MMT Blog

Jeremy Fennelly was an intern at the University of Massachusetts Lowell back in 1992 when he answered an ad on the recruiting wall from Rubbermaid looking for engineers to work on a six-month system-integration project to help the company cut costs. The project entailed changing the configuration of the company’s manual tool-change process, which at the time used cranes and manual hookups into a side-table mold-change system.

The challenge was trying to figure out a way to decouple the ejector rods from the tool, which proved difficult with the waterline and manifold connection configuration that the company was using. Fennelly started researching options and came across an ad for couplers from Alba Enterprises (Alba).

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Every shop wants to increase productivity, and polishing is often the bottleneck. Although companies understand the value of polishing, many are not willing to deal with polishing because they do not know how to do it properly.

Polishing longer is not always the answer. Steve Smith, Gesswein & Co. polishing coach, says that the answer is more polishers. His experience has taught him that there should be one polisher for every ten people cutting steel. “So, if you have a 100-man shop cutting steel and programming, then you need ten polishers to keep up. Most shops would have three,” Smith says. He also stands by a 10-hour work day. Smith believes that nine hours is optimal, as a polisher’s fingers can only take so much of the vibration and abrasiveness associated with polishing.

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How does Franchino Mold and Engineering (Franchino Mold) find and attract the next generation of moldmaking professionals?

Brad Rusthoven, human resources manager: We have partnered with public schools and Michigan’s vocational education program since 1962 to hire and provide training for qualified employees. When I was hired in 2010, the apprentice program had lapsed because of the slow economy, so that was one of my first directives—to get it going again. First, we re-registered our moldmaker and CNC machining apprenticeship programs with the U.S. Department of Labor. Then we went back to using the curriculum we previously followed with Lansing Community College (LCC).

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By: Charlie Daniels 6. December 2018

How to Create an Accurate Budget

Have you ever received a new project, walked into the shop, set a block on a machine and just started cutting to see what happens? No design, no plans, no programming—just using your experience and intuition? Of course not. What a ridiculous notion! All professional mold builders understand that accurate planning is integral to a project’s success.

With this in mind, it is surprising that so many shops operate without a financial plan. As with a mold project, you can only achieve optimal business success through proper planning. A major component of this process is budgeting. Many methods of budgeting and assigning costs are available. Larger companies may require more intricate budgets. This article will focus on the fundamentals of basic budgeting and the steps for developing an annual financial plan.

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By: Jeremy P. Banks 5. December 2018

Process and Measurement Data Aid Intelligent Moldmaking

Shops continue to adopt intelligent manufacturing principles that require connection and communication of data across all machine-tool, sensor and human resources. This data creates a virtual model that tests scenarios to improve uptime and throughput and to predict and better manage production capacity and estimated delivery times. The user also can plan and check continuous improvement activities against this model, which results in more efficient and profitable shops without costly trial and error. The more data that is collected, the more robust the virtual model.

Many moldmakers are already investing in intelligent manufacturing because the promise of improved product accuracy with less re-work and scrap is hard to ignore. Plus, better use of resources results in more on-time delivery and fewer overtime costs. 

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