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By: Christina M. Fuges 22. April 2016

Molds for Clean Water

 

When I received the release that Industrial Molds Inc. (MMT's 2012 Leadtime Leader Award Winner) was selected by Kohler Co. to oversee the manufacture of six molds to help create the Kohler Clarity water filtration system to be used to help bring clean drinking water to those who need it, I had to share the story. Click here for a video describing the project.

In October of 2013, Kohler learned about water quality and availability issues some associates in India who were experiencing a drought. Kohler's "Innovations for Good" participants decided to come up with a way to help their own associates get clean drinking water. The result was the Kohler Clarity, an innovative product with a ceramic filtration system that will help 1.8 billion people in remote regions to access safe, reliable drinking water. 

The system is simple to use and works on gravity alone, with no electricity or water infrastructure needed. The filter holds 11 liters (2.9 gallons) of dirty water that flows into a 12-liter (3.1-gallon) reservoir, where the clean water is stored to avoid recontamination. The system is designed to provide a family of four with the potable water they need for the day, removing over 99 percent of bacteria and protozoa to meet the World Health Organization’s interim-level water quality guidelines.

Since the product would be manufactured using plastic, Kohler wanted a partner known for its engineering expertise in mold design and build, and one that would contribute molds at their cost. As a current, proven vendor for Kohler, Industrial Molds VP (and MMT EAB member) Tim Peterson was approached. He quickly jumped onto the project when he heard that Kohler planned to manufacture and distribute the Clarity systems at cost to non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Peterson agreed to oversee the mold builds at cost.

"It did not take much convincing to get them to participate,” says Tim White, Business Development Manager – Water Technologies, Kohler. “The leadership team at Industrial was very gracious and agreed to do everything at cost. They didn’t want anything more other than the ability to publicize the program.”    

According to Industrial Molds, they managed the mold building process in China using a trusted partner with which Industrial had built a relationship.  Industrial’s account manager, Joe Hansen, was brought in as he manages the relationship with the China vendor for Industrial and is experienced in that arena.

The Clarity project required a great deal of collaboration between Kohler, Industrial and the Chinese mold manufacturer. Mike Radloff, Senior Project Manager – Water Technologies for Kohler noted that one of the first calls he made to Industrial Molds on the program was to review tooling drawings. “We had regular phone calls to review the molds and exchange input,” says Radloff. “Industrial provided good suggestions on part thicknesses to avoid sink and advice on gate location, as well as program scheduling. We asked for some atypical things but Industrial Molds responded quickly to our requests for answers. We found that response time very amazing.”

The tooling package consisted of six molds: the lid, the upper chamber, a lower chamber that collects the clean water, the stand, filter holder to hold the ceramic filter, and a nut to secure the filter. The spigot is purchased. The upper and lower chambers are molded in virgin clarified PP.  Because Kohler needed robust parts, the wall thickness was increased, but that resulted the part being cloudy. Kohler needed transparency so that users could see the water dripping into the collection (lower) chamber. At the last minute, a surface texture was added at Industrial’s suggestion in order to help improve transparency.

Joe Hansen and another Industrial account manager, Wes Stephens, went to China with Kohler’s Radloff and a tooling engineer, to oversee mold tryouts.  They did a small-lot run of 150 parts and shipped them to Industrial Molds for a quality check as Kohler needed samples for a show. Other Clarity systems went to Kohler in India where Kohler personnel performed beta testing on the Clarity system.

“We set up a lot of extra out-of-the-norm activities such as getting the sample parts made in China to have parts in hand,” said Radloff. “We had Industrial do a lot of extra work in setting everything up with the Chinese mold vendor, but they were always there to help us when needed. I was amazed how smooth everything went in China. Everything we asked for came out exactly as it was supposed to. Industrial Molds’ people were professional. It was one of my most enjoyable trips to China. It was quick; we got in and got things done within the timeline we needed.”

The molds were then shipped to Industrial for the breakdown, inspection, cleaning and final checks prior to being shipped to the Kohler molding facility in Sheridan, Arkansas where production was scheduled to begin at the end of January.

You can ask Industrial Molds about the project yourself at Amerimold. They are exhibiting in Booth 422.


By: Christina M. Fuges 21. April 2016

Keys to Longevity

 

Last year's 2015 Leadtime Leader Honorable Mention, Dynamic Tool & Design, Inc., is still going strong, and celebrating its 40-year anniversary. This global plastic injection mold builder was founded in 1976 and has grown because of its continual investment in technology and employees. 

“Over the past 40 years Dynamic has looked to enhance the process of building molds by incorporating the latest technologies in machining and automation to maximize output, minimize leadtimes and maintain the quality our customers require. We also continue to invest heavily in the development of our employees through training and our apprenticeship programs. We must constantly be preparing for the future of the company,” explains David Miller, President.

The company celebrated the 40 year anniversary on April 9 at a party held at the Pabst Brewery and honored John Lau and Irv Fischer. Since its beginning, Dynamic Tool has provided injection molding solutions to the packaging, personal care and healthcare industries by designing and building custom injection molds including multi-shot molds, rotary stack molds and unscrewing molds.

“Dynamic Tool’s employees are a driving factor in why the company has been in business for 40 years. Founders, John Lau and Irv Fischer, recognized that and to reward the employees as well as to ensure the company’s continuation into the future, Dynamic reorganized as an employee owned company in 2010. Now each employee has a vested interest in the success of the company,” explains Craig Lau, Vice President. “We have grown from 2 to 70 employees.”

Check out more on Dynamic by clicking here to read our feature story and to view our video feature.

We will be announcing out 2016 Leadtime Leader Winners in our June issue and present them to the industry at an Awards Ceremony during Amerimold 2016, June 15 & 16 in Novi, Michigan. So stay tuned and register for Amerimold to meet this year's winners!

 


By: Cynthia Kustush 20. April 2016

Amerimold 2016: Bigger and Better Than Ever

 

We’re setting records here at MMT, and it’s all to do with Amerimold Expo 2016!

Our marketing department just alerted us about the fact that exhibit spaces are selling out, and that’s after they already expanded the available floor space. Amerimold Expo will take place June 15-16 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan. If ever there was a time to market your products and services, it’s now. This is where you make viable connections, readers!

As our Show Manager Dave Necessary put it, Amerimold began in 2011 as an event for moldmakers, and they are leading the charge even now when it comes to participating in and contributing to the show’s growth. We thank you for that because today, in addition to an amazing group of exhibitors, Amerimold Expo offers an incredible conference program presented by the industry’s leading experts on mold design and building to mold maintenance and repair, additive manufacturing, molding optimization and more. Quoting Dave again… “It’s where the leaders and influencers in moldmaking and injection molding connect.”

So come on and join us! Information about reserving one of our last remaining booths can be obtained by calling Michelle Crider at 513-527-8800, or email her: info@amerimoldexpo.com.

For those who wish to attend Amerimold Expo and walk the show, you’ll encounter more than 150 leading equipment suppliers and mold manufacturing service providers. Plus, we’ll be co-located with the Thermoplastic Composites Conference for Automotive (TCC Auto) this year.

Register before May 1 to secure free access to the showroom floor by clicking here. While you’re on the Amerimold Expo website, be sure to check out conference session specifics and register.

I hope to see everyone there!

 

 


By: Christina M. Fuges 19. April 2016

MMT's April Digital Edition Is Available

This month we uncover a secret to improving sequential molding by looking at large injection-molded parts and how a servo-driven valve gate system can improve surface finish and part performance. We examine the importance of considering the elements of the entire tooling assembly (including the tool, holder and holder components) to optimize productivity. And, we break down how to drive cost out of the value chain by revealing the results of a recent study on cost challenges among the automotive tooling supply chain and recommendations for driving profitable growth.

Also in this issue, we profile Legacy Precision Molds, share PTI Engineered Plastics' success story with CimatronE CAM software, examine proper mold repair workflow, take a look at the final clause revisions of ISO 9001 2015,  review the basics of state tax nexus, explain trends in the appliance and medical markets, share how hot runner controllers can provide mold data to keep your process going and highlight surface treatment technology in our Product Focus section.

Click here for your digital edition to read and share.

 


By: Cynthia Kustush 18. April 2016

Disconnect to Reconnect?

Chili Champs at B A Die Mold, Inc.

It seems like everyone is working harder than ever today. It’s difficult to dial down when you have continual connectivity with work all day and even at home via various electronic devices. Most of us spend more time at work than at play. So how can we help employees disconnect in order to reconnect and feel happier in their work?

That’s the question, and some have found some answers. One example is at Krieger Craftsmen, where owner Tim Krieger installed a beautiful outdoor space for his employees, complete with a fountain and garden, a fireplace and grilling station, that he named the Tranquility Area. He encourages his team to enjoy it and, during non-working time or a lunch break, to use it with family members.

Tim took his cue from A-1 Tool Corp. and Craftsman Tool and Mold Company, each of whom installed workout areas for their employees and even hired personal trainers to come in and customize programs for those who were serious about getting in shape.

Other companies have elaborate picnics and holiday parties and many cater in lunches or get a company team together to compete in a park district league of some kind a couple of days a week. Some extend lunch breaks to hold cook-off contests. For example, B A Die Mold, Inc., recently held a chili cook-off and six employees entered to win bragging rights. I was able to stop in and participate that day and could not believe how very different each chili recipe tasted from the others. They were all delicious and as it turned out, two entrants tied for top honors. I’ve heard about other companies doing similar “foodie” contests, including best barbequed ribs and best burger creation competitions—even a baking contest!

There are so many ways to help ease stress at work and build camaraderie among employees. Please note, too, that many of these activities do not require the use of Smart Phones or other electronics. Instead, they require human interaction, face-to-face time, etc. With summer nearly upon us, I wonder what other ways companies can do to bring fun into the workplace and lighten up the days. Please share!

 





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