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Plastics Business 2018 Issue 4

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Placing a Priority on Recruitment Aggressive Scrap Reduction Training and Promotion Skills Matrix Three Economic Threats

Buyers Guide Issue

Official Publication of Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors


Contents

2018 Issue 4

focus

8

view from 30

12

features

8 12 21 28 36 40 42

focus Going All In on Manufacturing Day at Crescent Industries by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Business view from 30 Reducing Scrap at Plastech Corporation by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Business 2018 Plastics Business Buyers Guide solutions Learning from the Best: Building a Better Training Program by Elizabeth Stevens, contributing writer, Plastics Business Strategies Quote, Price and Close Work Orders the Right Way by Nick Knight, Senior Director of Customer Services, Global Shop Solutions technology Increase Profits and Opportunities for Growth with Data-Driven Process Cooling by Al Fosco, Marketing Manager, Frigel North America training room How to Become a Plastics Guru: What You Need to Know by Jeremy Williams, Trainer/Consultant, RJG, Inc.

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50 56 58 60 64

review MAPP Benchmarking Conference Brings 600 to Indianapolis economic corner If You Can't Convince Them, Confuse Them by Chris Kuehl, managing director, Armada Corporate Intelligence

review

benchmarking Plastics Processors Continue to Boost Compensation for Workers by Ashley (Turrell) Burleson, membership and analytics manager, MAPP

50

outlook Year End Tax Planning Opportunities by Michael J. Devereux II, CPA, CMP, Mueller Prost

benchmarking

booklist Productivity and Prioritization by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business

58

departments viewpoint.....................................6

news.......................................... 32

association................................. 18

supplier directory...................... 66

Plastics Business

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Published by:

Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors, Inc. (MAPP) 7321 Shadeland Station Way, Suite 285 Indianapolis, IN 46256 phone 317.913.2440 • fax 317.913.2445 www.mappinc.com MAPP Board of Directors President Norm Forest, Dymotek Molding Technologies Vice President/Treasurer Ryan Richey, Precision Plastics, Inc. Second Vice President Tim Capps, Par 4 Plastics Inc. Secretary Alan Rothenbuecher, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP

MAPP Board Members Mike Benson, Stout Brendan Cahill, PTG Silicones Craig Carrel, Team 1 Plastics, Inc. Glen Fish, Revere Plastics Systems LLC Chris Gedwed, Cosmetic Specialties International Ben Harp, Polymer Conversions Glenn Kornfeld, Asaclean-Sun Plastech Inc. Jim Krause, Microplastics, Inc. Bob MacIntosh, Nicolet Plastics, Inc. Tom Nagler, Natech Plastics, Inc. Samir Patel, Midwest Molding Inc. Missy Rogers, Noble Plastics, Inc. Stacy Shelly, AMCO Polymers Chuck Sholtis, Plastic Molding Technology, Inc. Tom Tredway, Erie Molded Plastics, Inc.

Peterson Publications, Inc. 2150 SW Westport Dr., Suite 101 Topeka, KS 66614 phone 785.271.5801 www.plasticsbusinessmag.com

Editor in Chief Jeff Peterson

Advertising/Sales Janet Dunnichay

Managing Editor Dianna Brodine

Contributing Editors Lara Copeland Nancy Cates

Art Director Becky Arensdorf Graphic Designer Kelly Adams

Circulation Manager Brenda Schell

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 5


VIEWPOINT

The Lack of Trust is Costing You More Than You Think A molding company owner recently purchased a new piece of equipment from a supplier not previously found on his facility’s production floor. This caught me off guard, as standardization is very key to his methods of operating. When I asked about the reason for the switch to a new brand, the purchasing decision ultimately came down to an issue associated with trust. The reason for the lack of trust wasn’t related to the reliability of the previous brand of equipment, but rather was directly linked to faulty service issues with equipment already installed. This company owner is a longtime MAPP member executive whom I respect greatly. He was in attendance at the MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices conference held in early October when the keynote speaker, David Horsager, spoke about the importance of trust in an organization. What we learned during the presentation by Horsager is that everything of value is built on trust. In fact, the No. 1 question that people ask on a continuous basis – whether it’s your customers, your employees, your kids, your spouse or your stakeholders – is: “Can you be trusted?” And, to bring even more emphasis to this issue of trust is the fact that the level of trust someone feels for you can be dramatically reduced or even completely eliminated in a single moment with a lapse in good judgement – and it could take a lifetime to rebuild. For the MAPP member making an equipment purchase, the decision to switch from a brand that had been the go-to source was made because of one very bad encounter that wiped out nearly two decades of trust. Trust, by definition, is a confident belief in a person, product or organization. Horsager pointed out that many issues that we traditionally think of as problems are actually problems with trust. • A leader who is not being followed by his team has a trust issue. • A team that has not formed the connection necessary to work together has a trust issue. • A salesperson who cannot get a signed purchase order has a trust issue.

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• A decision that is not being delegated or passed to lower levels in an organization is creating a trust issue.

When my staff and I first contemplated Horsager’s message as a possibility for the conference’s keynote position, I initially did not feel that he could teach me much about the concept of trust. After living under an honor code introduced to me at the United States Military Academy at West Point for the better part of my adult life, I initially struggled to find personal value. However, after his keynote presentation at the benchmarking conference, I joined Horsager on stage to thank him and – during a conversation in front of an audience of nearly 600 manufacturing professionals – I told him that he opened my eyes to the fact that trust influences every single interaction – whether personal or business-related. In nearly every interaction a person has with a team member, a customer, an employee or a peer, additional levels of trust are deposited in the proverbial “trust bucket” – or levels of trust are depleted from it. Just think of all the possibilities an organization or individual has either to build or destroy trust in daily interactions. These opportunities range from the timeliness of email responses and the manner in which telephones are answered to a reputation for meeting delivery deadlines, exceeding product quality expectations and simply doing what has been promised. As Isaac Watts, the English hymnwriter and theologian, once said, “Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.” Company executives must understand the importance of the level of trust they’ve acquired in their business and do everything they can to protect it, as it is unarguably the most precious attribute one can possess. If the trust your employees and your customers have in you isn’t guarded and protected, the ramifications will be greater than you think.

