By: Christina M. Fuges 19. November 2015

Fast-Track Training

Right Skills Now focuses on in-demand skills in CNC operations, programming and machining, which will account for 14 to 22 percent of job growth by 2024, according to NIMS. NIMS and its partners developed Right Skills Now in response to the manufacturing skills gap, and through it participants earn a career readiness credential and four stackable NIMS credentials via an education partner. They also obtain basic workplace experience and skills through a company-sponsored internship.  

The three main models listed are:

1. Fast-Tracked, For-Credit Career Training, which is the accelerated route, using modular curriculum, allowing individuals to gain credentials and academic credit.

2. Industry Credentials with Value in the Workplace, which supports students in their transition to employment while continuing their studies and accumulation of industry-recognized credentials.

3. Pathways to Advancement and Degrees, which offers participants the opportunity to continue their educational goals while working to help advance within their career pathway.

Right Skills Now can be used as an entry-level training program for new or transitioning employees or as a pre-apprenticeship program that provides foundational skills and experiences for individuals pursuing full-time apprenticeships. 

By: Cynthia Kustush 18. November 2015

Toilet Paper - It's the Little Things

Since taking on my new role at MoldMaking Technology, I have had the opportunity to tour a few mold manufacturing plants to see the latest technologies they are using to build some pretty impressive tools.

I hadn’t stepped foot in a shop (other than my dad’s) for some time, and as I walked around I began noticing what some would consider unexpected paraphernalia purposefully set around various departments’ benches and machinery.

I’m talking about rolls of toilet paper here.

Yes, toilet paper comes in handy for more than just one’s use while on the proverbial throne. In the shop it is used for wiping or cleaning mold components because it will not scratch and damage surfaces. In a pinch it’s a handy tool that’s also economical to buy.

This got me thinking about what other items I might find out in the shop that are regularly used for something other than their intended purposes. I know many shops use Q-Tips – not for their ears as intended but for scratch-proof cleaning in tight spaces, nooks and crannies on tooling.

Mold manufacturing is so advanced, so sophisticated. We all love seeing the latest CNC, EDM and QC equipment when touring a plant. It’s fascinating. But it’s those little, everyday things, like TP and Q-Tips, that tend to get overlooked in the scheme of a shop’s operations, and these little things serve big purposes.

What other items have you put to work on your shop floor for “unexpected” uses? Are there small but important implements being utilized for mold building or repair that your employees can’t do without? Let us hear from you!

By: Christina M. Fuges 17. November 2015

Looking for a Tool Steel Heat Treatment Source?

How does agitating a quench liquid improve quenching speed? Why do tool steels require a high austenization temperature for hardending? How thick can a P20 mold steel be through hardened into the center? These and other questions were answered during last week's webinar on heat treatment basics.

Mold and die steels can be supplied pre-hardened or in a soft condition to facilitate machining. If machined soft, the steel must be hardened to enable the material to withstand the demands of a production environment. Heat treatment is the process for hardening or altering the internal structure of steels. Several processes can be used to achieve the desired end condition. Once considered an art, heat treatment has been refined by science and technology to a reliable and repeatable industry.

Click here for our archived webinar presented by Ellwood Specialty Steel

By: Cynthia Kustush 16. November 2015

Making Connections, Fostering Community

Last Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of a very regional and important industry event called the SPI Mike Koebel Western Moldmakers Trade Fair. Folks from throughout the mold building and molding industries gather each year in Pomona, California, to exhibit their products and services for a mere four hours. I call this event important because, more than just exhibiting wares, it’s about making connections and fostering community.

While most of the attendees at the MoldMakers Trade Fair represent companies from Western states and in particular California, there are several who make the pilgrimage every year to be in this room because they know this event may be small, but the ROI in networking, camaraderie and the unified purpose of furthering the industry is mighty.

For example, as I helped manage a tabletop exhibit for the SPE’s Mold Technologies Division, which jointly sponsors a new Technical Workshop at the trade fair with MoldMaking Technology Magazine, I met a gentleman who mentioned that he was seeking new teaching opportunities in mold building and he asked if the SPE could help him locate schools with a need. I told him we could assist, and not ten minutes later a gentleman from Cerritos College approached and told me his school is looking to ramp its mold manufacturing curriculum back up. I immediately helped them connect.

Students from Cal Poly Pomona (short for California State Polytechnic University, Pomona) stopped by to enquire about how to take products they designed and developed to market. These enterprising youths saw the trade fair as a promising avenue to realizing their entrepreneurial dreams and they, too, made connections with attendees who could provide guidance.

I never cease to be amazed at the ways our industry and the people in it are connected. Events large and small underscore what a small world mold manufacturing is and they provide ways in which we can come together to further advance our skills, hone our competitiveness and build our community.

Congratulations to the SPI on 25 years of success.

By: Randy Kerkstra 13. November 2015

The Designer's Edge: Hydraulics and Switches

Proximity switch and mechanical switch. 

When using mounting plates to attach the hydraulic cylinders to the mold you need to make sure the plate and bolts are robust enough to prevent flexing and broken bolts from the stresses. Many failures occur due to inadequate mounting plate thickness and bolt size. Also, whenever the cylinder rod is attached to the component with threads you need to make sure the hole is tapped perfectly straight/square. You should also consider doweling the plates in position so that everything stays in the center of the cylinder. To reduce the chances of threads working loose over time, use a lock tight or set screw.

Mechanical and proximity switches are two common switch styles used with hydraulics for set and pull position. Although a mechanical switch would be my first choice, proximity switches are used in most cases due to their compact size and being part of the cylinder. These read magnetically and sense the position of the piston—either directly on the piston itself with the sensor bolted in a hole in the wall of the cylinder or through the cylinder wall when made of aluminum or stainless steel. When using sensors that are bolted in a fixed position, timing of the component for the set and pull position is critical. This helps keep the piston in the correct position, so sensors can read it in the set and pull position.

Sensors that read through the wall of the cylinder can be adjusted to any position, so timing of the component is not as critical. But when using aluminum cylinders, you need to make sure they can withstand the cavity and hydraulic pressures. When using proximity sensors you need to take temperature into consideration, as most will not read properly over 150 degrees. Also,  switches that read magnetically can create issues. For example, we had metal chips get inside the lines and a tool crashed because it was reading the false position and the machine cycled.

Later this month look for the subject to change to lifters.

« Prev | | Next »

Subscribe to MMT Blog

RSS RSS  |  Atom Atom

Subscribe to MMT Blog
RSS RSS  |  Atom Atom

Register with us today to meet new customers looking for
Amerimold 2016 Save the Date!
Additive Manufacturing