Advantages of Load Lockers

Safeguard your product with TriEnda’s Load Lockers!

Protecting your cargo is what TriEnda is all about, this may be with durable pallets, Cargo Protect+ solutions, or Load Lockers. Our Load Locker boards help you cap, stack, and secure your product pallets for long or short journeys. Let’s take a look at all the advantages of Load Lockers.

Precise Design to Save You Money

Our Load Lockers are precisely designed to level your stack. This means that the 40×48 design helps to even loads at greater stack heights and allows for improved storage utilization and transportation safety and efficiency, which saves your organization money. Reduce damaged products and ship more products per truckload? Yes, please!

 

High Level of Protection

When Load Lockers are positioned as caps on the top of a load it increases protection for the products on that top stack and securely holds the next pallet in the stack in place above. Load Lockers effectively even weight distribution among the entire top layer of product, reducing damage in double and triple stacking storage and transport situations.

Seamless Integration

These lockers will not interfere with your standard pallet transportation. The Load Locker boards accommodate a 4-way forklift entry, and the shallow deck facilitates maximum fork entry clearance.

 

Proven Quality and Functionality

Load Locker Boards have been known and used in the material handling industry for almost 30 years which means they have proven that TriEnda quality and functionality is top-of-the-line. Our Load Lockers nest with all of TriEnda’s 9 leg pallets as well as many other similar pallets in the industry. 

If you’re ready to safeguard your products, maximize truckloads, and save money then contact TriEnda today to easily integrate Load Lockers into your material handling process. Interested in more cargo protection solutions? Check out our Cargo Protect+ product line!

Advantages of the One-Way Pallet

Learn why the One-Way pallet could change the way your ship products.

Looking for a solution to your single-leg shipping needs? The TriEnda One-Way Pallet is the sanitary, safe, durable, efficient, and sustainable answer to what’s missing from your material handling reservoir. Read on to discover the perfect uses and many advantages of the One-Way.

 

International Shipping: Our One-Way Plastic Shipping Pallets are ISPM 15 exempt, which means you can ship anywhere around the globe without having to worry about the hassle of fumigation and additional customs approval. This not only saves your organization money but also assures more timely delivery of your products by expediting the prolonged customs process that wooden pallets must go through.

 

Sustainably Focused Organizations: These single-use plastic pallets are recyclable, ensuring lower long-term costs, and a positive environmental impact. Unlike other pallets, the One-Way is both sustainable and responsible. This pallet is made from 100% recyclable materials meaning that it will never end up in a landfill. 

 

Unique Shipping Destinations: The One-Way is TriEnda’s unique solution for all your unique shipping destinations. This lightweight, efficient pallet was designed for use in all types of spaces. With smooth edges, no nails, and efficient stacking ability, these small but durable pallets were created as a low-cost solution for single-leg journeys to all different kinds of businesses.

Whether you are looking for international shipping solutions, sustainable material handling products, or a pallet for those unique single-leg journeys, the One-Way is the pallet for you. Find more about our One-Way here, or feel free to contact one of our experienced sales professionals today!

Meet Our Team: Sue Malkowski

The Meet Our Team blog series gives you an inside look into our team members’ careers, exciting new projects, history with KFI, and a general introduction to some of our key players! We hope you enjoy this, and many more blogs, that give you a better idea of the people behind the operation here at KFI.

Our sixth feature in this series showcases the Vice President of Operations at our TriEnda plant, Sue Malkowski! Sue has not only been with TriEnda for over 20 years but has also moved from a supervisor position to the executive level. Take a look at what she has to say about her role here at KFI.

Q: What is your job title?

A:   Vice President of Operations at TriEnda.

Q: How long have you been with KFI?

A:  I have been with KFI for 24 years. I started as the Scheduling Supervisor back in 1998.   Over the years the company has continued to develop my skills and responsibilities, allowing me to grow into my current role as Vice President.

Q: What do your day-to-day responsibilities look like?

