I was talking to a molder the other day. I won’t give you too many specifics because I’m going to write about his operation in more detail next month and I don’t want to use this column as a spoiler.
Anyway, this fellow had bought into a struggling molding business around 2008 that, as he put it, “had two machines and one customer.” This particular gentleman had just sold a non-molding business for a hefty sum, and he was still fairly young and not ready for retirement, so he figured, “What the heck?” and jumped into molding.
Then along came 2009. Two machines and one customer became two machines and no customers. So this fellow had a choice: cut his losses and bail, or invest more, potentially throwing (lots of) good money after bad.
He picked the latter, and his business is thriving—to the point where he just bought a new building and lots of new presses and auxiliary equipment. A business with fewer than 10 people in 2008 has 220 now, with plans to hire 50 more by the end of next year’s first quarter.
I use this story as a backdrop to this invitation to attend the Molding 2016 Conference. It’s scheduled for March 29-31 at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place. If you’re a molder, as I learned from this gentleman’s inspirational story, you either move forward or you’ll fall behind. And if you don’t want to fall behind, then Molding 2016 is the place to be.
The conference is now in its 26th year, the second under the management of Gardner Business Media, parent company of Plastics Technology magazine. As I write this, my PT colleagues Matt Naitove, executive editor, and Tony Deligio, senior editor, are working feverishly on buttoning up the program details. You’ll see more of those details in print, online, via email, and in our social media offings in the weeks ahead.
One new thing we are doing with the Molding 2016 program is expand it to include virtually every aspect of a molder’s business operation: not just molding, per se, but also crucial areas such as materials conveying, drying, feeding/blending, equipment maintenance, best practices, ERP, and lots more. We’re also looking to follow sessions on topics of general interest with breakout sessions on molding for particular markets, notably Automotive and Medical. We found this formula to have worked very well in our first-ever Extrusion Conference, which wrapped up on Nov. 3, and we believe it will resonate equally well in molding.
Of course, the guts of any processing operation is the primary equipment: You can’t mold a gear without a press, but in many cases what goes on in the mold is influenced by what happens before the resin hits the screw. You might have your molding parameters set just right for making that gear—heck, you might even be a scientific molder—but if your parameters for drying your acetal or nylon aren’t right, you’ll likely be molding rejects. Or if you are dosing color into your machine and don’t get the letdown ratios just right, you could be making scrap—expensive scrap, at that.
Be on the lookout for more info from us in the weeks and months ahead. On March 29-31 in New Orleans, you will hear about the latest cutting-edge technologies at Molding 2016, as well as the best practices of your colleagues and salient tips from your suppliers.