By: Christina M. Fuges 21. June 2016

Collaboration and Education

I visited with Baker Aerospace and S A Engineering at Amerimold last week in Novi, Michigan, after learning that they have both committed to technology development R&D and collaboration to move innovation forward.

SA Engineering Technology Center provides a setting where reputable companies with high-level expertise in services that support injection molding can co-locate under one roof to work together to develop new technologies on new 110- to 3500-ton presses. Such technologies include 3D-printed conformal-cooled inserts, which are a part of Baker’s expertise that has helped advanced the R&D of “new technology” tools developed at the Center. Baker also takes time to educate customers on the misconceptions about 3D-printed conformal-cooled inserts, including, for example, that a whole new tool must be created in order to use conformal cooling. In reality, only the internal areas of the insert that already exist must be altered. The Center’s Engel Duo 23050/3500 US 3,500-ton press is used to test and run “new technology” tools, such as a MuCell tool for Trexel, and an Engel Victory 1350/285 Tech 285-ton press is part of the center’s arsenal of state-of-the-art equipment that demonstrates the full potential of the new technologies being developed and tested here. 

Click here to read my piece that shares more about this initiative in sister publication Additive Manufacturing.



By: Cynthia Kustush 20. June 2016

Are You Optimizing Part Design and Manufacturability?



You build good molds, but with customers’ ever higher expectations for part quality and faster delivery, how can you be sure you are optimizing part designs and manufacturability? Can you back it up with data? Autodesk presented a free webinar titled “Using the Power of DOE to Design Process and Part Improvement” to show attendees how to ensure part design optimization. Jeff Higgins, technical specialist and Moldflow subject matter expert, was our presenter.

Attendees learned the following:

  • The theory behind Design-of-Experiments (DOE) and how it works
  • The different types of experiments that can be set up
  • How to interpret the results from a DOE analysis.

Plus, examples of DOE analyses were shared and discussed. 

Whether you already use Moldflow as a value added service for your customers or are considering implementing it, check out our archived presentation here.

If you'd like access to more resources on this and related topics, check out our Mold Flow and Simulation Zone for articles featured in MoldMaking Technology here.

Also, click here to read an Autodesk article titled "Design Right the First Time", in which the benefits of simulating both the injection molding and induction heating processes are discussed.

By: Christina M. Fuges 17. June 2016

Amerimold: Learning and Laughs


After two days of connecting buyers and sellers of products and services for designing, building, injecting and maintaining molds, Amerimold 2016 comes to a close on a very positive note. Not only did the event have a record-number of exhibitors, the quality level of attendee was also up. 
Attendees came to learn about everything from CAD/CAM to mold finishing, horizontal machining centers to 3D printers, cutting tools to mold materials, automation to processing techniques, and everything in between, while exhibitors across the floor showcased it all for them.
The learning didn't stop on the show floor, the annual technical conference rooms were also buzzing with networking and sharing case studies and best practices for both mold buyers and mold builders to make critical decisions when it comes to making that quoted cycle time and developing strategic plans for how their shops and staff will look in the year 2017 and beyond.

Topics included part/mold design and simulation, additive manufacturing, five-axis machining, reducing mold repair costs, integrating the mold, machine and automation, innovative tool design and molding process combinations and employing systematic molding for collaborative manufacturing.

To top it all off, the talk throughout the event was that business was booming for mold & die, and projected to continue that way for the remainder of the year. 
I can't end this brief review without a little taste of this industry's humor, which is showcased every year at Amerimold with our infamous Top 10 Reasons to Be a Moldmaker t-shirt. Here is our 2016 list, submitted by YOU our readers!


Gabe Meldrum, International Mold Corp


Keith Bates, IPCC


Ralph Neufarth, iMFLUX (P&G)


Sam Sarakinis, Inoac Interior Systems 


Mark Borlik, Aucilla


Annette Langhammer, Dynaplas 


Ken Stringfield, Danaher 


Ralph Neufarth, iMFLUX (P&G)


Gabe Meldrum, International Mold Corp


Denny Scher, ICOMold

Keep checking back with us here on our daily blog as well as on Twitter (@MMT_ChristinaF) and Facebook for post-show reports. 