A:  Every day is different. I oversee Scheduling, Quality, Manufacturing, Logistics, and the Warehouse. My team basically handles everything from the time an order is placed until it is shipped out the door. I have been super lucky over the years to have such great people working for me. They do an excellent job running the ship so I can focus on bigger things. 

Q: What is your favorite part of working for KFI?

A:   I really enjoy the people I work with. They are a caring and hardworking group of individuals. I also like the challenge that my job brings. No day is the same. 

Q: Can you share a project that your department accomplished that you feel proud of?

A:   Last year we were subcontracted to make Kayaks. This was a huge project for TriEnda. All areas of the company had to step up their game to produce this commercial product with limited information from the customer. The team had to be creative and put in many hours developing and planning before production even started. Their plan was executed nearly flawlessly. I was so proud of the team when the first kayak was formed, assembled, and shipped. 

Q: How does your department embody KFI’s values?

A:  My team strives every day to follow the KFI values. Whether it is implementing improvements to continue moving the needle or being direct about an issue, my team gets things done. They always have the best interest of the company in mind as they make decisions every day to move us forward. 

Q: What is your favorite memory from working at KFI?

A:  Walking across the stage to receive my Executive Masters BA diploma. I felt so blessed and honored that my company had put that much faith in me to achieve that goal.   

Interested in being a part of our team? Apply today, we can’t wait to meet you!

Meet Our Team: Jamie Noble

The Meet Our Team blog series gives you an inside look into our team members’ careers, exciting new projects, history with KFI, and a general introduction to some of our key players! We hope you enjoy this, and many more blogs, that give you a better idea of the people behind the operation here at KFI.

Our fifth installation in the Meet Our Team series features our Vice President of Engineering, Jamie Noble. Jamie oversees all of KFI’s design engineering responsibilities and has been an integral part of KFI for 23 years. 

Q: What is your job title?

A: Vice President of Engineering

Q: How long have you been with KFI?

A:  I have been with KFI for 23 years. I started as a design drafter for material handling and then gained increasing levels of responsibility throughout my entire career. I never really stayed in a position for more than 2-3 years without gaining more responsibility.

Q: What do your day-to-day responsibilities look like?

A: I am responsible for all the KFI design engineering responsibilities, emphasizing people, processes, and systems.

Q: What is your favorite part of working for KFI?

A:  A couple of things- it is fast-paced and in my experience, it is a broad scope of responsibilities versus other places that try to narrow your scope instead of expanding the boundaries. I am 100% engaged every day. Couple all of that with my personal out-of-work passion being automobiles and then I get to come to work and play with cars!

Q: Can you share a project that your department accomplished that you feel proud of?

A: The Gamma Battery Project really shows collaboration and cross-functional involvement with other departments which makes me proud. That collaborative piece is what I love to see every day. This can be seen in other projects like the Bev3 Battery Tray too. I am also extremely proud of the Ford Box side outer storage projects that really show a tremendous amount of engineering activity, focus, depth, and teamwork.

Q: How does your department embody KFI’s values?

A: We exemplify teamwork above all else – each KFI engineering associate has their core strengths and experience. We have engineers who almost effortlessly solve customer problems with heavy gauge thermoformed products, while at the same time some of our newer engineers bring a fresh perspective of the latest technology to the team. In addition to our design engineers, we also have support roles (Program Manager, Tooling Engineer, Sample Coordinator, and Engineering Techs) in place that complement the product development process. Together, I believe our team shares that balance well.

Q: What is your favorite memory from working at KFI?

A: The one that I would say is my favorite memory was 2-3 years into my start at TriEnda and I had moved into a project engineer role. The VP of Engineering was giving my performance review and he asked, ‘where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?’ I said, ‘I want your job’ and his response was, ‘well at least you gave me enough time to retire.’ It’s interesting how that has now come full circle and I am in that position.

Jamie has obviously been a fixture at KFI for a long time and has one last piece of advice for anyone interested in engineering, “Some of my favorite engineers started on the shop floor as thermoforming operators or jig and fix techs, so I encourage people that have thermoforming experience and are interested in engineering to pursue it or to ask questions.” Interested in being a part of our team? Apply today, we can’t wait to meet you!

