Let’s Talk: For Injection Molders Only

By: Matthew H. Naitove 29. July 2014

It’s time to submit your abstracts for presentations at the Molding 2015 Conference, to be held next June 16-18 at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill. Organized by Plastics Technology magazine, it’s a great opportunity for injection molders to talk to each other about important issues in their industry today and to hear about new technologies from suppliers of machinery, molds, software, and materials.


The annual Molding Conference, started by conference chairman Amos Golovoy, is a unique event because its program is organized by a volunteer committee of molders, moldmakers, suppliers of machinery, mold, and materials, and the plastics trade press (me). That’s what makes its content relevant and important for its audience. Over two and half days, it will present around 25 speakers, with plenty of time for informal conversation and visits to the exhibit area.


One of the strengths of the plastics industry has always been that its members talk to each other and share ideas and concerns. So if you have an idea for a 30-minute talk about emerging technologies, sustainable manufacturing, medical or electronics molding, LSR molding, and adding value through automation, assembly, or packaging—or anything else you feel an urge to discuss with other molders, visit the Conference home page and clink the link for the “Online call for papers.” Type in a 200-300 word abstract of your talk and click the email link—that’s all there is to it. Your abstract will be reviewed by the conference committee, whose members are listed on the conference home page.


By the way, Molding 2015 will be co-located with the amerimold 2015 show and conference, presented by our sister magazine, MoldMaking Technology.


Deadline for abstracts is October 17. Let’s hear from you!

Safety Guidance Coming for ‘Collaborative’ Robots

By: Matthew H. Naitove 28. July 2014

So-called “collaborative” robots are designed to work safely alongside humans without requiring isolation behind a safety cage. Perhaps the best-known example is the Baxter robot from Rethink Robotics, Boston. For safety, it incorporates 360° sonar and front-facing vision system to detect human presence and perform its tasks. It can “see” in 3D, sensing height and distance. And its “servo-elastic” control prevents harmful collisions: If one of its two arms meets resistance force of less than 1 lb, it will stop, and then continue on its path once the resistance is removed (for more details, see Nov. ’13 Close Up).

The Baxter robot at the Rodon Group.

In order to ensure safe operation of all such devices, the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), Ann Arbor, Mich., is working with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) committee for Industrial Robot Safety in developing Technical Specification TS 15066 for guidance on safe deployment of collaborative robots. (It will expand on the brief discussion in ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012, Parts 1 & 2.) A key provision of TS 15066 will be threshold power and force values and guidance for situations where contact between humans and collaborative robots can occur. Still a work in progress, the final specification is expected to be published late this year or in early 2015. In the meantime, The German machinery manufacturers’ organization VDMA has prepared a position paper, “Safety in Human-Robot Collaboration,” that summarizes the relevant ISO standards and other related guidance on collaborative robots. The PDF is available here.

Vero Software Has New Owner

By: Matthew H. Naitove 24. July 2014

Hexagon AB of Sweden, a supplier of design, measurement, and visualization technologies, has purchased Vero Software of the U.K., a supplier of CAD/CAM/CAE software (U.S. office in Wixom, Mich.). Vero is known for its Visi software suite, which includes integrated mold analysis. Hexagon also owns the Intergraph and CADWorx brands.

Want a Look at Custom Injection Hourly Rates?

By: Matthew H. Naitove 23. July 2014

We’re just waiting for your response to begin calculating average machine-hour rates at midyear for various machine sizes and sections of the country. Apparently, some of you need reminding that a survey is not worth reporting unless it is based on enough data points to make it credible. The midyear report still needs more of you to take 5 minutes to fill out the survey here.


If you haven’t looked at our twice-yearly hourly rates survey, see the latest results (for fourth-quarter 2013) here. See why so many custom molders tell me they find it valuable—apart from the fact that this is the only source of such data. So click over to the confidential survey and enter your data—anonymously!

Haidlmair Is Looking for a U.S. Moldmaking Location

By: Matthew H. Naitove 22. July 2014

Austrian moldmaker Haidlmair GmbH is making no secret of the fact that it is seeking a manufacturing location in the U.S. Said CEO Mario Haidlmair, “If somebody is interested in partnering with us, we would be pleased to learn more.” Haidlmair is a family-owned firm started in 1979 and grown to over $50 million annual revenue. Besides large bins, it is strong in automotive, large appliances, and technical parts, but its particular specialties are beverage crates and pallets. The company currently has an office for sales, service, and mold repair in Lake Geneva, Wis., and a second service center in Phoenix, Ariz. (Pictured: Mario Haidlmair, center, with his father, company owner Josef Haidlmair, left, and sales manager Roland Gradauer, right.)

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