Executive Director, MAPP


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FOCUS

Going All In on Manufacturing Day at Crescent Industries by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Business

“I had no idea manufacturing was this cool.” “I had no idea how clean the factory was going to be.” “I had no idea of the potential job opportunities within manufacturing.” “I had no idea you use that kind of automation in manufacturing.”

T

hese are all remarks left on just a few of the many surveys filled out by teachers and college or high school students following their experiences with Crescent Industries, New Freedom, Pennsylvania, on Manufacturing Day this year. For Kevin Allison, vice president of marketing at Crescent, these comments confirmed that the company achieved what it set out to accomplish with this event. “Our goal was to get

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the message out and educate the future generation in regard to what manufacturing is about,” he said. “We wanted to provide a first-hand glimpse of the many job opportunities available in manufacturing.” “Inspiring future manufacturers,” as Crescent's tagline for the event stated, is exactly what the company set out to do. Acknowledging the lack of discussion surrounding manufacturing, especially this past decade, Allison said it is something that students just aren't familiar with. “They have the impression that manufacturing is a dark and dirty place, that it requires a lot of brute strength and that it’s a last-ditch effort for the uneducated,” he explained. To counteract this misperception, Crescent set up a week’s worth of activities to make sure students saw that manufacturing isn’t a “dark dungeon,” and that it does require more than just brute strength.


Students and teachers from eight high schools and two colleges were invited to tour Crescent facilities for the weeklong event. “There is a lot of talent that is required to make a manufacturing facility tick on all cylinders, and we tried to make sure that we displayed all those things throughout the week,” Allison said. Crescent wanted to be sure faculty and students learned about the day in the life of a mold design engineer, a journeyman moldmaker, an apprentice moldmaker, a process engineer, a quality engineer and an automation engineer. “We wanted them to see, from the customer’s concept to full rate production, the steps that we take to manufacture a product – everything we do from the first time we talk to the customer through getting the product manufactured and ready for full production.” Over the course of two hours, Crescent showed students each station throughout its plant. According to Allison, “the biggest thing we did was tell our story – how we each got involved with manufacturing and the path we took to get to where we are Vice President of Marketing Kevin Allison (bottom photo) worked with eight high schools and two colleges to offer tours. today.” For example, Allison Students and teachers rotated through stations that provided a glimpse into “a day in the life” of several manufacturing roles. introduced himself to the visitors and briefly explained that he graduated from Susquehannock he gained valuable on-the-job training, mentoring and a broader High School in 1991 and was certain that he was not cut out understanding about manufacturing. Then, in 2004, he moved for college. He enjoyed shop classes in high school and working into a business development manager role, overseeing sales, with his hands, and in 1992 an opportunity became available to marketing and customer service functions. Most recently, he join the Crescent team in the warehouse. He accepted the offer became vice president of marketing, where he now focuses on promoting strategic growth, profitability and talent acquisition and saw this as an opportunity to get his foot in the door. at Crescent. Last month he celebrated 26 years of employment Over the course of the next 12 years, Allison was able to move at Crescent Industries. “It has been a great career so far, and I’m into various job positions – inventory controller, shipping looking forward to new opportunities at Crescent,” he said. coordinator, production planner and customer service – where page 10 u

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FOCUS t page 9

In addition to Allison, nine other employees, some of whom took paths very different from his own, spoke to students about how they ended up where they are. “We wanted to be sure they knew that they can have a really great career in manufacturing and that everybody’s path is different,” he continued. “In sharing our stories, we hoped that they would see the potential career opportunities in manufacturing – that it requires brain power, peer collaboration, staying current with training and keeping up to date with new technology. Our goal in this event is to bring awareness about manufacturing and to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.” Though Crescent hosted 160 students in addition to 20 teachers at its event, parents were not a part of the tour. Allison believes a shift is starting to occur in thinking that college is the only option following high school. “There’s nothing wrong with college,” he said, “but there are people who are meant to do something else.” Crescent wants everyone to know, whether they’re college-bound or not, that manufacturing is a viable option for a successful career. While this event was strictly open to the schools, Allison said

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Crescent did want to involve parents. Each student was provided with a flash pack, which included infographics for each of the six job positions highlighted on the tour, complete with job descriptions. Students also had access to a Crescent Overview video to share with their parents. “We wanted to make it easy for the kids to engage their parents if they had an interest in pursuing this career,” he continued. “We wanted them to take this information home and get plugged in with Mom and Dad.” In addition to hosting the schools, Crescent also welcomed a guest speaker, a local representative who happened to graduate from one of the nearby schools. She addressed the audience and told them about the multiple opportunities in manufacturing. “It was exciting to get that kind of exposure because it really helped underscore the importance of this event and the importance to bringing awareness to the students,” Allison said. While the event itself was spread over an entire week, Allison mentioned he began orchestrating the project when school started this year. “It really didn’t take a whole lot to convince the high schools to come once I connected with the right people,” he explained. “They saw value in the details of our event and most signed up quickly.” He did struggle some in convincing colleges to attend, but as he quickly learned, it’s simply because they already had their curriculum set for the year. “As we look ahead for Manufacturing Day 2019, I have decided to approach the colleges at the end of this school year, so they can start to consider this event and incorporate it into their curriculum for the next school year.” Allison also mentioned that the plan next year will allow for more time during tours to interact with students, and he is hopeful that the same schools will return and even more from the district will be able to participate. Crescent Industries has participated in Manufacturing Day events before, but Allison said this is the first time the company has participated to this extent. “It’s just one of those things where partnering with our local schools and educating the public can make a huge difference, and we feel we’ve done our part to help the process,” he said. The team at Crescent, like many manufacturers throughout the country, feels strongly about bringing awareness to future manufacturers. “Collectively, we all want to make sure to do our part to inspire future manufacturers and promote our industry,” Allison said. “It took a lot of man hours and orchestrating on our part, but we felt the time was well spent.” n


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VIEW FROM 30

The View from 30 Feet Business gurus often talk about the view from 30,000 feet – the big picture that provides a look at overall operations. Perhaps, however, the focus should be on the view from 30 feet – a close-up of specific processes and procedures that make an impact now.