Meet Our Team: Kevin Geason

The Meet Our Team blog series gives you an inside look into our team members’ careers, exciting new projects, history with KFI, and a general introduction to some of our key players! We hope you enjoy this, and many more blogs, that give you a better idea of the people behind the operation here at KFI.

Our fourth installation in the Meet Our Team series features our Director of Automotive Sales, Kevin Geason. Kevin oversees both our TriEnda and Penda automotive teams and has made a big impression on many in the business over the past year!

Q: What is your job title?

A: I am the Director of Automotive Sales for both Penda and TriEnda.

Q: How long have you been with KFI?

A:  1 year.

Q: What do your day-to-day responsibilities look like?

A: I am responsible for both the TriEnda Automotive Material Handling and Penda Automotive Sales teams. I work closely with our Marketing and Engineering teams in an effort to further develop our Value Proposition to a mix of both existing and new customers. There is a high level of focus on the New Product Development side of our business in an ongoing effort to further build Brand Recognition.

Q: What is your favorite part of working for KFI?

A:  The passion for our customers that is shared across the organization. Just as important is the overall internal culture that promotes collaboration while also making sure we are all accountable to one another.

Q: Can you share a project that your department accomplished that you feel proud of?

A: As an organization, we have a high level of expertise in the Electric Vehicle battery pack space. It is truly a combined effort across the organization which includes all departmental functions of KFI. If we all didn’t share the same level of passion for creating value for our customers, we would not be seen as industry experts in this market.

Q: How does your department embody KFI’s values?

A:   Constantly moving the needle relative to both book of business but also our opportunity pipeline.

Q: What is your favorite memory from working at KFI?

A: In the short time that I have been on board, it is very clear that this is truly a family.  Bottom line, we win (and learn from challenges) together.

Kevin is one of our newest directors and yet has made a huge impact on our business and our teams over the last year. By embodying KFI’s values and fostering a positive work environment, Kevin has quickly become a pivotal part of our KFI team. Interested in being a part of our team? Apply today, we can’t wait to meet you!

Professional Heights: How to Move up as an Employee at KFI

TriEnda employee working on a plastic product

Join us to explore the ways that employees can grow their careers with KFI!

Joining a new company as an entry-level employee with large career aspirations can feel daunting, luckily companies like ours foster growth in the professional space. Many of our current managers began in a different position with our company and have expanded their knowledge in the industry and demonstrated a strong work ethic which moved them into managerial roles. Join us as we explore the ways that an employee can grow their career with KFI!

TriEnda Employee constructing plastic pallets

Attitude Counts

Our Vice President of Operations at Penda, Mike Johnson, shared some advice he learned over his 43 years with KFI moving from an entry-level grinder position to the executive team, “Show interest and take initiative in what we do, go the extra mile and do extra without being asked. Don’t be afraid to fail, just learn from it.”

The More You Know

“One of my biggest pieces of advice is that knowledge of the company and what we do is POWER. Learn as much as possible,” Materials Planner, Ryan Manthey said. Ryan started with KFI as a finisher on the plant floor and has since moved to an extremely important position as our Materials Planner. With 20 years of experience, Ryan has extensive knowledge about our company and industry, and he says that learning and knowledge are the most important parts of being able to move your career forward. “Learning as much about everything is a great way to move up. To be what we call a ‘Swiss army knife’ is a huge deal around here. At the end of the day understand that hard work will pay off if the motivation matches the work.”

Ambition is Key

The most vital part of moving up in KFI is the want to do so. “Never be afraid to apply for an open spot, the answer is always no if you don’t try. KFI likes to hire from within for advancement,” Lead Operator and Trainer, Wendy Baker said. Starting as a Finisher 12 years ago, Wendy displays the qualities of ambition, drive, and dedication that KFI looks for in employees and quickly moved up to a trainer role.