Finally, a big thank you to all of you who participated in this year's Amerimold--sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and attendees! We hope to see you and more in 2017! 


By: Christina M. Fuges 16. June 2016

Amerimold: A Family Affair

2016 Leadtime Leader team of family and friends take two-hour bus ride to Amerimold to celebrate their win!

Covering this industry for the past 19 years has shown me what a community--what a family--moldmaking is. This becomes very evident every year at Amerimold. But yesterday it was taken to another level, as a busload of employees, family and friends of this year's Leadtime Leader Winner Krieger Craftsmen unloaded in front of Surburban Collection Showplace to take in the Expo and take on the recognition they deserve for being part of a winning team.   

These awards, sponsored by MoldMaking Technology and Progressive Components, have been honoring outstanding moldmakers who best demonstrate overall innovation, efficiency, quality and commitment for the past 14 years. We presented winner Krieger Craftsmen and honorable mention MSI Mold Builders to the industry at the end of the day yesterday right before the annual Casino Night Networking Party.  And boy, were these winners ready to party after the build up and excitement of the Awards Ceremony.
With so many past Leadtime Leaders in attendance this year (flagged with red ribbons), I decided to get a little Oscar-esqe and asked Brian Bendig, president of last year's Leadtime Leader Cavalier Tool & Mfg. to come to the mic to say a few words about what the Award has meant to his company, encourage all shops to enter next year's competition, and then present the Award plaque to Tim Krieger, president of Krieger Craftsman, as I made the official announcement. It was a "passing of the torch" in a way, and it really added to that "family" feel of the industry. We later took a group shot of all the past Leadtime Leaders. It was quite the night! 
Leadtime Leader Hall of Fame
Leadtime Leaders 03
Large Winner: Advance Tool, Inc. (ATi): Thinking Lean Gets the Green
Small Winner: M&M Tool and Mold: Specialization and Short Leadtimes Yield Success
Large Honorable Mentions:
Ultra Tool Group: Multiple Mold Specialties Garner Profits Galore
Eimo Americas: Combining Forces Multiplies Profits
Small Honorable Mentions:
Graphic Tool: Concurrent Engineering Generates Quick Mold Builds
Peterboro Tool: Niche Moldmaking Produces Profits
Leadtime Leaders 04
Large Winner: Wentworth Mold: Blowing Away the Competition
Small Winner: M & M Tool and Mold: Niche Moldmaking Yields Results Two Years Running
Large Honorable Mention: Century Die Co.: Forging Ahead
Small Honorable Mention: Summit Molds: Better Not Bigger
Leadtime Leaders 05
Large Winner: Minco Tool and Mold: On The Fast Track
Small Winner: M & M Tool: Formula for Success-Specialization, Automation And Customer Service
Large Honorable Mention: StackTeck: Lean Strategies Combine for Niche Molds in Record Time
Small Honorable Mention: IDEAS, INC.: Thinking Outside the Box
Leadtime Leaders 06
Large Winner: Extreme Tool and Engineering: Building Relationships, Fostering Growth
Small Winner: A.J. Tool Co. Inc.: Niche Moldmaking Meets High Expectations
Large Honorable Mention MSI Mold Builders: Moldmaking Measured and Defined
Small Honorable Mention:IDEAS, INC.: Good Thinking!
Leadtime Leaders 07
Large Winner: Chicago Mold Engineering: In The Spotlight
Small Winner: Tech Tool & Mold, Inc.: Strength and Flexibility
Large Honorable Mention: Synergetic M2M Group: A Global Presence
Small Honorable Mention: M&M Tool and Mold, Inc.: Automation Investment Pays Off Big
Leadtime Leaders 08
Large Winner: Commercial Tool & Die: High Quality and Employee Innovation Drive Success
Small Winner: Extreme Tool and Engineering, Inc.: Embracing Change
Large HM: StackTeck Systems Ltd.: Continuous Improvement Trims Leadtimes
Leadtime Leaders 09
Large Winner: Commercial Tool & Die: Innovation And Improvement Are Keys to Success
Small Winner: Byrne Tool & Die: A Culture of Change
Large Honorable Mention: Armin Tool & Manufacturing: Sampling Success Since 1952
Small Honorable Mention: Elite Mold & Engineering: Team Elite
Leadtime Leaders 10
Large Winner: Triangle Tool
Triangle Tool: Product-to-Tool Service
Small Winner: Mold Craft: Innovation with Automation
Large Shop Honorable Mention H.S. Die & Engineering: A One-Stop Shop
Small Shop Honorable Mention CS Tool Engineering: In the Business Of Customer Service
Leadtime Leaders 11
Large Winner: United Tool & Mold, Inc.: Charging Forward with Unique Mold Repair Niche
Small Winner: Mold-Tech, Inc.: Technology-Driven, Detail-Oriented Precision Injection Mold Provider
Large Honorable Mention: MSI Mold Builders: Redefining Mold Manufacturing 
Small Honorable Mention: JM Mold South, Inc.: Constant Reinvention Results in Growth, Success
Leadtime Leaders 12
Large Winner: Industrial Molds Group: Thinking Outside of the Box
Small Winner: M&M Tool and Mold: Niche Manufacturing Sustains Profitability
Leadtime Leaders 13 
Winner Tech Mold Inc.: A Triple Threat!
Honorable Mention Micro Mold Company, Inc.: Partnering to Push the Limits
Leadtime Leaders 14
Winner: Westminster Tool Inc.—Bridging the Gap without Losing Focus
Honorable Mention: Aalbers Tool and Mold Inc.—Playing the Long Game
Leadtime Leaders 15
Winner: Cavalier Tool & Manufacturing - A Holistic Approach to Setting the Pace
Honorable Mention: Dynamic Tool & Design - Committing to a Scientific Process

