MMT Blog

In addition to the three trade groups that I wrote about in this month’s issue of MMT (click here to read “Strengthening Manufacturing through Advocacy”), there are others readers should know about—moldmaking-related trade groups that are passionate about attracting new, talented youngsters to careers in manufacturing. One of these groups is the West Michigan Chapter of the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA). I contacted Cindy Baas, who is Finance Director/Purchasing at CS Tool Engineering, Inc. in Cedar Springs, Michigan, for an update on workforce development efforts as she has also served for eight years on the board of AMBA West Michigan. She is currently the chapter’s treasurer. Cindy sent me some encouraging news and I’m going to share it in her words here because she expresses the excitement and dedication of the chapter’s members so well.

Chapter Advocacy:

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To run a conformal cooling analysis, the part, conformal cooling channel, and mold must be suitably modeled. The following list is an overview of the steps required.

Autodesk will present a webinar on April 18th at 10am EST on this comprehensive analysis of cooling design rules, presented in the form of various case studies, with regard to cooling optimization based on additive manufacturing and conformal cooling. The webinar will touch upon part quality and warpage optimization, thermal behavior of inserts (simulation and thermovision analysis), conformal cooling design optimization with regard to flow rates and pressure losses, and maintenance of inserts with conformal cooling.

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Smart tooling can mean a lot of things, but in this case it refers to combining two technologies that, in the past, have been successfully used individually. This week’s Throwback Thursday article discusses how combining cavity sensors with hot runner valve gate control can result in innovative solutions when it comes to processing challenges such as balance and filling issues, cosmetics and more.

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Posted by: Steven Kline, Jr. 12. April 2017

GBI: Moldmaking for March 2017 - 54.7

With a reading of 54.7, the Gardner Business Index showed that the moldmaking industry grew in March for the seventh time in eight months, although this was the first time in five months that the rate of growth decelerated. Even so, the last time the rate of growth was this fast was three years ago. 

New orders increased for the third month in a row, growing at a slightly slower rate than in February. Since September 2015, there have been quite a few peaks and valleys in production, but the overall trend in the production index continued to climb for the fifth month in a row. The backlog index grew for the third month in a row, clearly indicating increasing capacity utilization in 2017. Employment increased for the fifth straight month, while exports contracted for the third month in a row. Supplier deliveries lengthened at their fastest rate since May 2015. 

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These are the opening words of tool repairman James Bourne as he begins his 2012 "In the Trenches" mold repair series.

"Performing mold repair day-in and day-out often seems like a thankless job. You weren’t specifically trained to do mold repair; you are more than likely working in a “less than state-of-the-art” toolroom; and you can never do the job fast enough—not to mention you’re a cost center not a profit center! Not only does it feel thankless, but lonely too here in the trenches.  So we’ve developed this series to not only provide some camaraderie and encouragement—so you know that you are not alone in the trenches—but also to share some personal struggles, lessons learn and tricks of the trade. And, if in the course of this series we receive feedback, you will have done the same for me."

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