Reducing Scrap at Plastech Corporation by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Business

F

randsen Corporation, North Branch, Minnesota, has a family of businesses in the manufacturing and banking sectors. Each year and for each of its businesses, Frandsen creates a one-page business plan to help the companies continue to succeed. The executive leadership team spends several days together assessing what is happening internally and externally with each company and, from there, they identify what they believe to be the most important goals for each organization to work on that year. “We focus on one or two things that will be transformative or critical in improving business and service to customers,” Amy Scheel, head of marketing at Frandsen, explained. For one of its manufacturing companies, Plastech Corporation, located in Rush City, Minnesota, the team identified scrap reduction as a critical need in 2016. “Eight percent of our production did not pass examination and had to be scrapped,” Scheel stated. She said it wasn’t just the financial implications they had to deal with. “We knew if we could get world-class in our performance, along with hitting specifications on our productions floor, we were not only going to reduce our scrap and improve performance financially, we were going to do a better job of servicing our customers.” The executive leadership team decided to reduce the scrap rate by 50%. “This seems pretty aggressive, but that’s why we used the Four Disciplines of Execution to help us break it down into manageable pieces called ‘battles,’ ” Scheel noted. They planned for the entire scrap reduction process to take 24 months to complete, with the first year focused on getting various teams established, designing training and curriculum, identifying what was needed for real-time monitoring and then getting those items built and implemented. First, a team was identified and assigned to this reduction initiative. The team was made up of key roles within the

12 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

A training curriculum was established as part of an effort to reduce the scrap rate by 50%.

organization that could contribute productively to this goal. This team then was asked to identify the battles they wanted to work on. “We asked them to think of what things they could tackle – things that would result in winning the war,” Scheel said. The


team decided to work on technical staff training, in addition to monitoring and active use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Jerry Miller, director of operations at Plastech, said, “We realized that if we defined some curriculum training around our technical staff and trained them well, we would produce better products.” So, a team was developed, and criteria and curriculum were established for each department. “We implemented the training and then established monitoring and tracking processes to make sure that this is sustainable going forward,” he said. The training included mold process technicians, material handlers, quality technicians, supervisory staff, managers, maintenance and lead operators. “What’s unique about this is that the team that identified the curriculum also developed the curriculum and the process for monitoring, tracking and ensuring continuous updating,” Miller added. In other words, the executive leadership team and the management team stepped aside, and staff-level employees made up the teams. With a little guidance from management, these employees led the projects and initiatives. “The people who actually do the job were the ones who developed and built this,” he said.

Monitoring and tracking processes ensured the success of the training curriculum.

Plastech also reported secondary benefits from this training. “We feel that one of the best things you can do to help a new employee to become successful and to retain them over time is to provide them with good training,” said Miller. Providing trainees with the tools, support and structure they need to succeed not only helped in scrap reduction, but it also helped the company support new employees. Miller said the second item to tackle was real-time process monitoring and active use of KPIs, so the company invested in equipping all 44 of its injection molding machines with ERP real-time process monitoring. “This was a significant investment in hardware and software to monitor and manage our injection molding machines down to the key processing parameters,” he explained. The team identified what the key processing parameters of each molding machine were to assure quality product was being made, and they purchased the equipment and put it in place on each machine. Teams met every week to monitor the progress. “We had tracking documents and weekly commitments to follow up on action items, and we put together visual scoreboards for them on their lead and lag measures,” Scheel said. She noted that “there’s something very true about the ‘game on’ concept for people when they see the scoreboard.” She reported that the teams executed the Four Disciplines process and program on a weekly basis. Additionally, each team leader had a monthly check-in with

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VIEW FROM 30 t page 13 the executive team, and the subteams presented scoreboards showing their progress and challenges on a quarterly basis to the executive leadership team. Breaking down the main goal into smaller, more manageable parts worked well for Plastech. Miller said there were two items on the process monitoring that were crucial to the company’s scrap reduction. “The first one was developing the engineering processes for the molds, tools and parts,” he added. “We put the control limits around each one of those processes to ensure they’re up and running within the specifications of the machine and parts, and we monitored them every single shot.” For every molded part that came out, the key processing parameters of the molding machine were monitored through IQMS real time. If a machine ran outside the control limits, the technical staff was alerted so they could perform an analysis and investigate what changed in the process before making any modifications to the molding machines. “This was key to the process,” Miller concluded. “The second important part of the process was the reject reporting,” Miller said. In the past when the job was completed,

Teams presented scoreboards showing their progress and challenges on a quarterly basis.

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a report would show how much scrap was made. Miller said they knew their lag measures, meaning they’d realize at the end of the run that mistakes were made. “Now we see the lead measures – what we put into place now is scrap reporting in real time.” At any given time, Miller can look at the plant floor and check the performance of all 44 machines – he can see which ones are running scrap outside the standard. “We put this plan in place, and now every two hours the machine reports scrap greater than standard.” This is communicated by email and/or text, and it alerts the managers and technical staff the machine is running outside the standard. When a machine runs outside the set controls, staff go to the machine and complete a written corrective action response on the nature of the problem, and then they make the correction. A crossfunctional team, made up of members from various departments – such as engineering, purchasing, quality, manufacturing and other areas – reviews the corrective action responses every 24 hours. Miller explained that, when this first


started, the stack of corrective actions every morning was quite high – 10 to 15 machines. “Each time we came in thereafter, our scrap was getting reduced,” he continued. “We went from 40% to 30 to 20 to 15 and even down to 10%, until it went all the way down to where we are today.” This was the key – getting real time lead scrap measure from the machines and operators to the technical staff and leadership, so that the problem could be identified. “Taking immediate action instead of waiting until the next run was vital to our success.”

they were aware of not only what was happening with scrap, but all the KPI and all the key things they needed to know about business and the operation.”

The plan of attack was part of Plastech’s 2016 annual business plan. Toward the end of first quarter that year, teams were established and the battles kicked off. By the end of that calendar year, all training was created and the real-time monitoring was identified as a key component.

Today, the scrap rate is less than 4%, representing significant annual savings. Scrap and quality management gains certainly have been made, but Plastech also reports even more benefits. For one, finished goods inventory is automatically updated to the ERP system and raw material inventory consumption is tracked and validated against physical inventory counts. Furthermore, machine and tooling maintenance schedules now are based upon actual run times and cycle counts as opposed to arbitrary standard day counts. More gains have been made by using the “runs best” feature in the IQMS software. This identifies which combinations of job, machine and tool produce the highest quality and most efficient production.

In 2017, the focus evolved. “By then we took what we built, had it established as a continuous process and then leveraged what we were getting out of real time and feeding that back into the organization through KPIs and a continuous feedback loop to the floor,” Scheel reported. “As part of that program, we established a KPI communication board for our floor so that

While investing in process monitoring equipment and software for each of the 44 molding machines is a hefty financial outlay, it was clearly a smart one. “We realized that with the reduction of scrap, our return on investment was less than a year,” Scheel exclaimed. Miller concluded that with a 50% reduction is scrap, “our return was quick.” n

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association

• 2nd Place – Adkev, Inc., Monticello, Indiana • 3rd Place – Viking Plastics, Corry, Pennsylvania

MAPP Hosts Record-Breaking 2018 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference The Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) brought nearly 600 manufacturing professionals to Indianapolis Oct. 10 through 12. MAPP held the record-breaking 2018 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana. The theme for the year was Be Extraordinary. The lineup of general session speakers included author David Horsager, Alan Hobson and General (ret.) Stanley McChrystal. Keynote speaker David Horsager, MA, CSP, is the CEO of the Trust Edge Leadership Institute, a national bestselling author of The Trust Edge, inventor of the Enterprise Trust Index™ and director of one of the nation’s foremost trust studies: The Trust Outlook™. In addition to three keynote speakers, 82 industry leaders from member companies presented during the new BC LAB sessions, a record number for this event. The BC LABS featured a series of parallel presentation sessions or learning tracks suggested for more than seven functional areas, including owners, human resources/safety and operations/engineering. Each of the 35 BC LABS was designed to equip attendees with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve the mission-critical priorities of today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow. Save the date for the 2019 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference: Oct. 2 through 4, 2019. 2018 Education Outreach Award Winners Recognized MAPP honored three member companies with the MAPP 2018 Educational Outreach Awards at the 2018 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference in Indianapolis. Coinciding with Manufacturing Day, these awards recognize those MAPP member companies that go beyond expectations in their efforts to bridge the skills gap and create excitement about plastics manufacturing among local students and community members. Awards this year were distributed to three winners, recognized as follows: • 1st Place – Innovative Components, Schaumburg, Illinois

18 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

Through strategic partnerships with schools, programs and/or students, these awardees have made significant efforts to increase interest, raise awareness and build skills within the plastics industry. Scholarships awarded in the amounts of $1,500, $750 and $500, respectively, will go to each recipient’s educational institution or program of choice. MAPP congratulates the 2018 Educational Outreach Champion Award winners and extends a special thanks to all who participated in this year’s award program. Learn more: www.mappinc.com/resources Plastics Wage and Salary Survey Now Available MAPP recently published its 2018 Wage and Salary Report. For the 16th year, this plastics industry-specific report analyzes information on more than 55 job titles common in plastics organizations, including administrative, production, engineering, maintenance, quality, warehouse, sales and managerial job functions. This report also includes information on operational benchmarks, overtime and pay differentials, insurance, vacation and paid time off. The final report is designed to allow senior executives and human resources personnel make smarter, more informed decisions regarding competitive employee compensation. The Wage and Salary Report breaks down compensation information for each job title by both organization size and geographic location. Purchase the report: www.mappinc.com/resources. MAPP Welcomes New Members MAPP is proud to welcome the following plastics organizations into the MAPP network: • • • • • • • • • • • •

Design Molded Plastics, Macedonia, Ohio EG Industries, Ormond Beach, Florida Evco Plastics, DeForest, Wisconsin Fielding Manufacturing, Cranston, Rhode Island Magenta LLC, Lockport, Illinois Piller Aimmco, Inc., Washougal, Washington PM Mold Company, Schaumburg, Illinois Ray Products, Ontario, California REO Plastics, Inc., Maple Grove, Minnesota Seiler Plastics Corporation, St. Louis, Missouri Technimark LLC, Asheboro, North Carolina Techno Plastics Industries, Inc., Añasco, Puerto Rico


• • • •

Tennplasco, Lafayette, Tennessee Thomas Plastics, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas Wepco Plastics, Middlefield, Connecticut Westfall Technik, Chandler, Arizona

Operator Training Resource Center Launched The Operator Training Resource Center, created by MAPP’s Young Professionals Network, is a dynamic asset, designed exclusively for MAPP member companies. Members can utilize this website to explore member resources for operator training programs; browse topics to benchmark a company training plan; build a new operator training framework; or uncover and fill gaps in an existing program. This digital library allows members to browse resources included under each topic or search a specific subject. The site was created by utilizing, curating and organizing resources submitted by MAPP member companies – and continues to grow each week. More information: www.mappinc.com/resources MAPP Introduces Additional Cost-Reduction Programs for Members MAPP is proud to partner with best-in-class industry service providers. Each industry service provider that partners with the association offers MAPP members exclusive opportunities for savings or education. MAPP is pleased to add two new partners: Teel Analytical Lab and Americhem Engineered Compounds.

Teel Analytical Laboratories Teel Analytical Laboratories is an ISO/IEC 17025:2005-accredited laboratory specializing in polymer analysis. The company works with plastics processors daily and understand their needs and challenges. Laboratory personnel can provide guidance on appropriate testing and help with results interpretation. The certified quality system and validated test methods assure that the results companies receive are accurate and reliable. Whether processors are looking for polymer analysis to make process improvements to a production line or whether they need testing for failure analysis and troubleshooting, Teel’s laboratory can provide the information. Teel Analytical Laboratories is an independent business unit, and all testing requests and results are strictly confidential. Teel now offers 20% off the list price for testing services to MAPP members, not to be combined with other offers. Americhem Engineered Compounds Americhem Engineered Compounds is a known expert in materials for the health care industry. From biocompatibility testing to ISO 10993-compliant colors to high-temperature polymers plus carbon fiber, Americhem knows the industry. Americhem is a 76-year-old, family-owned business based in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Americhem is offering the following to MAPP members: • All color matches free of charge. (Color matches completed within two weeks.) • With all color matches, a 25-lb sample with the color chips. • 55-lb samples at the 10,000-lb price on any product they produce. n

The Real Danger of the Skills Gap – and How to Fix It The term “skills gap” has been tossed around like candy lately, but the reality of what it means for the manufacturing industry as a whole is scary. Simply put: There aren’t enough skilled employees to do the job. On average, the skills gap costs companies 11% of their earnings, and the problem continues to grow every year. This gap in knowledge prevents companies from growing because they don’t have enough trained employees to accomplish current tasks, let alone build and expand on them. Companies that struggle with this often are filled with stressed, frustrated employees who either quit or significantly lower their quality of work. Or the staff isn’t trained properly early on so they start mashing buttons in hopes that it will fix the problem. In injection molding, this behavior usually leads

to lower quality parts, unhappy customers and ultimately a loss of business. So, what can you do to help? You can train your staff members, and then one day they can pass their knowledge on to the next generation. You can hire and train new graduates: If students know they’re guaranteed a position right out of school, it will encourage them to choose a manufacturing career. You can offer the tools needed for less experienced staff members to succeed. You can teach youth about the importance of the manufacturing industry and the exciting careers it offers. Let’s work together to ensure the future of the manufacturing industry. More information: www.rjginc.com

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 19


2018 BUYERS GUIDE

PRODUCTS/SERVICES OFFERED...........................................................................................................................22

A

Additive Manufacturing Equipment Automation Equipment

B

Blending Equipment

D

Data Monitoring/Control Design Services Drying Equipment

E

Employment Services Energy Strategy Extrusion Equipment

F

L

Legal Counsel

M

Marketing Services Material Additives Material Handling Mold Release Agents Molds/Tooling MRO Supplies

O

Operations Assessment Services

P

Prototyping Services Purging Compounds

Financial Services Foaming Agents

R

G

S

H

T

Granulators

Heating & Cooling Equipment Hot Runner Systems

I

Resins

Simulation Services

Temperature Control Systems Testing Services Training Services

Injection Molding Equipment

SUPPLIER DIRECTORY...........................................................................................................................................25 www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 21


2018 BUYERS GUIDE PRODUCTS/SERVICES OFFERED Additive Manufacturing Equipment 1. CLIP 2. DLS Carbon 1,2

Automation Equipment 1. Feed Systems 2. Integrator Services 3. Industrial Robots 4. Vision Inspection Absolute Robot Inc. (ARI) 3 Hyrobotics Corp 2,3,4 Wittmann Battenfeld 1,3 Yushin America, Inc. 3

Blending Equipment 1. Gravimetric 2. Volumetric Conair 1,2 Novatec, Inc. 1,2 Wittmann Battenfeld 1,2

Data Monitoring/Control 1. ERP 2. MES

Design Services B A Die Mold, Inc. Foster Corporation Mold Craft, Inc. Novatec, Inc. ProtoCAM RJG, Inc.

Drying Equipment 1. Compressed Air 2. Hot Air 3. Vacuum Drying > Conveying > Blending > Downstream

Energy Strategy 1. Energy Procurement Software Novatec, Inc. Power Kiosk W.W. Grainger

Extrusion Equipment

Conair 1,2 Novatec, Inc. 1,2,3 Wittmann Battenfeld

Employment Services

IQMS 1,2 Novatec, Inc. Progressive Components 2 RJG, Inc. Syscon PlantStar 1,2

413.273.8183

Financial Services

22 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

2850 High Meadow Circle Auburn Hills, MI 48326 Phone: (248) 616-0220 Website: www.incoe.com

INCOE Corporation Synventive Molding Solutions Michael D. Benson Managing Director & MAPP Board Member Email: mbenson@stout.com Phone: (248) 432-1229 Website: www.stout.com

Federated Insurance MBS Advisors Mueller Prost CPAs + Business Advisors Stout

Colors For Plastics iD Additives, Inc.

Granulators Molding Professionals, LLC

Hot Runner Systems

Novatec, Inc. 3

Foaming Agents EXECUTIVE PLASTICS RECRUITERS

Conair Frigel North America Mokon

1. Blown Film 2. Sheet 3. Tubing

222 East Thomas Avenue Baltimore, MD 21225 410-789-4811 800-237-8379 sales@novatec.com www.novatec.com

Heating & Cooling Equipment

Conair Wittmann Battenfeld

Injection Molding Equipment 1. Electric 2. Hybrid 3. Hydraulic Absolute Haitian 1,2,3 Hyrobotics Corp. 3 Wittmann Battenfeld 1,2,3

Legal Counsel Benesch Law Ice Miller LLP

Marketing Services Creative Technology Corp Vive Marketing


Material Additives

Mold Release Agents

ASACLEAN - Sun Plastech, Inc. Conair Novatec, Inc. Slide Products, Inc. W.W. Grainger

1. Colorants 2. Foaming Agents Chase Plastic Services, Inc. 1 Colors For Plastics 1,2 iD Additives, Inc. 1,2 Precision Color Compounds 1

Material Handling 1. Conveying 2. Storage 3. Feed Systems Drying > Conveying > Blending > Downstream

430 Wheeling Rd. Wheeling, IL 60090 Phone: (800) 323-6433 Website: www.slideproducts.com

Colors For Plastics Slide Products, Inc.

Molds/Tooling 222 East Thomas Avenue Baltimore, MD 21225 410-789-4811 800-237-8379

1. Injection Molds 2. Jigs/Fixtures 3. Micro Molds

590 Thompson Rd. Thompson, CT 06277 Phone: (860) 923-9541 Website: www.IvanhoeTool.com

Harbour Results Inc. Novatec, Inc. VelocityEHS

Prototyping Services B A Die Mold, Inc. Foster Corporation Mold Craft, Inc. ProtoCAM

ASACLEAN - Sun Plastech, Inc. Aurora Plastics, LLC Colors For Plastics iD Additives, Inc. Purgex Purging Compounds Slide Products, Inc.

Resins 1. ABS 2. Acetal 3. Acrylic 4. ASA 5. Bioresin 6. Custom Compounds 7. EVA 8. HDPE 9. LDPE 10. Nylon 11. PBT 12. PE (Polyethylene) 13. PET 14. Polycarbonate 15. Polypropylene 16. Polystyrene 17. PVC 18. TPE/SEBS 19. TPU

Purging Compounds 11119 Jones Rd. West Houston, TX 77065 Phone: (800) 803-6242 or (281) 807-9449 Website: www.PurgexOnline.com

5980 Grand Haven Road Norton Shores, MI 49441

Absolute Robot Inc. (ARI) 1 Conair 1,2 Dynamic Conveyor Corporation 1,3 Novatec, Inc. 1,2

Operations Assessment Services

Purging Compounds

sales@novatec.com www.novatec.com

Phone: (231) 798-1483 Website: DynamicConveyor.com

MRO Supplies

A1 Tool Corporation 1 B A Die Mold, Inc. 1,2 Carson Tool & Mold 1 Concept Molds 1,2 Ivanhoe Tool & Die Co. Inc. 1 Mold Craft, Inc. 1,3 Progressive Components 1 ProtoCAM 1 430 Wheeling Rd. Wheeling, IL 60090 Phone: (800) 323-6433 Website: www.slideproducts.com

Explore a Better-Resin Buying Experience www.PolySource.net customersupport@polysource.net 816.540.5300

Amco Polymers 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, 9,10,11,12,13, 14,15,16,17,18,19 Americhem Engineered Compounds 1,2,3,6,10,11,13,14,18,19 Aurora Plastics, LLC 6,15,17,18 Chase Plastic Services, Inc. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, 11,12,13,14,15,16,18,19 Foster Corporation 1,2,3,6,7,8,9,10,11, 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 23


2018 BUYERS GUIDE M. Holland Company 1,2,3,4,6, 7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16, 17,18,19 PolySource 1,2,4,6,10,11,13,14,15, 16,17,18,19 ProtoCAM 1,3,10,14

Simulation Services

Temperature Control Systems

Testing Services

Conair Frigel North America INCOE Corporation Mokon RJG, Inc. Wittmann Battenfeld

Paulson Training Programs, Inc. RJG, Inc. SIGMASOFT Virtual Molding

1060 Teel Ct. Baraboo, WI 53913 Phone: (608) 355-4626 Website: www.teel.com

Training Services Conair Crestcom International Novatec, Inc. Paulson Training Programs, Inc. Progressive Components RJG, Inc. Routsis Training SIGMASOFT Virtual Molding VelocityEHS W.W. Grainger

Colors For Plastics Conair Foster Corporation Precise Plastic Testing Teel Plastics W.W. Grainger

2018 BUYERS GUIDE Find the Buyers Guide online all year long at plasticsbusinessmag.com/buyersguide

24 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4


SUPPLIER DIRECTORY A1 Tool Corporation 1425 Armitage Ave. Melrose Park, IL 60160 (708) 345-5000 www.a1toolcorp.com

B A Die Mold, Inc. 3685 Prairie Lake Ct. Aurora, IL 60504 (630) 978-4747 www.badiemold.com

Absolute Haitian

33 Southgate Worcester, MA 01610 (508) 459-5372 www.absolutehaitian.com

Absolute Robot Inc. (ARI) 33 Southgate St. Worcester, MA 01610 (508) 792-4305 www.absoluterobot.com

Amco Polymers 1900 Summit Tower Blvd., Ste. 900 Orlando, FL 32810 (800) 262-6685

Americhem Engineered Compounds 20 Progress Dr. Morrisville, PA 19067 (800) 863-4260 www.ltlcolor.com

ASACLEAN - Sun Plastech, Inc. 1055 Parsippany Blvd., Ste. 405 Parsippany, NJ 07054 (800) 787-4348 www.asaclean.com

Aurora Plastics, LLC 9280 Jefferson St. Streetsboro, OH 44241 (330) 626-6423 www.auroraplastics.com

Benesch Law 200 Public Square, Ste. 2300 Cleveland, OH 44114 (216) 363-4500 www.beneschlaw.com

Carbon 1089 Mills Way Redwood City, CA 94063 (650) 285-6307 www.carbon3d.com

Carson Tool & Mold 3070 Moon Station Rd. Kennesaw, GA 30144 (770) 427-3716 www.carsonmold.com

Concept Molds

12273 N. US 131 Schoolcraft, MI 49087 (269) 679-2100 www.conceptmolds.com

Creative Technology Corp 1280 Seabury Cir. Carol Stream, IL 60188 (847) 910-1258 www.creat.com

Crestcom International 11527 Crescent Court Indianapolis, IN 46236 (317) 910-4318 www.crestcomleadership.com

Dynamic Conveyor Corporation 5980 Grand Haven Rd. Norton Shores, MI 49441 (231) 798-1483 www.dynamicconveyor.com

Chase Plastic Services, Inc. 6467 Waldon Center Dr. Clarkston, MI 48346 (248) 620-2120 www.chaseplastics.com

Colors For Plastics 2245 Pratt Blvd. Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 (847) 437-0033 www.colorsforplastics.com

Federated Insurance 121 E. Park Square Owatonna, MN 55060 (800) 533-0472 www.federatedinsurance.com

Foster Corporation 45 Ridge Rd. Putnam, CT 06260 (860) 928-4102 www.fostercomp.com

Conair

200 W. Kensinger Dr. Cranberry Township, PA 16066 (724) 584-5500 www.conairgroup.com

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 25


2018 BUYERS GUIDE

Frigel North America 150 Prairie Lake Rd. East Dundee, IL 60118 (847) 540-0160 www.frigel.com

Harbour Results Inc. 29524 Southfield Rd. Southfield, MI 48076 (248) 552-8400 www.harbourresults.com

Hyrobotics Corp 5319 Brown Ave. St. Louis, MO 63120 (314) 574-5777 www.hyrobotics.com

IQMS

2331 Wisteria Lane Paso Robles, CA 93446 (866) 267-3772 www.iqms.com

Ivanhoe Tool & Die Co. Inc.

Molding Professionals, LLC Holliston, MA 01746 (413) 273-8183 www.moldingprofessionals.com

Mueller Prost CPAs + Business Advisors 7733 Forsyth Blvd., Ste. 1200 St. Louis, MO 63105 (314) 862-2070 www.muellerprost.com

590 Thompson Rd. Thompson, CT 06277 (860) 923-9541 www.ivanhoetool.com

Novatec, Inc. M. Holland Company 400 Skokie Blvd. Northbrook, IL 60062 (800) 872-7370 www.mholland.com

222 E. Thomas Ave. Baltimore, MD 21225 (410) 789-4811 / (800) 237-8379 www.novatec.com

Ice Miller LLP

250 West St., Ste. 700 Columbus, OH 43215 (614) 462-2700 www.icemiller.com

MBS Advisors 100 Main St., Ste. 3 Florence, MA 01062 (413) 584-2899 www.mbsadvisors.com

Paulson Training Programs, Inc. 3 Inspiration Ln., PO Box 366 Chester, CT 06412 (800) 826-1901 www.paulsontraining.com

iD Additives, Inc.

512 W. Burlington Ave., Ste. 208 La Grange, IL 60525 (708) 588-0081 www.idadditives.com

INCOE Corporation

Mokon

2150 Elmwood Ave. Buffalo, NY 14207 (716) 876-9951 www.mokon.com

Mold Craft, Inc. 200 Stillwater Rd. Willernie, MN 55090 (651) 426-3216 www.mold-craft.com

2850 High Meadow Cr. Auburn Hills, MI 48326 (248) 616-0220 www.incoe.com

26 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

PolySource

3730 S. Elizabeth St., Ste. B Independence, MO 64057 (816) 540-5300 www.polysource.net

Power Kiosk 350 N. LaSalle St. Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 273-5184 www.powerkiosk.com


Precise Plastic Testing 4647 Lown St. St. Petersburg, FL 33714 (727) 564-9009 www.preciseplastictesting.com

Routsis Training PO Box 894 Dracut, MA 01826 (978) 957-0700 www.traininteractive.com

Teel Plastics Precision Color Compounds 2617 Meyer Rd. Fort Wayne, IN 46803 (260) 969-6402 www.precisioncolorcompounds.com

1060 Teel Ct. Baraboo, WI 53913 (608) 355-3080 www.teel.com

SIGMASOFT Virtual Molding 10 N. Martingale Rd., Ste. 620 Schaumburg, IL 60103 (847) 558-5600 www.virtualmolding.us

VelocityEHS 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plz., Ste. 1750 Chicago, IL 60654 (866) 919-7922 www.ehs.com

Progressive Components 235 Industrial Dr. Wauconda, IL 60084 (800) 269-6653 / (847) 487-1000 www.procomps.com

Slide Products, Inc. 430 Wheeling Rd. Wheeling, IL 60090 (800) 323-6433 www.slideproducts.com

Vive Marketing 219 N. Milwaukee St., 6th Fl. Milwaukee, WI 53202 (414) 292-1291 www.marketingformanufacturers.com

ProtoCAM

6620 Grant Way Allentown, PA 18106 (610) 261-9010 www.protocam.com

W.W. Grainger Stout

Purging Compounds

Purgex Purging Compounds 11119 Jones Rd. W. Houston, TX 77065 (800) 803-6242 / (281) 807-9449 www.purgexonline.com

One S. Wacker Dr., 38th Fl. Chicago, IL 60606 (312) 857-9000 www.stout.com

Synventive Molding Solutions 10 Centennial Dr. Peabody, MA 01960 (800) 367-5662 www.synventive.com

Syscon PlantStar 1108 High St. South Bend, IN 46601 (574) 232-3900 www.syscon-intl.com

100 Grainger Pkwy. Lake Forest, IL 60045 (800) Grainger www.grainger.com

Wittmann Battenfeld 1 Technology Park Dr. Torrington, CT 06790 (860) 496-9603 www.wittmann-group.com

Yushin America, Inc. 35 Kenney Dr. Cranston, RI 02920 (401) 463-1800 www.yushinamerica.com

RJG, Inc.

