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July/August Feature

Automotive Injection Molding Is Big Business for Aura Plastic

For 18 years, this French company has specialized in injection molding, finishing and assembling parts for the automotive and other industries.

By Karen Koenig

An employee removes shields from a conveyor which are being molded on one of two Billion injection molding machines Aura Plastic utilizes.
When Aura Plastic first opened 18 years ago in Oradour-sur-Glane, France, the only assets Albert Chatenet and his partner had “were our minds, hearts and arms.”

With an eye focused on the automotive market, Chatenet, chairman and managing director has watched his assets — and customer base — grow. “We originally started with two people and one machine, which we franchised. Today, we have 49 employees and 22 injection molders ranging in size from 35 to 420 tons. We manufacture for 30 to 35 customers today (primarily in the automotive and electronics industry),” Chatenet says.

Sixty percent of its business is to the automotive market, where the company has followed a successful sales strategy of working with Tier One companies in every sector of the industry. This list includes Johnson Controls, which constitutes approximately 30 percent of Aura Plastic’s business, TRW, Allibert Industrie and Group Treves. “Our plastic products are working in every sector of the automotive industry, with the exception of the engine, tires and chassis,” Chatenet says.

Another target area is the electronics industry, which composes 35 percent of Aura Plastic’s business. The company provides parts for most of the big names, including Schlumberger Industrie, Hager Electro and Legrand. “Aura Plastic will always manufacture plastic products for technical use or applications which need precision,” Chatenet adds.

The remaining 5 percent of Aura Plastic’s business is in the cosmetics and other industries. The company received its ISO 9002 and EAQF 94 certificates in March 1998. It currently exports between 45 and 60 percent of its production through direct sales and sales by its contractors. Target markets include the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic; the United States is a recent addition to the list of Aura Plastic’s export markets. “Aura Plastics is already well known and recognized. It is now important to justify this confidence through expanded marketing activities to increase our market penetration,” Chatenet says.

Auro Plastic has the capability to perform insert molding on its Arburg molder. The insert-molded lock plunge mechanism combines plastic and a metal insert for the finished part.
Injection Molding the Parts

In order to maintain its growth pace, the company has invested in new equipment and technologies. Among its investments are computerized injection molders for molding and “duplicate molding” with “powerful closing pressure.”

There are now 22 machines in the shop, including: a 420-ton Billion H4340; an 80-ton Billion Proxima; a 270-ton Sandretto Euromap; two 200-ton Sandretto Euromaps; a 150-ton Sandretto Euromap 612-150, three 100-ton Arburgs (Multronica 420 and Celogica 420s); an 85-ton Arburg 320; two 80-ton Arburgs (Selecta and 370C); five Arburg 320 75-ton machines; three 50-ton Arburgs (320M, 270 and 500); and two 35-ton Arburgs (221 and 270). In addition to simple molding, the company also has the capability to perform insert molding on parts such as lock plunges.

“We also make panel mechanisms, shield covers, pockets, even crash pads and seat adjustment devices,” adds Chatenet of the range of products offered.

Approximately 1,000 tons of plastic raw material are injected each year. The primary resins used include: ABS, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyethylene, PPO, POM, polycarbonate, PBT and PA — “practically every material except rigid PVC,” he says.

After molding, decorations, logos or other items can be printed onto the plastic parts per customer specifications. Tampoprint pad printe
A Tampoprint pad printer is used to decarate plastic parts. The company has two pad printers in its production facility.
rs are used in the facility to accomplish this. Assembly is done in a nearby facility.

“We’re attentive to our customers’ requests and requirements,” Chatenet adds. “That’s what makes us successful.”

Tragedy in Oradour-Sur-Glane

Aura Plastic is located in Oradour-sur-Glane, a city rebuilt alongside the ruins of the original village which was destroyed during World War II. It was on June 10, 1944, that the German army invaded the village and massacred 642 men, women and children. Only six people survived.

The book, “Oradour-sur-Glane: The Tragedy Hour by Hour,” written by survivor Robert Hébras, details the incident and its aftermath. In it, he offers the hypothesis that the massacre may have been in retaliation for the bombing of a nearby bridge by resistance leaders, which killed two German soldiers. As a penalty, he states, the soldiers rounded up people from the village and neighboring hamlets, herded them into the fairgrounds and then separated the men from the women and small children. The men were taken into six barns, shot, then set afire. Five men survived.

The women and children were clustered in the church during the killing. Then, that too was burned. Only one woman survived by jumping from a window 10 feet up from the ground.

Today, what remains of the village stands as a monument to those that died. It is visited by thousands of people every year.

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Plastics Machining & Fabricating
P: (847) 634-4347
F: (847) 634-4379
P.O. BOX 1400