MMT Chats: Breaking Down Design, Data, and More
MoldMaking Technology Editorial Director Christina Fuges chats with the program and sales manager for Michael Tool and Mold of Ontario Canada about mold design and data trends.
Click above to watch the 20-minute interview and see below for conversation tidbits:
You are an experienced mold designer, so what do you consider the top advancement in mold design throughout your career?
The software! From when I started to where we’re today, the software has streamlined the design process and we’re able to meet quicker design deadlines and incorporate much more detail into our designs because of the software capabilities.
For example, standard component files, which can easily be plugged into the design and adjusted accordingly within minutes, built-in design and machining safety checks to ensure less chance of issues during the tool build, using models from the design to generate machining files for CNCs.
What is the key attribute/skill of a top mold designer?
Thinking outside the box, willingness to listen to suggestions and maintaining constant communication with all team members. There are many ways of building and designing a tool but gathering opinions and suggestions from our experienced team can help ensure a more robust and more efficient tool build.
What is the top challenge in mold design today?
Designing a tool to accommodate the customer’s part requirements. Our designers are always coming up with innovative ways to design a tool that will provide parts with minimal design changes. The less part design changes required, the smoother, quicker and more efficient the tool build process will be.
How had/did your mold design background impact your move to program management and your success in that position?
I would have to say that designing tools for over 15 years has made the transition smooth when dealing with customer tooling concerns or general tooling questions. Having the ability to review a tool design, understand it’s limitations or potential for changes, is what the customer expects. They trust us to determine what can or cannot be accomplished with the tool. So my experience allows me to review, assess and provide knowledgeable feedback within a timely manner.
What is your favorite part of moldmaking/your job?
Once you witness the plastic part come off the tool without issue, there’s that feeling of accomplishment. No matter how big or complex the tool is. And because my coworkers can’t attend trials with me, I always make sure to let them know what a great job they’ve done. We’re a team and every member of this team plays a role in every single tool we design and build.
Let’s talk COVID. How is business?
Business was steady at the beginning of the pandemic during March and April. It actually got much busier since then.
What precautions are in place to keep employees safe at work during this virus outbreak.
Social distancing, hand sanitizer stations, and employees can work from home if required to do so for childcare. Also only Michael Tool & Mold employees are allowed in the building unless special permission is given for service calls where those individuals are required to wear a mask.
Any employee experiencing any COVID-like symptoms is tested immediately before returning to work (no cases to date). Our lunchroom has been closed until further notice, Shop is disinfected every day at 4:00pm (door handles, tables, high traffic areas).
How has leadership stepped in to bring the company together during this time?
Supplying any PPE equipment to the staff, implementing the safety protocol, monitoring the protocol, providing employees with time off if required to attend to personal obligations.
What is your single biggest concern related to the Coronavirus?
How do you see moldmaking emerging from this crisis in terms of what business will be like, and how shops will run differently because of what they learned during the crisis?
I believe we’ve learned certain employees can work from home if necessary. Although in our case, this is only related to the engineering and management team because most of their work requires computer, but at least there is the option.
You lead me to Mike Akpata at Blackberry. Tell me about that relationship and how he opened your eyes to the importance of cybersecurity?
I met Mike through my wife when they both were employed for Windsor Police. Although my wife still works there, Mike moved on to pursue other endeavors. And knowing how Mike is heavily involved with cybersecurity, I felt the introduction between BlackBerry and MMT made sense. Now I can tell you firsthand about the importance of cybersecurity as a few years ago, our systems were hacked when an employee opened an email that appeared to be toll charges. This same employee went to visit his son the week before and used toll roads along the way. So when the email popped up, he thought nothing of it. Then BANG! The virus swept through our systems and this particular virus locked all our office documents. The only way to get them back was to pay the ransom with bitcoin. Not fun as we weren’t even sure if this was a further scam but luckily for us, paying the ramson removed the virus. Since then, we have upgraded our computer security software and are much more diligent when opening any emails.
For more MMT Chats, click here.
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