By: Christina M. Fuges 20. May 2016

Additive Manufacturing May Digital Edition Is Here


This edition includes a story on a new additive manufacturing factory at Caterpillar that focuses on aftermarket parts today in preparation for production parts in the future, how AM has made it possible to produce a medical tool that offers surgeons better control during ACL repair or replacement surgery, the way forward for an independent manufacturer offering AM and a discussion on the challenges of AM that OEMs, users and others are watching with interest.

Something of note in this issue is mention of our third annual Additive Manufacturing Conference (AMC) taking place alongside the International Manufacturing and Technology Show in Chicago, IL, at McCormick Place. The focus of the conference is on industrial applications of additive technologies for making functional components and end-use production parts. It will cover the processes, applications and materials to give you practical knowledge on how to implement AM in your facility.Your AMC registration will include full access to the more than 2,000 exhibitors that will be on display.  Registration for the conference opens this month, so please check back for details. 



By: Christina M. Fuges 19. May 2016

"Extreme" Excitement at AMBA Convention

Mike Zacharias, president of Extreme was presented with AMBA's Mold Builder of the Year Award by past winner Tim Bartz of Mold Craft (second from the right), and Glenn and Don Starkey of Award sponsor Progressive Components (on the ends). 

With a theme of “Trigger Your Brilliance,” last month’s AMBA Annual Conference put the spotlight on ways mold building executives can improve their businesses--including leading-edge benchmarks, industry trends, and operational and financial best practices--but one of the true highlights was this year's Mold Builder of the Year recipient, who I consider more than an industry colleague.

I was introduced to Mike Zacharias, president of Extreme Tool & Engineering of Wakefield Michigan, back in 2005 when I learned the company started the same year MMT launched its premier issue (1998) and with the same number of employees (six). Since then MMT has covered the passion of this inspiring leader and the growth of the company and its determined team through articles and its two Leadtime Leader wins in 2006 and 2008.

The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, was the perfect setting for this esteemed Award that honors individuals in an industry dedicated to American innovation. During the presentation speech by last year's winner, Mold Craft's Tim Bartz, Mike was described as a true visionary with extraordinary passion for the mold, tool and die trade for more than three decades. He started as an apprenctice in the eighties and then progressed to mold designer, project engineer, project management and plant management. He was running a tool shop for annother owner when the business was sold and was then faced with the choice between working for someone else or starting his own business. He chose the latter, stating that it was the "best decision of his life, other than marrying his wife." Today the company employees 85 people in two facilities.

Mike is also very active in the industry and always willing to give back to those around him. Many in the industry are honored to call him a competitor and friend, and that includes me. Congratulations Mike! 


2016 AMBA Mold Builder of the Year Mike Zacharias and his wife and company controller, Shari.​




By: Cynthia Kustush 18. May 2016

Let the Games and Trash Talk Begin!

Members of the AMBA's Chicago Chapter gather for a celebratory photo after capturing the Chapter of the Year Award. The honor was bestowed at the AMBA's annual conference during its awards banquet at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.


Those aren’t my words, but when Francine Petrucci, president of the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) Chicago Chapter said it after her division won Chapter of the Year for the second year in a row, everyone laughed knowing it was said jokingly with the West Michigan Chapter in mind. They are Chicago’s main competition for this honor, and yet it’s a fun competition because we know we’re all in this great industry together.

Through the years, AMBA’s chapters have reached out to one another for input, assistance, camaraderie and more. When we meet at industry events like the AMBA’s annual conference (where the Mold Builder of the Year and Chapter of the Year awards are bestowed, sponsored by Progressive Components) companies network and reach out to one another—even to those considered direct competitors. Why? Many have said it is because it’s a “friendly competition”, and I believe and support that notion. It’s also because we need each other. We need to learn from each other and share new ideas and strategies. These kinds of experiences are what make the AMBA conference and other events (like the US moldmaking industry’s own Amerimold Expo) worthwhile—and inspiring.

But I digress slightly from some great news! This year the Chicago AMBA held its second annual Supplier Night fundraiser for its education committee. It was a resounding success, raising more than $19,000. We welcomed members of the West Michigan AMBA to our event so they could see what the event is all about and ask questions about how to organize a similar event for themselves. Well today I received an announcement that they have set the date for their own Supplier Night. It will be held on Wednesday, June 29, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Celebration Cinemas North in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They are currently looking for sponsors/exhibitors and anyone who is interested should email Cindy Baas at CS Tool Engineering, Inc. or call her at 616-696-0940.

Members of the Chicago Chapter plan to attend West Michigan’s event in support of their quest to further their work on behalf of the mold manufacturing industry, and I hope owners, managers and employees of Michigan shops will make a great showing of support as well. We all benefit when we work together (even if there's a little trash talking involved)!

By: Cynthia Kustush 17. May 2016

Amerimold is for... Achievers!

Amerimold 2016 features a new conference track: Mold - for moldmakers who want to build better molds by having a better understanding of the injection molding process.


Following up on my blog from last week about our Amerimold Expo, which will be held June 15-16 in Novi, Michigan, I thought I’d call out some aspects of the event that will surely be of interest to our moldmaking audience. Why? Because moldmakers are achievers. I’ve never met a moldmaker who isn’t a hard worker with an innate curiosity about how to do his or her job better in order to provide the customer with the highest quality molds. Well, bring your curiosity to Amerimold and be prepared to learn about the latest strategies in moldmaking.

For instance, our Technical Conference Program is organized into four tracks: Engineer, Build, Maintain and the new Mold conference track. Sponsored by our sister magazine Plastics Technology, attendees to the Mold conference track will learn how to solve or improve on plastic injection molding issues by gaining a better understanding of the injection molding process. Learn from the experts how part design can impact the final part shape; examine plastic part production failures; see how to track molds using cloud data management and much more.

There are eight different sessions to choose from in the Mold conference track, with industry-leading experts presenting them (Click on each to learn more.):

Amerimold is only about four weeks away and registering is easy! Register today and be sure to walk the Expo floor in between sessions – we have more exhibitors this year than we’ve ever had, plus plan to join us on Wednesday evening right after the show closes for our popular Leadtime Leader Awards presentations and Casino Cocktail Reception.

We’ll see you in Novi!

By: Christina M. Fuges 16. May 2016

WEBINAR: Want to Know How a Leadtime Leader Does It?


Mold manufacturers are experiencing intense global competition, and that is requiring them to reduce tool cost, decrease tool design through manufacturing leadtime and improve product quality.  One way to take on these challenges is using the right software. This week's webinar hosted by Siemems PLM Software discussed and demonstrated how NX™ Moldwizard software can transform the tooling development process with advanced knowledge-driven automation that can improve overall productivity, accelerate the process, reduce waste and cost and improve quality.

NX Mold Wizard provides a structured workflow based on expert best practices, automation of mold-specific design tasks and libraries of standard mold components. It is a step-by-step process that promotes the most efficient workflow, while integrating complex elements of design technology into automated sequences. Supporting the value of this type of software investment was Brian Bendig, president of Cavalier Tool & Manufacturing, MoldMaking Technology's 2015 Leadtime Leader Award winner.

Listen to archived webinar today.


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