TriEnda Employees constructing plastic pallets

Make a Plan With your Supervisor

“Make sure people know you want to grow. Push your manager to have a plan to continue progressing towards this goal. Always keep a positive attitude,” Vice President of Operations, Sue Malkowski said. Sue started as a Scheduling Supervisor with TriEnda in 1998 and moved up to become a member of the executive team. She says the most important qualities she looks for in an employee are good leadership skills, a sense of drive,  a positive attitude,  and integrity. 

Every single one of the employees featured in this blog has moved up in KFI, become successful, and helped to make KFI a great place to work. We will leave you with one final piece of advice from Mike Johnson, “Do the right things for the right reasons.” If you are interested in working with our team at KFI apply today!

Introducing the One-Way Pallet

Meet our material handling solution to serve your one-way shipping needs.

Domestic and global companies often need to navigate a series of hassles and costs associated with wooden pallets, especially for one-way shipping. Issues like breaks, splinters, nails, and sharp edges risk damaging products and materials; and international regulations make wooden pallets more cumbersome to use in global transportation. Additionally, the recycling process is not a sustainable option due to the difficult removal of nails which lead to most single-use wooden pallets being deposited into a landfill.  

In response to these concerns, we have engineered an exciting new product that will solve your one-way shipping needs: the One-Way Plastic Shipping Pallet. This single-use pallet has been rigorously tested to withstand heavy-duty demands and is available today at a competitive price.  

The features and benefits of our new One-Way Plastic Shipping Pallets include:

  • Superior material and design 
  • Cost savings 
  • ISPM 15 exempt 
  • Available immediately 

Read on to learn more about the advantages of switching to our single-use plastic pallets.

Superior material and design 
We’ve engineered our new One-Way Plastic Shipping Pallets using cutting-edge thermoformed high-density polyethylene (HDPE) construction. This technology creates a plastic shipping pallet that is:

  • Clean and sanitary- Rest easy knowing your cargo is contaminant-free. Our One-Way Plastic Shipping Pallets are easy to clean and do not harbor harmful bacteria. 
     
  • Free of sharp edges- Our one-way plastic pallets are smooth, with no nails or staples that could puncture and damage valuable cargo.
  • Durable- Our One-Way Plastic Shipping Pallets are precisely engineered to withstand impact and hold up under extreme weather, including humidity and cold temperatures.  
     
  • Safe and efficient stacking- Our engineering team has designed the new one-way pallets so that you can securely nest and stack them for easier, more efficient storage that takes up less space.
  • Sustainable- These single-use plastic pallets are recyclable, ensuring lower long-term costs, and a positive environmental impact.  Unlike other pallets, the One-Way is both sustainable and responsible, made from 100% recyclable materials means this pallet will never end up in a landfill. 

Cost savings 
We maximized the design of our lightweight One-Way Plastic Shipping Pallets to help you save costs by utilizing our cutting-edge thermoforming manufacturing process. Thermoforming makes our products weigh less than traditional injection molded shipping pallets. By reducing overall cargo weight, these pallets can significantly lower your shipping costs, increase truckload capacity, and lighten the strain on your team.  
 

ISPM 15 exempt 
Our One-Way Plastic Shipping Pallets are ISPM 15 exempt, which means you can ship anywhere around the globe without having to worry about the hassle of fumigation and additional customs approval.  

 

Available Immediately 
Our new One-Way Plastic Shipping Pallets are in-stock and available today! Learn more about how our durable, cost-effective one-way plastic pallets can keep your cargo safe. Contact our sales team today at 800.356.8150 or reach out to us online. 

How Thermoforming Tools Are Made

Exploring the process behind the product; learn more about how thermoforming tools are created.

Many times, the process is just as important as the product. An intricate design process is something we pride ourselves on here at KFI. One of the important steps in that process is tool making.

Our thermoforming tools are made by sand casting while others are created as machined billet tools. The big difference is sand casted tools require a pattern for the foundry process, while machined billet tools do not. All tooling requires the use of a CAD model to create the tool with a temperature control system added as part of the machining process. For this blog, we will focus on sand-casted tools, as these are what KFI uses.

