You’re ten minutes into scrolling through an endless deluge of company websites when you consider going on break:
“I can’t even figure out what some of these businesses do...”
At Strouse, we’ve experienced the same frustration when searching for companies that suit our needs. When everybody wants you to choose them, figuring out who can get the job done is challenging. However, we have no intention of stringing you along for a job if we know you’d be better off elsewhere.
If you’re looking for product solutions, reading the following list will help determine whether our manufacturing capabilities align with your project needs.
Who Is Strouse and What Do You Do?
Strouse is a flexible material converting company, meaning we cut materials such as tape, films, foils, and plastics, and build custom parts based on our client’s designs.
Converting is the manufacturing process of turning large rolls of adhesives and flexible materials into usable sizes, shapes, or parts.
For over three decades, we’ve built products for bonding, sealing, masking, thermal management, vibration control, sound dampening, wound care, shielding, and countless other purposes. During this time, Strouse collaborated with innovative companies such as 3M, Medtronic, Merit, Ford, Tesla, Boeing, and IBM.
As a converter, Strouse has issued over 80,000 quotes on building parts and transforming adhesives into custom lengths, widths, sizes, shapes, and formats.
Strouse’s Primary Manufacturing Capabilities
Flexible material converting isn’t as simple as queueing up the next round of products. Instead, each part we build has a custom setup and run process, which can involve various machines.
The following 6 capabilities will demonstrate which processes Strouse is capable of running and what our machine limitations are in terms of size or other characteristics.
1. DIE CUTTING
Die cutting refers to the process of cutting flexible materials, often using a die cut tool that pushes shapes out of material like using a cookie cutter to increase production efficiency.
There are four primary die cutting types:
- Rotary Die Cutting
- Laser Die Cutting
- Flat Bed Die Cutting
- Tool-Free Digital Converting
Rotary and flat bed die cutting use custom-ordered die cut tools to punch out parts.
Strouse handles the majority of jobs on our rotary die cut presses, which produce large part quantities, but we’re more than capable of the following specifications:
Up to 30” wide
Up to 22” wide
Up to 13” wide
Up to 60” x 60”
Multi-Level Die Cutting
Kiss-cutting and metal-to-metal
Tolerance dependent upon raw materials and process
Flat Bed Laser
Up to 24” x 36”
In terms of which materials we’re capable of processing, depending on your needs, we can cut most flexible materials so long as you understand they all have different levels of processability, which translates into more expensive pricing due to press setup and complex tolerances.
Slitting converts a large roll of material into smaller rolls.
Suppliers love selling material in bulk, but some material “logs” reach up to 15,000ft long, which isn’t always practical for machine or everyday use.
If you need a material, but it only comes in huge lengths, Strouse can slit your larger rolls into smaller, individual sizes:
Down to 0.050” from 60” wide material
Down to 0.031” from 60” wide material
Down to 0.500” from 60” wide material
Down to 0.125” from 60” wide material
Down to 0.625” from 60” wide material
3. LAMINATING MULTIPLE MATERIALS
You’ve seen laminated papers, but laminating in converting means combining two materials to create a custom product. Lamination is an alternative to bonding that your converter does in-line while die cutting, all in one pass.
For instance, adhesive materials can be laminated to other liners, films, and adhesives. These materials all have properties that might suit your project, but sometimes a combination is better than just choosing one.
At Strouse, we offer:
- Multi-layer lamination
- Extended liner lamination
- Zoned adhesive lamination
- Heat lamination
- Liner substitution
- Island placement/Dispensing
We can combine 15 materials on many machine presses and 20+ on specialized presses depending on your needs.
Other laminating specifications:
Most All Materials
Feasibility limitations are case-specific
General Material Size Limitation
≤0.250” thick and ≤30” wide
4. FLEXOGRAPHIC PRINTING
Converters use flexographic printing on adhesives, liners, and labels to print custom logos, product instructions, or identification labeling. Strouse integrates printing into our die cutting services so individual parts can be cut and printed more efficiently.
Flexographic printing, or “flexo printing,” uses rollers that collect ink in a tray and apply it evenly onto the material.
