MMT Blog

Jerry Ward is a lead moldmaker at Precise Tooling Solutions in Columbus, Indiana. This week was his last week because today, on his 66th birthday, he is retiring after 48 years in the trade. MoldMaking Technology first learned about Jerry and his impending retirement during a recent trade event. It was obvious that his employer held him in high regard, so we agreed it would be nice to interview Jerry and his family about his moldmaking career and ask him to share some of the memories he has kept.

Jerry’s wife, Susan, told me that he began his career in 1971, the Monday after his 18th birthday, at a company called Indiana Die Cast and Tool in Franklin, Indiana. I asked Jerry why he chose moldmaking for a career and he replied that it was very simple. “I was a high school junior in 1970, working at a filling station as a mechanic, and my metal shop teacher, who was a pretty good machinist himself, saw that I was good at working with my hands and could take stuff apart and put it back together,” he says. “I really got into metalworking and took his class junior and senior year. When I graduated, he called me and told me that Indiana Die Cast and Tool was looking for apprentices to become tool and die makers. I said yes, that sounds pretty cool.” Jerry went down and applied for the apprenticeship and was hired right in the door. “I started out making $2.25 an hour, which sounds crazy, but then gas was only 25 cents a gallon, bread was 10 cents and a pack of cigarettes was only about 30 cents at the time.”

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By: Heather Wintle 9/5/2019

Tech Trends: A Cut Above the Rest

Keep in the know about recent mold manufacturing with a review of recent products and services announcements from MoldMaking Technology’s comprehensive list of supplier companies. 

Cutting tools are used on machine tools to cut metal, and are one component of the overall mold machining process to consider when looking to improve speeds, feeds, wear and surface finish. This week, we look at some highlighted cutting tools products, which can provide simple solutions for effective chip evacuation, shorter throughput times, improved surface finish quality and greater stability in uneven entrances and exits.

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Smart technology is all around us today, including smartphones, smart thermostats, smart stereo speakers and smart parking meters. From our appliances to our shared infrastructure, the systems and materials we interact with daily are only getting smarter.

But “smart” isn’t just a buzz word; it’s a legitimately big deal. Labeling something smart, in the broadest definition, means a product or system adapts to its user to make the experience of its use easier. A smart parking lot can broadcast how much capacity it has available and guide a motorist to an open space. A smart thermometer can cool your house by turning on the air conditioning on a hot night, 30 minutes before you arrive.

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I was recently reminded why it is advantageous to initiate and maintain membership in industry organizations and that is the sharing of invaluable knowledge and expertise.

The other day, I was glancing over topics being actively addressed on the Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE) website, where community forums exist to provide members (both students and professionals) a means to network and support one another. It’s called The Chain, and I first blogged about it in 2016 when it was fairly new (find the blog here, for more details). The Chain is exclusive to SPE members and has two widely used forums: Leadership Lane and TechTalk. It was a TechTalk topic that caught my eye.

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Additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, in moldmaking and molding will continue to progress as more players in the industry see results from the early adopters and gain more confidence to add it to their business strategy. Early adopters have already done groundbreaking work, driving additive material vendors to develop more and different additive material to expand uses, as well as driving the additive machine makers to listen to feedback on what has worked, what has not and what is needed to progress further. On the molding shop floor, early adopters have deduced what is required to maintain and keep additive inserts working as they were designed to do.

Conformal cooling arises quickly in conversation with molders and moldmakers when additive manufacturing is mentioned. Companies that specialize in additive-created conformal cooled inserts work with OEMs and moldmakers and can run simulation to show the before- and aftereffects of using a conformal insert. Accuracy is paramount in these analyses and has a direct bearing on ensuring heat removal to properly address pressure drops and Reynolds numbers. It is possible to design an insert that would not be useful due to a large pressure drop that minimizes turbulent flow to remove the heat.

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