To kick off the process a pattern is created by a 3D printing or CNC cutting of a material like wood, foam, or a synthetic REN. This pattern is then used to create a void in the sand in the foundry. Once the pattern arrives at the foundry the forming surface of the pattern is put in a foundry flask. A foundry flask is a frame that holds the sand. The pattern is then covered with a mix of silica sand, binder, and a catalyst that work together to harden and create a negative impression of the pattern; this process is called ramming.

After ramming is complete, the pattern is then taken out of the hardened sand and a layer of   3/8” to 1/2” of clay is applied to the sand surface. Once the entire surface is covered with clay, stainless steel water lines are then applied on top of the clay. Another foundry flask is placed on top and filled with the same mixture of silica sand, binder, and catalyst as before. Once this hardens the top flask is removed along with the clay. The reaming void between the two flasks is where the molten aluminum is poured to create the tool-forming surface.

At this point the tool is ground, sanded, and polished to remove rough spots. At this point in the process is where KFI differentiates itself from other thermoformers. Our temperature control system is fabricated to produce uniformed tool surfaces, “The internal temperature control system is constructed and laid out to optimize tool creation. Our system assures that we can achieve a high cycle rate along with a uniform temperature-controlled forming surface,” Tooling Engineer, Steve Gardiner said.

Small vacuum holes are then drilled through the entire aluminum tool to make it functional for forming the plastic part on the thermoformer. The entire surface of the tool is then sandblasted to give it a uniform texture and assure uniform vacuum dispersion. After this, a bottom plate is fabricated to create a sealed chamber for the forming process, and the tools are sent to our KFI plants.

Although this only captures an overview of this process, our tooling and design engineers have extensive knowledge and industry experience in creating, optimizing, and evaluating thermforming tools. If you would like to speak with any of our design, engineering, or sales teams about thermoforming tools feel free to contact us today!

CAD: Where Concept Meets Reality

rendering software up on a computer screen

How Computer-Aided Design Programs help create every product at TriEnda.

A significant part of our design process here at TriEnda is the creation of a product design in a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) program like Solid Works, Seimens NX, or Catia. CAD is a vector-based software that allows engineers to design product outlines in a three-dimensional virtual environment.  

At its base, designs in CAD are math data, “This data is a mathematical representation of a part in the physical world,” Senior Design Engineer, Chad Dimock said. “CAD creates a virtual representation of a part. It has size and shape and can be made as an assembly with custom parts. It can be measured and added to simulations to make sure it will meet requirements.”

When the TriEnda team works on a project for a specific customer we start with understanding the need, this means that if we are creating packaging for a specific product, we put together all of the information, dimensions, and testing requirements for that product. From there, our design engineers work in CAD to design a packaging solution that will fit the product perfectly and stand up to rigorous testing. “The first step is to get all of the product information from the customer so we can make sure we create a design that meets the need of the product and the customer.” Design Engineer, Thomas Bloom said.

Delivery Cart CAD Design

When our team creates a completely new product to the market, our design engineers work with the New Product Development team. They discuss what the product should look like, how it should function, and what testing it needs to pass to meet our quality standards. “When we create a design for a new product we don’t start from scratch. We start with research and a joint effort between NPD, Studio 540, and Engineering to create a basis for the outline,” Thomas Bloom said. From there engineering uses CAD to assign dimensions, weight, and thickness to the outline until it creates our first three-dimensional product model.

Delivery Cart CAD Design

Now, we briefly mentioned the cross-over between engineering and our in-house design team, Studio 540, above. Studio 540 uses these CAD designs from engineering in the next step of our process. Once engineering has created the product design, the CAD file is handed over to our industrial designers to take that math data a step further. Studio 540 designers focus on the visual impact of the product in addition to the functionality, they do this by creating realistic rendered images of the product by working off the CAD data. This means adding texture, color, grooves, hardware, accessories, and many more features to transition this item from a mathematical outline to a realistic product image. “Design as we know it would not exist without CAD. CAD allows engineers and designers to accurately build any conceivable 3D shape exactly as it will appear in the real world. In the past, this process required sluggish methods such as manual drafting, hand-sculpting and model making. The development of CAD technology has exponentially increased the efficiency of design and engineering,” Industrial Designer, Alex Greene said.   

