MMT Blog

It is with a sad heart that I submit this blog. I worked at Progressive Components for 13 years and this man was a dear friend, an ardent supporter of his sons, Don Jr. and Glenn, and he loved this industry. I witnessed firsthand how close the Starkey family is. Don Sr. and his wife, Lois, who is one of the sweetest women I’ve met, worked hard, raised a beautiful family, and never failed to make every one of the Progressive employees feel welcome and like family. They attended every major company event, including holiday parties and picnics, lighting up the room as they entered. Such good memories, and I know the older generation of moldmakers remembers Don Sr. as a colleague from the old days, and later, too, when he and Lois established component supplier D&L Inc.

Starkey began his career as a mold maker, and later formed Midway Mold, a Chicago area mold shop that he sold in 1969. He then started D&L Incorporated in 1970, as an independent sales rep for several mold building companies. In 1987, D&L, which stands for Don and his wife Lois Starkey, began distributing components for molds. Three years later, he pursued a role with Cam Fran Tool as their Sales Manager, and D&L was purchased by Starkey’s sons, Don Jr. and Glenn in 1990. The company then became Progressive Components, and while Don was not active within the company, he was present at all Board meetings, attended trade shows and company events, and was a constant source of inspiration to all at Progressive.

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Tom Cutler works to tell the stories of manufacturers that have simply neglected to tell theirs. I have worked with him in the past and he recently shared with me his article about managing data and Synchrono, a company that supplies demand-driven manufacturing software solutions, so I wanted to pass it on. 

The process of manufacturing molds is often highly automated and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is enabling moldmakers to become fully digitized. While mold manufacturers diligently route data, most cannot easily access the data they need when needed. The ability to do such will help mold manufacturers work smarter and more competitively, impacting not only core key performance indicators (KPI) used to evaluate the success of a company, but more forward-thinking initiatives that keep production moving and downtime to a minimum. This entails real-time data sharing across machines, tools, sensors and systems—anything that collects useful data.

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This week’s showcase is like Chef's Surprise because it offers up a variety of interesting new products for moldmaking, and even a few about moldmaking from companies that promoted their services during Plastec West/MD&M, held earlier this month. Some products are simply "hot off the presses", too. It’s an MMT Surprise Showcase, with this editor’s picks for the week.

MMT is always looking for companies, whether mold manufacturing or supplier in nature, to submit press releases about new or newly updated products and services. So please email us with your news using our handy web submissions web page and be sure to include a high-resolution photo, if possible, so that we might publish it in an upcoming issue. Don’t worry about constructing the perfect prose for your press release – that’s what we’re here for. So drop us a line if you have something interesting and beneficial to our mold industry audience, and thank you to those who already do keep us in mind.

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As I was perusing LinkedIn the other day, I came across a post that said, “Looking for manufacturers in the Chicago area who want to partner with local high schools with a manufacturing and engineering program. Contact h.jones@mfgren.org and check out www.mfgren.org.”

As this kind of effort is near and dear to me, and my home is in the Chicago area, I decided to find out more about this organization called Manufacturing Renaissance (MR) and so I visited the website. The first thing I noticed is the organization’s mission: Building a sustainable society founded on advanced manufacturing. It intrigued me, because I have always understood that a strong manufacturing base is essential to sustaining a robust, prosperous economy. So I dug further and contacted David Robinson, MR’s director of communications and organizing, and I asked him to explain their call for manufacturing partners to step forward. He said, “Yes, we are actively working to connect middle schools, high schools and adult learners, particularly in the inner city and proximate suburbs also suffering from economic blight, to our advanced manufacturing model.”

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