric or plug-in hybrid, and by 2030 they will be completely and solely powered by electricity.

And it doesn’t stop there.

GM is on a path towards an all-electric future too, as they have committed to building 30 new global electric vehicles by 2025. At Toyota, Deputy Chief Officer of it’s ZEV Factory said in a presentation for its European market that the automotive manufacturer intends to sell 5.5 million electrified vehicles each year across the globe, by 2025. Even Honda is committing to the electric vehicle moving forward, as it was reported by Autoweek that the company will go electric and fuel-cell only by 2040.

All of these monumental changes are set to occur within our lifetime. Some will even happen by the end of this decade. These new electric vehicles and their manufacturers require durable and reliable material handling to transport heavy parts and components throughout their supply chains. Since they’ve placed a focus on going greener with the electric vehicle, these material handling options should be reusable too. This is exactly where TriEnda comes into play.

Battery Pack

TriEnda’s Electric Vehicle Component Packaging

At TriEnda, we specialize in developing reusable material handling solutions, and dedicate ourselves to understanding the automotive industry and the complex set of requirements that come with manufacturing a vehicle.

One important electric vehicle component that will require durable transportation is the battery cell. TriEnda specializes in creating custom battery packaging solutions. Our first battery packs were developed in 2014 when a customer approached us to design a lithium-ion cell pack. Since then, we’ve created three additional battery pack designs. First were complete battery assembly packs that fully encapsulate and protect batteries during shipments. Next came battery section reman packs that are used to transport re-manufactured battery sections to dealers or service centers where the battery section is placed in the battery assembly. The last design was the standard car battery packs which believe it or not hold standard car batteries that are shipped from the battery manufacturer before going to the assembly plant for installation into the vehicle.

TriEnda’s battery packs provide total enclosed protection of battery cells and are nestable for empty storage and return. Their heavy-duty HDPE construction increases strength, durability, and makes them impact resistant. The thermoformed plastic material used in the manufacturing process allows for easy cleaning of the battery packs and makes it so you can continually reuse them in you supply-chain. They can be manufactured with ergonomic options should you require optimal efficiency during loading and unloading. We can assemble the battery packs with lift assist and handles to improve ergonomics. Another perk is that are packs are designed with UN Certifiability in mind as we ensure these packaging options meet rigorous road impact testing requirements.

We’ve accomplished all of this through the power of our engineering teams that specialize in designing battery packs and being well versed in their certification needs. Our teams know the right questions to ask during the design process, and have extensive knowledge built up from past products in a variety of industries. That’s just the first of many benefits you take advantage of with one of the largest engineering teams in the thermoformed plastic manufacturing industry.

If you’re interested in working with us to develop custom battery packaging solutions, reach out to us today and a member of our team will be in touch! We’re eager to help move the automotive industry forward by providing top-of-the-line material handling solutions for the new age of electric vehicles.