Design to First Shot, and Beyond

By: Christina M. Fuges 5. May 2016



Engineer sessions, sponsored by MMT, will help mold buyers and builders gain insight into proven technologies and strategies for better part/mold design and development, including tooling material options, additive manufacturing, conformal cooling, CAD/CAM and data management.

Build sessions, sponsored by Makino, will examine the challenges to better mold-building operations and the technology solutions that can help yield higher quality molds and end-use parts, including automation, cutter technology, EDM, hot runners, workholding and five-axis machining.

Maintain sessions, sponsored by MMT, will cover the skills and systems necessary to overcome mold repair issues, including a review of coatings options, welding techniques and maintenance strategies.

New Mold sessions, sponsored by Plastics Technology, will reveal the impact of part design on final part shape, and how to integrate molds, machines and automation to create an effective production system to yield successful collaborative manufacturing.

The Exhibit Hall will house top technology providers in software, additive manufacturing, machine tools, cutting tools, mold materials, components, hot runners, inspection/measurement equipment, surface treatment, mold maintenance and repair, and molding technologies and services (see our Amerimold Zone for our technology highlights).

Lastly, don’t forget our annual networking party, the unveiling of our 2016 “Top 10 Reasons to Be a Moldmaker” T-shirts and the awards ceremony for this year’s Leadtime Leader winners, sponsored by Progressive Components. Visit for full event details and to register today!

MMT's May Digital Edition Is Available

By: Christina M. Fuges 3. May 2016


This month MMT takes a look at how an alternative cutting tool geometry and the right CAM 
software can help reduce finish-machining times; how to unlock the true potential of magnetic workholding for machining mold bases and inserts; how the workpiece material and the process parameters of a sinker EDM operation can impact productivity and profitability; how in-house sampling of large coinjection molds gives one moldmaker an edge over its competition; and, how to choose the right wire and welding technique for aluminum mold repair.

Other coverage includes a profile of El Dorado Molds, a machining case study, common laser welding pitfalls, making ISO certification a profitable proposition, incentives for hiring veterans, an inspection/sofware tip, Part 1 of our Amerimold Exhibitor Product Showcase, our monthly MoldMaking Business Index and End Market Reports for Consumer Goods and Automotive.

Click here for our digital edition.


What Do You Really Know about Mold Cooling?

By: Christina M. Fuges 28. April 2016


Do you ever ask yourself why cycle time matters? Although the level of impact may vary across the supply chain, one thing is certain: reducing cycle times can lead to hidden cost savings, such as required production quantities being reached sooner, machines opening up, avoiding capacity tooling, avoiding machine purchases and avoiding plant build-outs. And with cooling and recovery making up 80 percent of the injection molding cycle, it is the perfect place for improvement to help reduce cycle times. The key to this improvement is using analysis.  Listen to this archived webinar to learn how to achieve optimal cooling through analysis.

Tim Lankisch from CAE Services explains how cooling analysis can provide the ability to accurately simulate any number of cooling designs to optimize part quality and reduce cycle times, how cycle time impacts profitability, how the mold design impacts cooling, how proper processing can reduce cycle times and identify potential warpage issues.

He also shares tips for the supply chain. For example, molders and OEMs must insist on analysis, know their GPM for each line and do the math (what does X seconds of cycle savings mean?); part designers need to avoid difficult-to-cool areas, where possible and have an analysis team help with rib placement; moldmakers should follow cooling suggestions from the analysis and be creative and test using analysis; and, material suppliers should provide robust material testing. 

To hear more from Tim as well as the answers to many attendee questions on the topic--such as, How do you calculate the average velocity of coolant to calculate the GPM? Do you get the cooling time out of Moldflow or do you set a time and see if it works? How do you determine the appropriate cycle time for a specific material type?-- click here.

Everyone Has a Top 10 List

By: Christina M. Fuges 25. April 2016


MMT's just happens to be the Top 10 Reasons to Be a Moldmaker, which has become a popular annual t-shirt tradition. Over the years we have received some clever, and rather funny, entries. But, we are always looking for you to top the previous year's list. Remember these from 2008?

10. When you screw up, you don’t get reprimanded with time off of work, you get overtime to correct the mistake.

9. You get to play with million dollar machines.

8. You're able to help your kids with their Trig homework.

7. Your friends and family have no idea what you’re talking about.

6. Moldmakers create lasting impressions.

5. It makes spelling easy (i.e. CNC, EDM, CAD, CAM, RFQ, etc.).

4. Cause faster backward's thinkers move forward quicker!!

3. You can strike fear in the boss with one word: WELD!

2. The difficult we do every day, the impossible just takes a little longer.

#1 To make "Made in USA" possible.  

Let these motivate you to send me your top reasons for being a moldmaker. Click HERE to enter yours today! And be sure to register for Amerimold 2016 this June 15-16 in Novi, Michigan, so you can pick up your 2016 Top 10 t-shirt!

Molds for Clean Water

By: Christina M. Fuges 22. April 2016


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.

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