PODCAST: Connections, Communication are Key Tools for Mold Builders

Robert Vaughan of Elevate Plastic Solutions talks about open communication and connections, worthwhile investments and film making on this episode of The Manufacturing Alliance Podcast.


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Christina Fuges and Tony Demakis are back together for another episode of The Manufacturing Alliance Podcast, and this time, they’re talking to Robert Vaughan of Elevate Plastic Solutions. Elevate provides solutions to make sure companies are not just engineering ready, but manufacturing ready.

Christina, Tony and Robert discuss just what it means to make connections in the industry, the benefits of worthwhile investments and how open communication can be a valuable tool in a shop.

Here’s just some of the other conversation topics they get into this episode:

  • Not only does Tony have new glasses, but they also have new recording equipment, so listen to that brand spanking new, crystal clear audio quality!
  • Manufacturing continuous improvement involves listening to people to get better and improve along the way. Invest in improvement, and there’s a benefit.
  • Not surprisingly, Robert’s mold building background comes from his family. His father was a moldmaker, and Robert is a mold designer. 
  • Product tooling analysis, what Robert calls PTA, is another term for design for manufacturing. It’s Robert’s goal to train companies to be able to take on work with a different fresh set of eyes and progress forward.
  • Though born and raised in California, Robert spends his time now in Georgia, which has its own rules on driving too fast. Watch out for super speeder Robert!
  • The film making industry has left its mark on Georgia — and Robert! Not only has he been on various movies and television shows, but he’s even been on set with at least two Academy Award winners!
  • Meeting other owners, such as through the American Mold Builders Association, has helped Robert learn more about the industry.
  • If designers are mentored early in the process, it helps workflow.
  • Open communication is valuable. It's collaboration along the way. 
  • How does a book about the 1936 Olympics crew team relate to moldmaking?
  • Companies need to recognize their shortcomings and then try to correct them internally to create better processes and standards.
  • In 10 years, Robert sees additive manufacturing making advancements. Additive uses dog years seeing how quickly it’s growing. “The technology is only limited by creativity.”
  • R&D is a worthwhile investment. Look into tax credits!
  • Talk to teens you know about moldmaking and manufacturing. Many of the younger generation like 3D printing, but that’s not all the industry has to offer. (Check out Christina’s February Letter from the Editor about how you can do your part to recruit youth into your shop.)
  • The three debate how many kindergartners one could reasonably fight off before becoming overpowered. (They’re not advocating beating up small children… but a lot of thought goes into it.)
  • Robert’s motto: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  • Robert’s parting encouragement to shops: Don’t be too isolated, be willing to contact and get to know owners of other shops. Share ideas and thoughts. Have open communication.

Listen to hear all of that and more: