Giving Thanks and Making Sales

By: Christina M. Fuges 27. November 2014

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years in this industry, it’s that moldmakers are wonderfully skilled craftsmen with entrepreneurial spirits, but when it comes to the business side of mold manufacturing, many lack the necessary experience and knowledge. Oftentimes, more effort is spent thinking about problems rather than actually doing something about them—especially when they are in unfamiliar territory.

However, there are exceptions to every rule. Take Ray Newkirk, owner of Forest Lake, Minnesota-based Custom Mold & Die, a manufacturer of close-tolerance, high-cavitation medical molds. He attended Dunwoody College of Technology, started a business and then returned to school, attending Harvard University to learn how to run a business. 

Now that is one strategy to get to know the business side of mold manufacturing. For those not ready or willing to run down that road, however, how about just committing to seek the help you need from others with the necessary knowledge and experience? This may entail establishing a new in-house position or hiring outside help, especially sales help. 

The right help can show you how to manage your current customer base, ramp up your sales effort, approach new accounts and land new business. The appropriate solution can also open your eyes to the value of market research and data. When someone is focused on sales, his or her job is the customer, so he or she is approaching companies every day and working to establish relationships. 

This person is discovering information about people, companies and end markets that you might not know otherwise, such as your company’s standing in the industry, or how your capabilities, offerings, quality and pricing stacks up against the competition. All of this provides the opportunity to turn prospects into customers. 

Do you hire a full-time salesperson to hone in on making new customer relationships in your industry and manage customer relations, or do you hire a part-time manufacturer’s rep to get your feet wet in the world of sales? The choice is yours, but it’s probably time to take some action. 

On a sidenote, today I am especially thankful for the hard work, passion and dedication of all those who have helped build the moldmaking industry we are privleged to cover each month in MoldMaking Technology. As we sit down to feast with family and friends let us reflect on what Thanksgiving is ... 

Let us remember the true meaning
Of Thanksgiving.
As we see the beauty
Of Autumn, let us acknowledge
The many blessings
Which are ours.
Let us think of our families
And friends...
And let us give thanks in our hearts.

Auhor Unknown

The Need for Better Planning Tools

By: Christina M. Fuges 25. November 2014

A new software purchasing survey analyzes interactions with about 400 buyers, and reveals this year’s most-requested tools and features, top buyer trends and motivations for new software purchases.

Key findings include:

45 percent of buyers still use pen and paper or other manual methods to manage their workflow.

36 percent of buyers specifically requested Material Requirements Planning (MRP) manufacturing solutions.

The top reason buyers want new manufacturing software is to have better planning and management tools.

Read more here.


New Amerimold Expo Website

By: Christina M. Fuges 21. November 2014

With the new year right around the corner, we want to make sure you have Amerimold 2015 on your travel calendars. We have revamped the website to more easily bring you the event details you need to make your plans, including a 2014 post show review, exhibitor list, floor plan, education, events, hotel and registration information. 

For 2015 the technical conference will continue with its Engineer, Build, Maintain focus, but we will be offering more session options to cover more technology topics as requested. New for this event will be the colocation of the Molding 2015 conference sponsored by Plastics Technology magazine, which coincides with our efforts to bridge the gap between the mold manufacturing and processing worlds. 

The Molding conference will focus on innovations in manufacturing technologies of consumer and industrial products. Industry leaders will present the latest development in various injection molding processes, hardware and controls.

Take a look at the new site today, but be sure to check back regularly for updates as we develop the programming. 



VIDEO: Making Gun Parts

By: Christina M. Fuges 20. November 2014

Okuma manufactures CNC machine tools, drives, motors, encoders, spindles and CNC controls, and its new video series demonstrates this technology in gun parts manufacturing. The videos showcase the machining of a custom-designed rifle stock mold on a vertical machining center; an AR15 Upper being machined on a horizontal machining center; a gun barrel extension being cut on a horizontal lathe, which uses a variety of cutting tools and operations; a commemorative gun-shaped plaque for a firearms event being milled a small vertical machining center; a 1911 trigger housing being machined on a vertical machining center equipped with a rotary table; and, a .50 caliber revolver cylinder being cut on a three turret horizontal lathe.

Note: Some of the videos were filmed without the use of coolant, to better show the cutting capabilities of the machine, without visual interference. CNC machine operation without coolant is not recommended.

Trade Fair Takeaways

By: Christina M. Fuges 18. November 2014

(L to R) Glenn Starkey, SPE Mold Making and Mold Design Division Chair; Christina Fuges, MoldMaking Technology; Jill Brandts, SPI Western Moldmakers Division; and Cyndi Kustush, SPE Mold Making and Mold Design Division.

1. Anything with a handle is a candidate for conformal cooling.

2. When investing in new technology think B.R.A.I.N (Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition and No go).

3. Disorganization in the toolroom does lead to disaster.

These are just three of the many tidbits attendees walked away with from last week's SPI Western Moldmakers Division Annual Mike Koebel Trade Fair in Pomona, California. This year marks the fair's first time offering a conference track prior to the fair's late afternoon exhibit and networking event.

Click HERE for more takeaways.

MoldMaking Technology teamed up with Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Mold Making and Mold Design Division as well as the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) to select three of the top presentation topics from Amerimold 2014 in Novi, Michigan, to update  and then repeat to this west coast audience.

Lou Young from Livonia, Michigan's Linear Mold presented the dollars and sense of conformal cooling; Andrew Samrick of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Paragon D&E shared lessons learned from the company's profiting and pitfalls of new technology investment; and Steve Shannon of ToolingDocs out of Ashland, Ohio, discussed the impact of a truly organized toolroom.

A room of 30 attendees filled the seats for the first-time conference, while the fair drew in attendance numbers it has not seen in years: 150 attendees. A successful afternoon and evening; definitely a foundation to build upon for the Fair's 25th anniversary next year!

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