By: Cynthia Kustush 15. June 2016

Happy Amerimold Expo Day!

Amerimold 2016 has begun!

It’s almost like Christmas, with all the build-up to Amerimold including a year of overall planning, conference program organization, exhibitors anxious to display their products and tout their services, promoting our event to the industry and, of course, preparing for our annual Leadtime Leader Awards ceremony and Casino Cocktail Reception—both sponsored by Progressive Components, not to mention announcing our Top 10 Reasons to be a Moldmaker t-shirt! Well, it’s finally here. Today is Amerimold Expo Day and our event has begun!

It’s going to be a very busy two days, filled with so many opportunities you won’t want to miss. So I’m going to call out a few of them here!

For starters, those who have signed up for our awesome conference program will probably see MMT Editorial Director Christina Fuges and me opening the sessions each morning at 8 a.m. in the Opal and Garnet rooms within the Suburban Collection Showplace.

While walking the show floor, be sure to stop by our booth and say hello, too. We’ll be working our Gardner Business Media booth #637 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. today and tomorrow. You can pick up this year’s Top 10 Reasons t-shirt, chat with us about what’s new with your company, and who knows? Maybe we’ll blog or Tweet about you! You will also have an opportunity to meet other editors from our sister publications Modern Machine Shop and Plastics Technology at our booth as well.

Don’t forget to stick around today because right after the show floor closes, from about 4:45 to 5:30 p.m., everyone will gather outside of the conference rooms where the Leadtime Leader Award winner and Honorable Mention shops will be announced. This is a special and fun time for us and it’s an honor to recognize some great mold manufacturing companies that are very passionate about what they do. Then, immediately following the ceremony, everyone will relocate into the Sapphire Room for the ever popular Casino Cocktail Reception. This is an excellent opportunity to meet and greet your colleagues, network with customers and just have a lot of fun. Our reception takes place from 5:30 until 8 p.m. Please join us!

As with every Amerimold, Christina and I will be making the rounds of the show floor, visiting exhibitors and guests and covering the event. With a record number of exhibitors and so many attendees we have a huge amount to cover, too, so if you see us racing by please do call out to us to say hi and we’ll visit as soon as we’re able to circle back. It’s going to be a great show!

For all those who are unable to attend this year’s Amerimold, don’t despair. We'll share details after the show via our Insider newsletter on June 28, plus we'll provide coverage in our blogs, in slide shows, and perhaps even video clips. You can also hook up with MMT on Twitter (@MMTMag) and receive up-to-the-minute tweets right from the show floor. Oh, and don't forget to connect with us on Facebook, too!


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