Manufacturing Trends for 2014-2015

By: Christina M. Fuges 24. April 2014

According to Jacob Prak, CEO of MMI, manufacturing in the U.S. is experiencing a significant boost from the shale oil and gas boom. Cheaper natural gas feed stocks are making U.S.-produced plastics and other materials less expensive than in other parts of the world. This will then mean that finished products which rely on these materials will be more competitive. 

Communication technology will continue to reduce obstacles associated with bringing together geographically disparate manufacturing expertise. Manufacturing will need to react to market trends more quickly as demand can now be developed nearly instantaneously through social and other media. Production lines and supply chains will need the flexibility to adapt quickly.

Prak also cites the biggest challenges for manufacturing for the second half of 2014 as taxation, regulation and political unrest. He notes that in many countries, governments are responsible for an ever-increasing share of buying decisions either through direct taxation and spending or by regulation. In many places, the rules which govern the economy can change on a whim which makes production planning and the associated capital investment extremely risky.

Other insights include less R&D spending due mainly to a great deal of uncertainty in the economy, a rise in 3D printing's positive effect on manufacturing and an increase in production moving closer to the consumer.

Michigan Manufacturing International (MMI) specializes in supplying manufactured to print assemblies and components to OEMs. Products include assemblies, castings, stampings, machined parts, gears, bearings and more. 

Advanced Moldmaking Hits Vegas

By: Christina M. Fuges 22. April 2014
ANTEC®--an annual plastics technical conference produced by the Society of Plastics Engineers to take place the week of April 28th at the Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada--connects classroom theory with real-world solutions.
This year the SPE Mold Making and Mold Design Division has developed a moldmaking specific day of conference sessions focused on advancing mold design and manufacturing and building and running better performing molds:
Tuesday AM Session
8 a.m. – Keynote Speaker, David Tilstone, President, National Tooling & Machining Association
"Challenges and Opportunities Facing Die and Mold Manufacturers in the U.S.”
9:00am, Paul Boettger: “New Methods for Producing Energy Savings When Using Hot Runner Systems”
9:30 am, Leizl Wee Sit: “Novel Approach in Fabrication of Printed Metal Tooling”
10:00 am, James Wirwille: “The Effect of Temperature Uniformity and Surface Finish On Color Change Performance Of Hot Runner Systems”
10:30 am, Valery Ngomo: “New Stainless Mold Base Steel with High Machinability and Improved Thermal Conductivity”
11:00 am, Ken Rumore: “Data Driven Decision Making for the Injection Mold Designer”
11:30 am, Huang, Zhigao: “The Development of a CAD/CAE Integrated Wizard Design System for the Injection Mold”
Tuesday PM Session – Joint with Injection Molding Division
1:30–2pm, Keynote Speaker, James Wall, Executive Director, National Institute for Metalworking Skills, “State of the Industry: What are we doing on the training side to ensure a stable, highly skilled workforce for the 21st Century”
2–2:30 pm, Dr. Bernhard Gesenhues, University of Applied Sciences-Darmstadt
"Fatigue Failure of Injection Molds”
2:30-3pm, Frank Rymas: “Making it Right, Making it Fast: Metal Material Selection for Core Pins”
3-3:30 pm, Alan Hickok: “Clean and Cost-Saving: New Developments for Meeting Medical Molding Challenges”
3:30-4 pm, Majed Alsarheed, John P. Coulter: “Investigation of Melt Modulation Control and Its Effect on Cold-Runner Injection Molding Packing Parameters and Final Product Quality” (IMD)
4-4:30 pm, Thomas Knight: “M2M, Big Data and Injection Molds”

Why Die and Moldmakers Should Join National Associations

By: Christina M. Fuges 18. April 2014

The ISTMA (International Special Tooling & Machining Association) World Conference recently took place in Cape Town, South Africa. This event brings together business owners and senior management from around globe who work within the special tooling and machining industry. During the General Assembly Dave Tilstone, NTMA’s representative at ISTMA, was elected President for the next three years.

European Tool and Mould Making magazine (ETMM) spoke with Tilstone about his upcoming term and why he believes it is important to join industry associations. You can read his comments here.

And speaking of the value of trade associations, this year's amerimold will feature a panel discussion of its own on that exact topic!

3:15 pm - 4:00 pm | SESSION: Advancing Your Company: Where Trade Associations Fit In

Chances are you belong to at least one trade association, but are you taking advantage of programs offered that could benefit your company beyond networking dinners and golf outings? Hear from active members how trade associations can help companies build better workforces; develop a marketing plan, prepare for the coming storms and help fight to change the storms’ direction; and even how to build profits via association programs and events.  Attendees will learn how to access and use the programs and resources that associations offer to help build a stronger company.  Q&A session follows from 4pm-4:30pm with Leadtime Leader Awards Ceremony at 5pm.

Roger Klouda - MSI Mold Builders
Mike Walters - MET Plastics
Tim Peterson - Industrial Molds Group
Vice President

Register Today!

Photo courtesy of ETMM./Culp.

Are You Aware of Conflict Mineral Compliance?

By: Christina M. Fuges 17. April 2014

If you manufacture molds for publicly traded companies, you may be asked to assist your customer with necessary documentation to submit in a new SEC required report on Conflict Minerals. Here is what you need to know:

The conflict minerals reporting rule finalized by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in September 2012, requires SEC-reporting companies to conduct supply chain due diligence and to disclose the presence in their products of any minerals sourced from mines that may finance conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

The first conflict minerals reports are due May 31, 2014.

SPI has been supporting the efforts of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), a strategic partner on this issue, which has developed compliance tools for manufacturers across various sectors. SPI has also been directing members to the following resources for guidance on due diligence, lists of certified conflict-free smelters and refiners, and templates for supply chain communication on sourcing conflict-free minerals and meeting SEC requirements:

NAM’s Conflict Minerals Resource Center (nominal cost of $65 to subscribe)

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

EICC-GeSI Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative

Automotive Industry Action Group – Conflict Minerals


Transitioning from Standard Moldmaking to a Mold Manufacturing Process

By: Christina M. Fuges 15. April 2014

The three drivers, according to Rexam Mold Manufacturing, to making the move from traditional moldmaking to mold manufacturing are speed, consistency and cost. This video highlights some of the automation and robotics to be featured and discussed during an upcoming TMA Supplier Network event. 

The Supplier Network Committee of the TMA is presenting a panel of experts on automation and robotics at the Mazak Technology Center in Schaumburg on May 15, 2014. At the "Business After Hours" event, refreshments will be served and guests will have the opportunity to see the latest machines operating at Mazak. The event is from 5:30 - 8:30 and includes Len Graham - Rexam Mold Manufacturing; Brian Pelke - Kay Manufacturing; Michael Hahn - RR Floody; Bill Angsten - Compass Automation; Jeff Angsten - Shopware; Steve Kase - ASK Products. A short presentation will be given by Scott Miller, Interim Director of the new Digital Lab in Chicago. 

See the short video here.

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