Moldmakers Working for Funding to Support Manufacturing Training

By: Christina M. Fuges 24. October 2014

Raymond Coombs is not only president of Westminster Tool, Inc. of Plainfeld, Connecticut, he also serves as the president of the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA), established to help beat the labor crunch by investing in the future manufacturing workforce.

EAMA is an aggregate of 34 manufacturers from three states (Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts) that work closely with two local community colleges: Three Rivers Community College and Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) to provide direction for curriculums that will benefit the future of manufacturingFor example, QVCC offered its first Advanced Manufacturing certificate program in the fall of 2013, from which two Westminster Tool employees graduated, and in which two more employees are currently enrolled.

And now, QVCC and TRCC were awarded funds from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant.

Since first covering EAMA earlier this year, the organization has expanded into North and South Chapters to accommodate the growing membership and fulfill specific needs.
1. The South Chapter members had a specific need for sheet metal fabricators and a training program that would produce fabricators. This was not something that either community colleges that EAMA works with offers. 
2. TRCC and QVCC applied for the grant under the umbrella of Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Initiative (CAMI), which comprises 12 community colleges in Connecticut and some of the technical high schools.
3. TRCC won grant funds to start a sheet metal fabrication training program.
4. QVCC won grant funds to support of its ongoing Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Program.
It's very motivating to hear about the various efforts across the country honing in on our workforce dilemna in such a successful way.  Please consider contacting me to share yours.

Industrial Size Investing

By: Christina M. Fuges 23. October 2014


It was no surprise to me after working with Industrial Molds on several editorial projects, including the 2012 Leadtime Leader Awards, amerimold and several case studies and features, that this mold manufacturer continues to grow. So much so that its current level of business prompted them to slow down and analyze how they can improve work flow to meet lead times.

According to Industrial Molds' Production Supervisor Andrew Peterson, a lot of planning went into their machinery purchases and building renovations. An investment of $1.7 million was made in new machinery as well as another $300,000 in a complete renovation of its 43,000-square-foot facility with the goal of making a more efficient shop layout, work flow and floor space for the new, larger machinery.

Some of the equipment includes a Mikron HSM 400 U LP five-axis electrode cutting machine that will double electrode production; an OKK HM1000S (a four-axis horizontal mill with a 40”x 40” dual table) installed in the mold base department to replace an older machine; three new Haas CNC milling machines (a V4 and two V2) in  the prepping departmen, which are forecasted to increase capacity in that department by 33 percent.

Industrial notes that the decision to create a specific department for preparing cavities and cores, which then get moved to the high-speed machining department, helps them keep a more efficient work flow. 

Industrial Molds also purchased two grinders for finishing after heat treat.

Industrial Molds Group will be exhibiting at NPE 2015, March 23-27, Orlando, FL, Booth #S-22144.

3-in-1: Print, Mill and Mold

By: Christina M. Fuges 17. October 2014

It is an interesting machining development in the midst of all the technological innovations that we've seen during the past year, especially when it comes to additive manufacturing. That is why I thought I'd share it with you.

This 3-in-1 machine is called the TRiBOT. According to Luminar Products, a small manufacturing company located outside of Boise, Idaho, it is a retrofitted bench top manual milling machine designed to take advantage of its initial industrial strength and add practical automated functions for specific manufacturing applications.

Inventors say this machine fills the void that currently exists between light-duty 3D printers and heavier duty machining and injection molding equipment. This desktop machine will allow small manufacturers to grow their businesses by taking ideas from prototype to production without investing in three different machines at more than three times the cost.

Check out their story here.


Building an Integrated Manufacturing Center to Help Fill the Skills Gap

By: Christina M. Fuges 16. October 2014

I've known Bob Novak of Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) for a few years now, and have come to understand his mission and fully embrace his passion for the industry and the students he teaches. We've covered him and his program in MMT, and he's spoken a couple times at our amerimold expo on the industry's workforce challenges and how he and WCTC have faced them head on.

That is why I wanted to fill you in on WCTC's latest project. WCTC is working to create a new Integrated Manufacturing Center (IMC) to raise WCTC manufacturing programs to a new level and to provide innovative solutions to the skills gap crisis.

The center will be connected to the Industrial Building and will be home to several programs within the School of Applied Technologies. It will serve as the hub of manufacturing on campus, facilitating integrated learning for multiple disciplines and promote a spirit of collaboration among programs.

According to WCTC, the proposed 24,000-square-foot IMC will include:
  • Automation Systems Technology laboratory (2)
  • Integrated Manufacturing and Engineering laboratory
  • Industrial Maintenance Technician laboratory
  • Electronics laboratory (2)
  • Electronics fabrication laboratory
  • Engineering lecture hall
  • AST classroom
  • Engineering classrooms (2)
  • IMC technology lab
  • Conference rooms (2)
You can learn more about the project here.  To make a donation in support of the IMC, visit

Go West

By: Christina M. Fuges 14. October 2014

On November 11th the Annual Mike Koebel Western Moldmakers Trade Fair will celebrate its 24th year with the introduction of a conference element to its traditional trade fair. The program includes presentations on conformal cooling from Linear Mold, technology investment and implementation from Paragon D&D, and toolroom setup from ToolingDocs.

This event takes place at the Sheraton Fair Hotel and Conference Center in Pomona, California from 1pm to 8pm. It attracts attendees from the moldmaking and molding communities throughout the Western Region. Be sure to register today!




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