Last-Minute Toy Shopping?

By: Christina M. Fuges 19. December 2014

This is an inside peek at the Rodon Group facility with the inventor of K'NEX, Joel Glickman. I had a personal tour with him on Manufacturing Day this past October, but never did make it over to the K'NEX building to see those parts pumping out. I only had time to see the Rodon Group facility, which is the mold building arm of the operation. (But I did get a complementary tub of toys ... which my son will be getting from Santa next week). 


Personality-Based Learning in the Shop

By: Christina M. Fuges 18. December 2014

"Great employees are those who not only can learn fast, but can put what they learn to use fast, as well; quickly complete their projects and help others do the same; and, get along with others in the way that brings out the best of everyone. Being great is only part of the story, though," says Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, the founder of Cheetah Learning

What sets dream teams apart is their ability to work together and bring out the best in each other. A project management training program can help you develop your own dream team, and help your organization in three key ways: 

1. Employees who learn how to use their innate strengths based on their personalities learn faster, get their work done more efficiently, and get along with coworkers and supervisors better.

2. Companies with a core group of employees who know how to use their innate strengths in this way show measurable improvements in not just earnings, but also profits.

3. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can tell you if an employee has the capability to be one of these top performers. Developing a KPI that accounts for the degree to which each member is working in their areas of strength will help you develop a high-performing project team.

When developing a KPI to evaluate your employees’ effectiveness, consider creating a Balanced Scorecard (BSC) that includes these measures:

●      Internal business processes - How well does this team member communicate with coworkers, supervisors, clients, and other stakeholders?

●      Financial measures - How quickly is this team member able to move from acquiring new skills to implementing these skills in a way that creates value for your organization?

●      Organizational growth - How passionate is this team member about their work? How well does this team member collaborate with others to generate new business ideas?

By investing in project management training focused on developing the unique strengths of your team members - and then following through by using a KPI to evaluate employee performance - you can create a high-performing dream team.


Intro to 3D Printing

By: Christina M. Fuges 16. December 2014

With the trend in 3D printing only growing, I have been in many conversations while putting together features for our Additive Manufacturing Supplement that revolve around the need for a curriculum focused on 3D printing.

Stratasys has developed such a curriculum. The beginner course, Introduction to 3D Printing: From Design to Fabrication, explores 3D printing in terms of its history, established applications, forward-looking trends, and potential social and economic impacts. Through project-based learning, students will experience 3D printing’s impact on the design process firsthand. A variety of projects guide students through the process of designing and 3D printing a fully functional moving part in a single build.

Students will become familiar with the advantages of various 3D printing technologies in terms of precision, resolution and material capabilities. While Stratasys recommends FDM and PolyJet 3D printing technologies for this course, any technology platform and any CAD software with STL support may be used.

Completion of the beginning course should enable graduates to demonstrate knowledge of key historical factors that have shaped manufacturing over the centuries; explain current and emerging 3D printing applications in a variety of industries; describe the advantages and limitations of the main 3D printing technologies; evaluate real-life scenarios, and recommend the appropriate use of 3D printing technology; identify opportunities to apply 3D printing technology for time and cost reduction; discuss the economic implications of 3D printing, including its impact on startup businesses and supply chains; and, design and print objects containing moving parts without assembly.

Stratasys plans to add two sequential advanced courses that will cover material memory, multi-material use and 3D printing for robotics applications.

Schools in Singapore and the U.S. have led the process of implementing Stratasys’ 3D printing curriculum.

Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston uses Stratasys’ 3D printing curriculum. “There are going to be many instructors out there who would love to teach a course in 3D printing, but who simply do not have enough time to do the detailed research and to prepare professional level presentations,” says Assistant Professor Steve Chomyszak. “This curriculum has now made it much easier for any instructor to offer a college level course on the subject.”

Learn more about the courses, specific details or to download free materials, by visiting the Stratasys Educational Curriculum page.

Photo courtesy of Wentworth Institute of Technology.

"Mold Your Career" Apprentice Award

By: Christina M. Fuges 12. December 2014

At this month's AMBA Chicago Chapter meeting, the group awarded Carlos Santillan of Aurora-based Craftsman Tool & Mold the 2014 Mold Your Career Apprentice Award for his outstanding performance as a finishing machinist.
Carlos began his career at Craftsman in 2011 with no skills or knowledge of the mold
building trade. The training program at Craftsman allowed him to quickly grasp the skills necesaary to do his job. Today he continues to improve his knowledge and skills by participating in the apprenticeship program at the Technology and Manufacturing Association (TMA), which he will finish next spring.
Carlos received a $1,000 gift certificate to DGI Supply, courtesy of DGI and Schmolz+Bickenbach.
Other companies nominated their outstanding apprentices, each of whom was recognized with a $40 Starbucks gift card donated by Synventive Molding Solutions.
These honorees included Justin Carlson of Industrial Molds Group, Rich Clark of PM Mold,
Mickey Givens of Do-Rite Die & Engineering, Zach Hillers of Industrial Molds Group and John Roberts of PM Mold.
Let's give Carlos and the others a warm moldmaking hand!

Want to Know What We Are Celebrating in 2015?

By: Christina M. Fuges 11. December 2014

I believe every shop has a story to tell, and some are worthy not only of coverage, but of Leadtime Leader Award consideration.
Here are some of the areas we examine:
  • History of company
  • Competitive profile for your company 
  • Average leadtime on a project
  • Leadtime history
  • On time percentage for mold delivery 
  • Positive changes in leadtimes over the last 24-36 months
  • Strategies to help your shop compete
  • • Value-added services offered
  • New market penetration
  • New customer base
  • Details on newest technology innovation/implementation
  • Details on current and future business strategies
  • Sales and marketing strategy
  • Method for keeping on top of technology and business strategy innovations
  • Extent of automation in your operations
  • Strategies for beating the labor crunch
  • Strategies for employee retention, recruitment and skills training?
  • Existing and future plans for organizational development?
Check out our Leadtime Leader alumni. Your shop could be added to this list, but you have to enter to win
Advance Tool
M&M Tool and Mold
Wentworth Mold Group
M&M Tool and Mold
Minco Tool and Mold
M&M Tool and Mold, Inc. 
Extreme Tool and Engineering 
A.J. Tool Co. Inc.
Chicago Mold
Tech Tool & Mold
Commercial Tool & Die
Extreme Tool & Engineering
Commercial Tool & Die
Byrne Tool & Die
Triangle Tool
Mold Craft
United Mold & Tool
Mold Tech
Industrial Molds Group
M&M Tool and Mold
Tech Molded Plastics, Inc.
Micro Mold Company, Inc.
Westminster Tool
Aabers Tool and Mold


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