Delivery Cart Rendering by Studio 540

Once the math data and industrial design artwork have been combined, tools are designed in CAD by our engineering group and sent to the toolmaker to be cast. The production team then gets to work on samples and product testing. This process can be repeated several times for a single product if necessary and CAD designs are often edited, revised, and re-done before a final product is created. While the design process has many steps, CAD helps to join design and data, “The most important step in a design is the match between concept and reality. This is the point at which the dream of the idea meets reality in an engineered concept. When the bugs of the design are worked out in CAD and the part can be created that is the ‘AHA!’ moment where the customer, the designer, the engineer, and the sales representative breathe a sigh of relief knowing that what they want is achievable,” Chad Dimock said.

The design process has come a long way over the years and employing CAD in our engineering and design departments has allowed TriEnda to break ground into new industries and create products faster than ever before. If you would like to work with someone on our design or engineering teams for your next project, feel free to contact us today!

How to Choose the Right Design Partner for your Project

Designer drawing on tablet

Follow these steps to ensure you choose the right design partner for your project.

Finding the right partner for your production project can feel daunting. One of the most important parts of this decision is making sure you pick the right partner in design. The design stage of any project is extremely important and acts as the base for your product. Make sure to consider the steps below when choosing your design partner. 

Commitment to Your Project

Your design partner’s commitment to your project should be apparent and definite. This means that your designers should be easy to get into contact with, respond quickly to inquiries, take your concerns and opinions into account when completing the design, and complete all necessary preparations and research before beginning the design.

Studio 540

Dedicated Team

A dedicated design team means applying years of experience to every project. This involves both industrial designers and engineers that are consistently in contact with your project team and provide an open and clear channel of communication throughout the design project. One great way to make sure that a design team is dedicated is asking for references, looking at past projects they have completed, asking how they keep in contact with their project teams, and the complexity of past projects they have done. Asking these questions will set your team and your project up for success. 

designer drawing up a design

Understanding of your Needs

Being on the same page with your design partner is one of the most critical aspects of creating a product you are proud of. This means that both your team and your design partner share an understanding of the following aspects of your projects:

  • Goal Product
    • This means sharing the same vision for what your final product will look like, how it will function, and who will use it.
  • Testing Results
    • Whether you are testing for strength, rigidity, load-bearing limits, or something else; being on the same page with your design partner about what you would like those test results to be and designing a product that will accomplish the results you are looking for is key.
  • Functionality
    • While this may seem obvious, knowing the end function of the product is an important part of the discussion with your design partner. Knowing what you see as the end-user for your product, how it is expected to function daily, if/how often it will need to travel, the size parameters for this project, etc. are extremely important to discuss upfront with your design team.
  • Material Quality
    • Knowing what type of material you expect to be included in your project and the quality of that material is critical to the design process. This means discussing the type of material you would like to use, other materials that can be incorporated if needed, the cost of those materials, the reusable nature of the material, the look of the material, and so much more needs to be considered at this early step as well.
designer working on a tablet

Design and Engineering Capabilities

Lastly, but perhaps the most important part of the process, is knowing your design partner’s capabilities. This doesn’t just mean the design programs they use; it also means understanding how your design partner communicates their designs with the engineering team on the project, what projects they have completed in the past, the scale of projects they have worked on, and their timeline for small and large projects. Evaluating these capabilities from the start helps you to know whether your processes are aligned.

rendering software up on a computer screen

Choosing a design partner can be difficult but when you follow these steps it should make it a little easier. Be sure to keep in mind that your designer should show commitment to your project, have a dedicated team with plenty of experience, have a good understanding of your project needs, and demonstrate exemplary design and engineering capabilities. If you would like to learn more about our Studio 540 design team feel free to read more here and contact us!