Where’s Your Production Going; Where Has It Been?

By: Tony Deligio 20. April 2016

“How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been?”


That quote courtesy of Craig Porter, president and owner of custom injection molder PlastiCert Inc., Lewiston, Minn. PlastiCert was among Plastics Technology’s inaugural group of 25 World-Class Processors based on their responses to the 2015 World-Class Processor survey.


I interviewed Porter following his company’s selection and the above quote was in response to my asking him why his company tracks all the different production metrics covered in our survey. As he elaborated, the ultimate goal for PlastiCert was to “establish a baseline of how you perform to standard.”


We’re once again seeking participants in that survey, click here to take it today, with the goal of helping individual companies, and the industry at large, establish that baseline and track performance.


Approximately 50 questions, with segments devoted to profile info, operational metrics, human resources, and business/processing strategies, the anonymous survey’s complete results will only be shared with companies that participate. Take some time today and figure out where you’ve been and where you’re headed


2016 Plastics Technology World-Class Processor survey

Survey Helps Plastics Processors Keeps Tabs on the Competition

By: Tony Deligio 13. April 2016

Do you track your facility’s productivity? Ever wonder how your best scrap rate, product changeover speed or on-time delivery ranks with your competition?


Take the 2016 World-Class Processor survey today and found out the answers to those questions and see how your operation compares to fellow plastics processors in many other performance metrics, while gaining information on overall plant size and output.


After a highly successful 2015 launch, the World-Class Processor survey is looking to expand the breadth and depth of data gathered to the benefit of our participants. Can you set aside 30 to 45 minutes to answer approximately 50 questions about your operations? If yes, you can benefit from the full data set anonymously and learn about your competitors’:


  • Average setup time
  • Scrap rate
  • Total amount of resin processed
  • Total number of different resins processed
  • Total number of active customers
  • Total hours shop doors were open
  • On-time delivery rate
  • Machine utilization
  • Accident incident


In terms of profile information, learn the following about survey participants:


  • Number and average age of primary processing machines
  • Secondary processes performed
  • Industries served
  • Materials processed
  • Total employees
  • Turnover rate
  • Shopfloor wage rate
  • Revenue per employee
  • Benefits
  • And more


In addition, the survey has process-specific questions breaking down participants by injection molding, blow molding, thermoforming and extrusion, including data on the size and type of machines employed, as well as products produced.


Set aside some time today for the free, 100% anonymous survey and build your industry knowledge. 


Plastics Technology 2016 World-Class Processor Survey

Building a Bridge from Boomers to Millenials in Manufacturing

By: Tony Deligio 4. April 2016

Video competition has high schoolers create videos to showcase the skills and education necessary for a manufacturing career.


Starting on Jan. 1, 2011 and every day going forward for the next 19 years, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 years old every day. Those 10,000 people and their decades of professional experience will hit retirement age in numerous industries, with a wide-ranging impact, but perhaps the biggest one will be felt in manufacturing.


The reason why is two-fold: less young people have been entering the manufacturing trades, and proficiency in advanced manufacturing requires time, lots of time.


That latter fact summarized here in a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report:


Even in occupations where technological innovations have produced relatively large productivity gains—many of the more complex machining jobs in manufacturing, for example—the learning curves often are steep, meaning that new workers need to enter these occupations soon, so they can become proficient in the necessary skills by the time the baby boomers begin leaving the labor force.


That particular report found that manufacturing leads the list of affected industries, with 12 occupations and 14 industries impacted by retiring boomers. By 2025, millennials—those aged 18 to 32—will comprise 75% of the workforce, according to ThomasNet. But how do you get younger people interested in manufacturing?


For the second year, the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA) is directly engaging high school students with manufacturing, sponsoring a video competition. The “Manufacturing a Path to Success” contest follows on the heels of last year’s, “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” contest that garnered videos from 13 teams of students and 11 different schools.

In 2016, numerous schools and 14 different companies from Connecticut’s Windham, New London and Middlesex counties have signed up to participate. Each team will have a liaison at its paired manufacturing company and student teams will meet with their manufacturer several times, completing interviews and tours before filming and editing videos.


Each completed video will be posted on the EAMA website, the paired manufacturing company website, and on the EAMA Youtube channel. Once student videos are complete, EAMA says an “American Idol-style” voting competition will take place where viewers will have the opportunity to vote online for their favorite video. Ultimately a “film festival” will be held in April 2016 at Quinebaug Valley Community College, where videos will be screened and judged on creative merit.


Last year’s winner? RHAM High, which highlighted MPS Plastics (see video below):


A Benchmark for Plastics Processors

By: Tony Deligio 25. March 2016

benchmark noun: a standard by which something can be measured or judged.


The term benchmark originally entered the English lexicon as a description of the reference point surveyors would use as a level surface—“bench”—from which they’d insert an angle iron that would subsequently support a leveling rod. From this accepted standard, subsequent measurements could be made with greater confidence.


Benchmarks and benchmarking have of course taken on significance beyond surveying, with frequent adoption in manufacturing. Last year, Plastics Technology bid to create its own “level bench”, or reference point, for plastics processors with the launch of the World-Class Processor survey (learn more here).   


After a tremendously successful inaugural survey, with participation from across the technology, end market and geographic spectrum, Plastics Technology is once again undertaking the World-Class Processor survey, and you can participate here. Completely anonymous, the survey can provide your shop that benchmark against which you can measure your own operations.


All shops track their internal performance; successful operations consider that performance within the context of the broader industry. Take the survey today and see how you stack up.

Injection Molding Meetup in NOLA

By: Tony Deligio 16. March 2016

Interest in injection molding will bring together an eclectic group of attendees, speakers and exhibitors in less than two weeks in New Orleans.


Members of small family-owned businesses sitting alongside employees at Fortune 500 and Dow Jones Index companies; attendees working in aerospace, medical, and electronics sharing lunch with exhibitors in automotive, packaging, and building and construction; molders, moldmakers and injection molding machine makers taking a coffee break together between sessions—all of them in New Orleans March 29-31 for one reason: injection molding.


The agenda is finalized (with the late addition of collaborative automation and micromolding presentations from Universal Robot and Tessy Plastics, respectively); sponsorships and exhibits are sold out (see list below); and we continue to secure last-minute registrations for the 26th edition of the Molding Conference and Exhibition.


Plenty of your peers, and possibly competitors, have registered to attend (see the list here), and there’s still a chance for you to join us at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place. Browse through our eight distinct sessions (Emerging Technologies; Automation, Assembly & Packaging; Materials Drying/Blending/Handling; Establishing & Maintaining a Robust Process; Tooling; Automotive; Medical) and 62 different speakers and I know you’ll find a topic/person/company that will help you mold better parts.


Register Now!


Molding 2016 Sponsors




Riverdale Global




Die-Sep           Eastman Chemical


Tabletop Exhibitors


Borche North America            Butler-MacDonald      Crafts Technology

Futaba                                      Kistler                         MdPlastics

M.R. Mold & Engineering      Novatec                       PCS Company

Prophecy Sensorlytics             RJG                             SyncroSpeed

Tria                                          Una-Dyn                     Unique Tool & Gauge

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