Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We’re starting it off by making a few changes. By now you have probably noticed that we have a new look. Neither the content nor the structure of the magazine has changed, however. The changes are mainly cosmetic, though I’d like to point out a couple of things that are a little bit different.

One is that when our editors write more news than we can fit on our pages (which they do nearly every month), we won’t just hold it over for the next issue—we’ll make it available to you right away on our website, www.ptonline.com. When this happens, you’ll find a “Learn More Online” notice in the news section where we have “extra” items to read on the web. This month, you’ll see such notices in Keeping Up with Injection Molding (p. 14), Extrusion (p. 16), and Additives (p. 31). Because some news came in too late for us to include the “Learn More” notice, I’m letting you in on the fact that there are also “extra” news items on the web this month in Keeping Up With RIM/Urethanes and Keeping Up With Auxiliaries.

One other detail of our new design is intended to call attention to news provided by readers like you, rather than from your materials and machinery suppliers. We have always included reader input throughout the issue—such as in this month’s Close Up on automotive applications and the processing case history (“Real World”) at the end of the issue. Since everybody likes to read about what people like themselves are doing, we aim to make it easier to spot such reader input. One way we’ll do that is flag such news items in the Keeping Up section with a new label, “Readers’ Solutions” (see p. 16).

I hope you find our new design attractive and comfortable to read. I welcome your comments—e-mail mnaitove@ptonline.com.

HOURLY RATES SURVEY: NOW ONLINE
I have another piece of news: One of our most popular regular departments, the twice-yearly survey of Custom Injection Molders’ Machine-Hour Rates, is now available online at http://survey.gardnerweb.com/ptrate. If you receive a printed survey questionnaire, you now have the option to respond by mail or via the online survey. What’s really new is that every custom injection molder in the U.S. can participate, and I hope you will. But please, fill out this survey only once!

Why should you devote five minutes to this survey? Because over more than 20 years, I have heard from readers every month about how valuable this information is to them—and they can’t get it anywhere else. The published results (in April) will tell you what the average and high/low range of hourly rates is for various machine tonnages in different regions of the country and whether they have gone up or down and by how much. The article also updates trends in molders’ capacity utilization and in mold orders, as well as their outlook on business conditions.

More universal availability via the internet provides the opportunity to make this survey more representative and accurate than ever. The data you want and need couldn’t exist without your participation. So don’t take a free ride—contribute!