These are Strouse’s printing capabilities:
Material less than or equal to 13” wide
Certain ink chemistries, such as white ink, contain abrasive or more challenging elements to process. While Strouse often does have the ability to process these chemistries, they require a higher level of tooling at a greater expense.
As long as you know the size limitations and potential costs involved, Strouse can handle a wide variety of printing processes.
5. AUTOMATED ASSEMBLY
Automated assembly can mean anything from a single placement machine to 50 placement machines assembling your product in a complex line.
The goal of automated assembly is to reduce labor costs while improving efficiency through the use of cutting-edge technology. In manufacturing, human interaction in automation is limited as machines assemble components into a product:
Strouse is partnered with component placement manufacturers for automated solutions, and uses their machines to produce parts using highly-accurate automated assemblies.
Whether you’re considering automated assembly or have already established an automated system, Strouse has the skills and experience necessary to optimize your component design for assembly. Regardless of where you are in the automation process, we can help you figure out a product assembly setup that works for you.
6. CLEANROOM MANUFACTURING
Strouse manufactures medical products in our environmentally-controlled cleanroom, an enclosed space with a highly powerful air filter and industrial humidifier to keep parts free of any biological contamination or moisture during production.
Many products and materials must have a strict manufacturing environment to pass FDA guidelines or function properly:
- Medical devices
- Genetic/DNA test strips
- Microfluidic products
- Wound dressings
Our cleanroom has ISO 7 certification, meaning the maximum air particle count (0.5 microns) cannot exceed 352,000 particles per cubic meter. The air cleanliness can also be referred to as “Class 10,000” due to having 10,000 particles per cubic foot.
In addition, the ISO 7 system filter undergoes at least 60 air changes per hour and maintains a relative humidity 10-25%, while the filtration system must be 9-16 CFM per square foot.
To put this in perspective, the air inside our ISO 7 cleanroom is more than 100x cleaner than ordinary air.
Additional certified quality systems of Strouse include:
ISO 9001:2015 sets out the criteria for a quality management system and is the only standard that can be certified to.
ISO 13485:2016 specifies requirements for a quality management system where an organization must demonstrate its ability to provide medical devices and related services that consistently meet customer and applicable regulatory requirements.
Which Projects and Services Does Strouse Not Cover?
Although Strouse covers many industries, there are certain services we don’t offer. We’re primarily a flexible material converter, but lead times for materials or die cut tools can be out of our hands.
Here are the most commonly asked examples of projects and services Strouse does NOT cover:
1. Warehousing Material
Strouse primarily stores materials for jobs we’re currently working on.
If you want finished products in a matter of days, you’re better off looking elsewhere. While Strouse may have the material you’re searching for in-house, we typically order new material for each project, which could take weeks or months, depending on the supplier.
2. Building Tools
Strouse doesn’t produce die cut tools for ourselves, and we cannot produce them for anyone else. After you submit your part drawing, we make adjustments to format it for the rotary press and forward it to a die cut toolmaker who then constructs a tool.
Toolmakers build all of our die cut tools, so if you’re looking for those, Strouse might not be the right fit.
3. Project Design (from scratch)
While we’re happy to assist your design in its infancy, it’s challenging to figure out where we’re needed when there is no design to question.
For instance, many customers contact us to ask whether we can make a part. If you don’t have any rudimentary design or napkin drawing with measurements, we might not be able to confirm whether we can make it.
While Strouse can create parts in a sterile environment, like our cleanroom, you’ll have to outsource any complex sterilization processes to other companies.
What Can Strouse Do For My Manufacturing Project?
Strouse does have other abilities than die cutting, slitting, laminating multiple materials, flexographic and UV printing, automated assembly, and cleanroom manufacturing. Still, the majority of our operations fall under those categories.
If you’re still unsure whether Strouse can complete a project to your specifications, feel free to check out our capabilities:
Otherwise, feel free to ask if we have a specific ability that interests you. Even though you want a converter that suits the needs of your project, you also want to make sure that they're willing to go above and beyond when it comes to designing your process. Consider the following questions as you start to narrow down the process for selecting a flexible material converter: