Processors Partake In Manufacturing Day Festivities

Some 2800 manufacturers across all industries participated, including more than 200 in plastics, up from 149 in 2016.

Processors and others in the plastics industry are increasing participating in Manufacturing Day in an effort to help promote the business to youngsters who might not otherwise consider a career on a factory floor.

Manufacturing Day is held the first Friday every October. Now in its sixth year, Manufacturing Day is a national event, executed at the local level, that supports thousands of manufacturers as they host students, teachers, parents, job seekers, and other community members at open houses designed to showcase modern manufacturing technology and careers.

The event is co-produced by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FMA), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Institute (MI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), and guest producer Industrial Strength Marketing (ISM). Combined, they provide the centralized support necessary to coordinate this nationwide array of simultaneous events.

This year, a reported 2800 manufacturers across all industries held events on or around Oct. 6. According to the Plastics Industry Association, more than 200 of these firms were plastics-specific. While that’s a relatively small number, the good news is that it’s a healthy 34% bump from the 149 that participated in 2016.

For Plastic Molding Technology Inc. (PMT), El Paso, Texas, that first Friday in October represented the fourth straight year it’s opened its doors to high school students

PMT’s event showcased the innovative and modern plastics manufacturing industry, and provided hands-on learning opportunities for 25 career and technical Education students. The company also highlighted career paths in plastics along with PMT’s internships and apprenticeship programs.

For the first time, PMT collaborated with two other El Paso manufacturing businesses, working with the Borderplex Alliance—a nonprofit organization dedicated to economic development and policy advocacy in the El Paso; Las Cruces, N.M.; and Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua region—to coordinate and participate in a three-stop MFG Day tour event for high school students.

“Manufacturing is an excellent career choice for high school graduates in our area,” said Charles A. Sholtis, CEO of PMT. “In fact, Texas is the most-employed state in the U.S. plastics industry, which means there’s a lot of opportunity right here for the next generation of skilled workers.”

The company led a factory tour and brought students into its new hands-on Innovation Lab to learn about the injection molding process, work with robots (and Baxter the cobot) and see how 3-D printing complements manufacturing today. Representatives from each PMT department talked with students, helping them engage with our industry and consider a career in plastics.

Other processors that participated in Manufacturing Day included:

Petoskey Plastics, a blown film processor, bagmaker and recycler, where at its Hartford City, Ind. facility it teamed up with the Jay-Blackford Manufacturing Council to host 100 juniors and seniors from two area high schools to tour our production floor and quality lab and gain valuable insight into our closed loop program.

Rodon Group, a Hatfield, Pa. injection molder that participated in its sixth Manufacturing Day, hosting students and educators from local technical schools and colleges.

Jarden Plastic Solutions, which hosted a group of high school students at its Greer, S.C. plant. The high-volume, precision molder exposed students to the whole cycle of plastics manufacturing—from art to part.

Printpack, a global processor of flexible and rigid film/sheet. Working with James City County, Va., Printpack hosted student tours designed to provide insights into manufacturing and opportunities within the industry.

I’ve written about the value of Manufacturing Day in my monthly column in Plastics Technology in the  May 2014 and July 2016 issues. It’s not too early to start thinking about your event next year.