Eifel, Hicks Plastics Program Enhances Polaris Ranger XP Steering Wheel
It’s only natural that two well-established local businesses in the plastics industry would come to rely on each other’s expertise. With a mutual goal of providing their respective clients with exceptional products and service, Hicks Plastics and Eifel Mold and Engineering were the perfect team for the Ranger XP steering wheel program.
When Hicks Plastics client Polaris needed steering wheel parts and tooling, Hicks came to Eifel Mold & Engineering, knowing that Eifel would provide them outstanding support in order to enhance their relationship with Polaris.
As a result of this collaboration, Hicks and Polaris have received better communication, higher quality, and a faster turnaround time.
That’s the type of service that Eifel aims to provide for each of its clients, which is why so many manufacturers rely on Eifel for help.
Hicks Plastics was founded in 1988 by Carl Hicks, and his son, Tim Hicks, later took over the business. The annual sales for the business, which has since been sold to SeaLink International Inc., is $27 million and growing.
The business specializes in vacuum metalized automotive lighting components and other specialized plastic injection molded products. Located in Macomb Township, Michigan, and Knoxville, Tennessee, the company has a plastic injection molding press with sizes ranging from 85 tons to 1,500 tons.
They have been molding polypropylene steering wheels for different types of consumer products, such as golf carts, boats, lawn tractors, and recreational vehicles, for over 30 years. They have mastered the process in molding these products for customers like Textron, SeaRay and Kubota.
Eifel Mold & Engineering
Founded in 1973, Eifel has grown into one of the industry’s leading product development and production tooling firms with several prominent Tier 1 automotive customers.
Specializing in the product development cycle, Eifel designs and builds tools for products such as steering wheels, vehicle aftermarket parts, airbag housing units, car center consoles, headlamps, and seat back panels. Based in Fraser, Michigan, Eifel also provides specialized services including studio consulting, on-site data presentations, and professional contracting services.
Eifel’s expertise is derived from more than 45 years of business experience in providing turnkey solutions for the company’s many satisfied automotive and aerospace customers.
Hicks and Eifel: The Perfect Match
In 2007, Hicks Plastics started working with Polaris. Headquartered in Minnesota, Polaris serves more than 100 countries worldwide. Its products include the Polaris RANGER, RZR, and GENERAL side-by-side off-road vehicles, all-terrain off-road vehicles, moto-roadsters, snowmobiles, boats, and mid-size and heavyweight motorcycles.
When Polaris said that it wanted the parts and tooling for the newest model of its Ranger to be made in North America, Hicks Plastics knew exactly who to call. With 30 years of experience building steering wheel molds for the automotive industry, Eifel was the perfect fit for Hicks Plastics in its endeavor to fulfill Polaris’s requests.
In addition to being a local source that is easy to communicate and have in-person meetings with, Eifel also offered an in-house staff for product design and tool design. Eifel also offered expertise in 5-axis machining, as well as tool consultants who use best practices for part and tool design to ensure manufacturability. Unlike working with other countries, working with Eifel means no unknown costs, such those due to time constraints. All of these aspects were important to Polaris in regard to the Ranger XP project.
Polaris Ranger XP Wheel Program
The collaboration between Eifel and Hicks Plastics began in January 2019, and today, the tools for the wheels, center cap, and wheel bezel for Polaris’s all-terrain vehicle are expected to be completed by the end of March. Eifel also introduced Hicks to a texture source that would meet their design needs, and the texture parts should be ready for production in June.
Overall, Eifel and Hicks improved the parts design for better manufacturability and to reduce sinks and flow lines in parts. That’s the type of value Eifel brings into the fold and aims to provide with each collaboration.
After standing the test of time through decades in the industry, both Eifel Mold & Engineering and Hicks Plastics are well-positioned to assist manufacturers near and far.
For additional information about Hicks Plastics, visit its website, send them a message online, or call (586) 786-5640.
To learn more about how Eifel can work with you, visit our website or call (586) 296-9640.