2017 Editorial Advisory Board: Gabe Meldrum
The 2017 version of MoldMaking Technology's EAB features a new crew of 10 industry professionals. Here's one of them.
Gabe is a second-generation moldmaker. He started working in his father’s repair shop when he was 16 years old. He landed his first “real shop job” a few years later, starting as a floor sweeper and truck driver. He was promoted to the mold shop as a “saw guy” and learned how to bench, spot and run manual machines. Gabe moved onto the CNC department after a few years, where he spent more than a decade programing and machining mold blocks and components in a vast array of materials.
The next step in his career was as a mold designer. He worked hard to earn this position by spending time learning how to run the software with support from some of his experienced CAD colleagues. Gabe believes strongly that not being afraid to ask questions and pushing himself past his limits was key to his professional growth. He was finally offered the opportunity to work in the CAD room, where he honed his design skills and deepened his knowledge of the various mold types, from simple, hand-load prototypes to complex, fully automated production tools. Gabe has designed and built fixtures, vacuum form tools, compression tools, blow molds, and prototype and production injection molds.
He currently holds a management position and oversees both the CAD and CAM departments at International Mold Corp. (IMC). He plans every job, which includes determining the method of manufacture, scheduling the machines, assigning CAD work to the engineering department and managing most of the outsourcing.
Always hungry for what’s new and how it can impact IMC’s operations, Gabe continually researches new technology, and attends trade shows and conferences. He says he has a passion for learning new things and teaching people what he has learned throughout his career. Bringing this enthusiasm to his role on MMT’s board will help us develop appropriate technical content. His areas of interest and expertise include software, company culture, shopfloor management, workflow, equipment, mold materials, mold components and any disruptive technologies.
However, his enthusiasm does not stop with technology. The latest chapter in Gabe’s career includes helping to secure the future of moldmaking. He is aware of the talent shortage, so he has made it his responsibility to teach and mentor the younger generation of workers that comes through his facility. IMC has promoted more than 12 apprentices, helping them work their way into the mold shop, CAD room and CNC department, just as Gabe did many years ago.
Using aluminum tooling instead of traditional tools steels reduces cycle time and costs, but requires up-front, open communications between moldmaker, molder, material supplier and hot runner manifold supplier.
Reducing changeover times will eliminate waste, moving a shop closer to becoming lean.
Valve gate installations must be made to manufacturer specs to obtain the advantages necessary for competitive production of injection molded parts in today’s marketplace.