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Machine Minute


Getting Into Shape Mentally

Training, continuing education, skill development or whatever name you want to assign to it can have benefits beyond the bottom line. Why should you invest in training? There are a number of reasons why you or your organization should be looking at some form of training or continued education if you are not already doing so. In the US alone, 10K baby boomers turn 65 (the typical age of retirement) every day. While the average retirement age of a baby boomer lies somewhere between 61 and 65, it’s easy to see a growing wave of the very experienced and skilled workforce leaving the many industries, including plastics, across the US and in Europe.


Getting Smarter

If titles were being considered for the plastics industry in 2018, it is fair to categorize it as the year of “smart everything”. In fact, it has seen a fair bit of transformation this year both in technology and capabilities but also the mindset or direction of plastics processing in general.

From many of the industry exchanges we experienced at the beginning of the year, the comments posed were often hovering around the tenuous question of “should we or shouldn’t we invest and investigate” in any, or some of the IIoT manufacturing technologies being touted. Since then, I think it’s safe to say that more than enough software, hardware and technology has been showcased this year across the industry (and even from our own corner) to change that question and subsequent mindset.


What Mold Do You Fit Into?

The plastics industry, understandably so, is a rather diverse industry; not unlike other large global industries. It is comprised of companies and organizations of all shapes and sizes, usually differentiated by organizational structure or revenue.  Aside from the typical size comparisons of companies, the diversity extends outward in a great number of ways and categories (i.e., output product type, machine type, injection/extrusion/blow, industries serviced, supplier/mold maker/machine manufacturer/part molder, etc.); so much so that I wouldn’t pretend to be able to cover even a small fraction of it in this post. What I do want to chat about this month is more in line with the self-assessment or self-classification of the company that you currently operate. In essence, let’s talk about “What is your buying type”?


5 Things to Consider While Attending NPE 2018

As NPE 2018 draws ever closer, the majority of the plastics industry in the U.S., and even the world over, are putting the final touches on their marketing and tradeshow booths and assorted items as they prepare to print, package, crate, ship, tow, haul and ultimately descend on Orlando, Florida. For exhibitors, the tradeshow is undeniably their best opportunity to showcase their latest and greatest technology, products and applications to respond to the ever evolving demands and changes in the industry.


Buying Time

One of the many age-old debates that crisscross the plastic injection molding industry is that critical decision to either attempt to extend the life of an older machine or replace it. I would dare say that this is a topic far too familiar with plastics manufacturing in the United States, with an installed base of over 35,000 machines across the country with varying degrees of age, almost half of which are over 5 years old.


Choosing the Right Screw and Barrel

It cannot be overstated that the process of selecting the appropriate screw and barrel combination for your plastics application is a critical part of the success or failure of any particular machine cell. However, most people may not realize how often that this very selection process is done in error or even done incompletely.


The Value of 1 Second

The plastics industry is but one of many industrial and technological sectors of the US and global economies that are highly fixated on time. The cliché adage, time is money (and yes we’ve used that in an ad or two), is actually quite appropriate if not downright fundamentally integral to the plastics industry.


Material Impact

The very basis of the plastics industry is, and are the pelletized materials that are manipulated, combined, synthesized, heated, injected, extruded and blown into the myriad number of molds and auxiliaries that the industry has to offer.


Safety in the New Year

Plastics manufacturers are some of the more safety concerned organizations in the US today. The efficacy and safety of the products they produce, whether in medical, automotive or even packaging and consumer goods is of utmost importance to their brand, their bottom line and the lives of those consumers that utilize those products. Within that list of affected audiences, are manufacturing employees.