MMT Blog

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Industrial computed tomography (CT) scanning remains one of the more exotic (read: pricey) technologies when it comes to industrial metrology, and yet most mold manufacturers and the OEMs they serve see absolute value in using it.

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Bob Elwell has always been intrigued by the ways companies operate, specify, design and procure plastic product designs, prototypes, production molds and molded plastic parts. His fascination began more than 30 years ago when he entered the plastics product design, mold building and molding industry. He started in mold design and manufacturing, and then moved onto product design, tooling management and purchasing. Today, Bob owns his own engineering firm, Procad Technologies, and is excited to share what he has learned throughout his career when it comes to challenges of tooling. Specifically, purchasing.

While the technical side of engineering and manufacturing has changed and improved, the business side has had to adapt to domestic and international competitive pressures. Purchasing departments have been tasked with making companies more profitable by lowering the costs of purchased goods. This entails moving manufacturing to different vendors, including those offshore. Over the last several decades, an increase in offshore manufacturing has dramatically changed the injection mold market. These offshore vendors have been quite creative in how they bring U.S. companies in to buy products. Here, I will focus on purchasing departments and the decisions they make here in the U.S.

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Collaborative manufacturing is what helped make an apprenticeship training program and a scientific molding training program come together in the form of a puzzle mold on July 21.

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It’s a well-known expression around my family and the moldmaking industry—moldmakers and their toys. It’s because moldmakers like to have fun when they aren’t hard at work in their shops. I remember one t-shirt a dear friend in the industry had that said, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” That about sizes it up!

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