1. Intricate details involved in part manufacture. The amount of effort and engineering (mechanical, manufacturing, industrial, chemical, metallurgy/materials, polymer, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and even electrical)—regardless of required part tolerance—that goes into each and every mold to produce a quality, aesthetically pleasing, flash-free injection molded component.
2. How materials work. A working knowledge of steels and other mold materials: each of their properties, limitations and applications.
3. U.S.’s vulnerability to overseas workers. How vulnerable the U.S. has become to countries that have far more engineering and science graduates in total and many more of those eager to be employed in manufacturing.
4. Product pride. The joy and appreciation of what it takes to provide quality plastic parts.
5. The start-over syndrome. The experience of completing a complex, injection mold that at first glance appears a work of art, only to realize during sampling that it is worthless due to a mirror image/inside out issue, the size is completely wrong because no shrink was added or some other minor oversight.
6. Math skills. Most geometry and trigonometry skills are learned on the job in this trade. You get the basics in school, but they only come to life once you have something tangible to which they can be applied. Math skills help you figure out every
aspect of a job.
7. Customer relations. How to deal with people. How to be a valuable resource to your customer by helping them solve problems, which in turn helps them sell to their customer and bring back to you more business. The value of a helpful, courteous reputation, integrity and the ability to keep the promises you make establishes and builds credibility. How doing the little things shows that you care about your customer, his family and his success.
8. The value American manufacturing has in our lives. The extent to which plastics has impacted our economy and lives.
9. Expertise appreciation. An appreciation for the skill, talent and engineering expertise required for the first and millionth part that flowed from molted resin to a precision plastic component; skill level involved in developing production tooling and the cost of the equipment involved in producing the molds.
10. Industry progress. How much the moldmaking industry has progressed over the last 10 to 15 years in regards to technological advances. All contoured-shaped parts were produced by building a master model and duplicating aids, then a duplicating machine was used to machine the cores and cavities to the desired shape. From there it evolved into using computer-generated databases and cutter paths for machining the cores and cavities to the desired shape; EDM technology also advanced via the use of computer-controlled machines with orbiting capabilities; and white light scanning has aided the production of molds with natural shapes that could not be replicated in the past.
This list is compiled from the most popular answers to a reader poll.