MMT Blog

American Mold Builders Association (AMBA)

The AMBA recently launched its newly designed website, amba.org. “We’ve been getting great feedback,” Kym Conis, executive director, says. “Resources for visitors are more easily accessible and overall, the new site is easier to navigate with mobile-friendly features. It also provides tools to assist with workforce development, which is AMBA’s primary focus.” Conis says that the site also features a new “Careers in Mold Building” page where students, parents and teachers can find useful information on careers in moldmaking, including about mold building, career paths, FAQs, testimonials and videos. Additionally, each page provides the opportunity for students to connect with an AMBA member in their geographic location. “The new site also will include new recruitment tools for members, such as grants, scholarships and videos, along with marketing materials and more,” she says. Regarding events, the AMBA will host a Plant Tour Workshop in conjunction with Plastec West on February 8, 2019 at Pyramid Mold & Tool in Rancho Cucamonga, California. The 2019 AMBA Leadership Summit is scheduled for February 27–March 3, 2019 at the Marriott Resort & Royal Beach Casino in St. Kitts.

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The Mold Technologies Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) announces that it is looking for qualified vocational technical programs within high school or college settings that are interested in applying for its annual grants to support an advanced manufacturing program with a focus on plastics. For the 2018–2019 academic year, it will award grants ranging to $2,500 to support these programs. Eligible programs will have curriculums that benefit and produce skilled employee candidates for careers in the plastics industry—particularly in mold manufacturing and related areas.

Deadline: The deadline for grant submissions is January 15, 2019.

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It is not possible to establish fixed rules when it comes to choosing the right machine tool. However, attuning to the needs of shops and delivering on the promise to ensure machine availability as much as possible are often said to be the most important factors that drive moldmakers to opt for a certain machining center or machine-tool brand, no matter the initial price tag. I talked to some European mold shops to find out why.

Moldmaker Schweiger Formenbau in Uffing, Germany, specializes in automotive work, creating highly sophisticated molds that are used in premium vehicles. For example, the company builds two-component injection molds that make headlight end plates. These customers place high demands on the end products and do not accept the slightest blemish. Accordingly, the injection molds have to meet similar requirements. As a rule, surfaces must be as smooth as glass and the company must maintain tolerances of less than 0.02 millimeter.

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Janler Corp. in Chicago, Illinois, is a second-generation, family-owned company with a long and active history in the moldmaking industry. The company specializes in the design and development of complex injection molds and offers in-house injection molding services. It is critical that the company’s pipeline of new talent flows with young apprentices who exhibit, as Janler President Carol Ebel puts it, a willingness to pull work and push forward—with a lot of passion.

“Janler has re-instituted its formal apprenticeship program, and management is committed to continually working on content to make it more effective for training the workforce of the future. The program is a work in progress that began over 60 years ago when the company was started in 1952,” she says.

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Registering 54.4 for September 2018, the averages-based Gardner Business Index (GBI): Moldmaking expanded after a recording in August that was as low as it has been in nearly two years. Compared to the same month one year ago, the Moldmaking Index is up 1.9 percent but is well below the all-time high readings that it reached during the first quarter of 2018. Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying data for the month reveals that production and new orders recorded sharp expansions for the month along with smaller gains in backlogs and employment. Production, supplier deliveries and new orders lifted the Moldmaking Index, while employment, backlogs and exports lowered the Moldmaking Index. Exports were the only component of the Moldmaking Index to contract during the month, meaning that it registered a reading below 50.0.

The backlog component of the Moldmaking Index expanded in September after contracting in August. Before that, the last time that backlogs recorded a contraction was during the fourth quarter of 2017. During the first half of 2018, backlog expanded at the greatest rate recorded in the history of the Moldmaking Index, which makes this component one of the most volatile year-to-date.

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