3111 Park Dr. Traverse City, MI 49686 (231) 947-3111 www.rjginc.com

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 27


SOLUTIONS

Learning from the Best: Building a Better Training Program by Elizabeth Stevens, contributing writer, Plastics Business

I

n the plastics industry, as in every industry, people are among a company’s most valuable assets. Three companies in the industry – a molded parts producer, a custom extruder and a custom injection molder/thermoformer – have shown their belief in this principle by investing in and implementing best practices in training and career advancement. Their investments have paid off handsomely, with results that include increasing the ability to attract employees, closing the skills gap, upping retention for new hires, standardizing company-wide training and establishing clear career advancement paths for valued employees. The companies have work forces ranging from 100 employees to 1,250 employees. They have created training and advancement programs specific to each company’s identity and human resource needs. Plastics Business asked Engineered Profiles, Nicolet Plastics and Wilbert Plastics Services to share details of their experiences in identifying the need for new programs, the ways in which they defined the employees eligible for participation, challenges that occurred in implementation, measurable benefits, unexpected results and stand-out employee stories.

Skills matrix establishes training, advancement paths

Engineered Profiles LLC, Columbus, Ohio, is a producer of custom plastics extrusions, employing 250 full-time associates. Brad Lamone, vice president of workforce development, described the company’s customers as OEMs in a variety of different industries, including fenestration, building products, agriculture, transportation, energy and appliances. Three years ago, when Engineered Profiles’ mentor-based training system was assessed as inconsistent and the company lacked a formal advancement plan, management decided to create an extrusionspecific training system. The initial goal was to take a new employee with no extrusion experience to the level of running a production line solo in three to six months. But, after first focusing on production associates, Engineered Profiles expanded its program to include warehouse/ material handling, fabrication, tool and die, and maintenance departments, with all training as paid time. As Lamone explained, “The program, which we call a skills matrix or career road map, allows us to show a new hire on their

28 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

first day of employment how to advance in their role, along with the required training. They see what is required to go from an operator trainee to senior technician in terms of training and compensation.” The skills matrix breaks down specific training, tasks and requirements to advance in each department. At hiring, production trainees take “Extrusion 101,” a six-week classroom and hands-on program. Employees then may take additional classes to advance, based on their own initiative. (Salaried associates also take Extrusion 101 so that all employees understand the extrusion process and its terminology.) The skills matrix and current status of every worker at Engineered Profiles is posted in the facility, adding transparency to the company’s promotion system. “The biggest challenge we faced was establishing the correct skills criteria for every position in the company,” Lamone said. “This took a significant amount of time and required assessing the skill level of all current associates.” The company identified a few employees who did not meet all of the skill requirements for their current positions. They were given a year to gain required skills, with no demotion or loss of pay. While there was initial pushback from some senior employees who felt that tenure gave them an automatic right to their positions, pushback faded when employees saw that the program was designed to be objective, with clear paths for advancement and raises. Engineered Profiles has seen distinct benefits. “There is no doubt our training program is a competitive advantage for us in a very tight labor market,” Lamone said. “Showing potential new hires a clear path to earn more money and advance sells very well during the interview process.” The reduction in the gap between unskilled and skilled employees also is impressive. “Since expanding the skills matrix to all operational areas, we virtually have no unskilled labor working for the company,” Lamone explained. Retention at the one-year mark for new hires who completed Extrusion 101 is almost 80%. The skills matrix has added consistency to training and eliminated the potential for favoritism. The advancement path for employees is evident: During the


first six months of 2018, 44 employees earned pay increases, averaging $1,834 annually, by participating in the program. One unexpected result is some healthy competition among Engineered Profiles employees. “Associates want to advance quicker or at the same pace as their co-workers,” Lamone said. “Our associates genuinely appreciate the recognition they receive from our leadership team at our quarterly shift meetings.” One employee who embraced the training opportunities, benefitting himself and the company, is an individual who advanced from trainee to technician in only 18 months, far surpassing the usual four-year timeframe. Lamone cited the employee’s motivation: “This associate wanted to make a technician’s pay as quickly as possible and did everything he could to make that happen. He now is working to become a senior technician, which is our highest paid position.”

Quarterly meetings provide checkpoints for six career paths

Nicolet Plastics employs 100 individuals in its Mountain and Jackson, Wisconsin, locations. In business for 30 years, the company produces plastic molded parts for the medical, electronics, agricultural, industrial, consumer, dental and sporting goods industries. Human Resources Manager Lisa Pichotta described the company’s impetus for creating a training program: “Due to our small community located in the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest, skilled talent was not as easily attainable as in larger communities. We set out to create a training program that would allow us to up-skill our workforce and also cross-train to allow more flexibility to successfully deliver quality parts for a very diverse customer base.” Nicolet’s training program has been in place for several years, but it continues to evolve. “We have found as our employee demographics change, so do learning styles and the needs of our employees,” Pichotta said. Nicolet’s program uses an individual development plan (IDP), created following a welcoming period during which employees learn the foundations for success at the company. To create the IDP, the employee, human resources manager, training coordinator and supervisor meet to discuss each employee’s expectations for their roles and how they would like to grow. All employees have quarterly IDP meetings.

Wilbert U, the training program at Wilbert Plastics Services, has resulted in significant benefits across the company’s multiple locations.

A new employee has six career paths from which to choose, each with specific skills and a training plan that ranges from three page 30 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 29


SOLUTIONS t page 29

Employees at Nicolet Plastics can choose from six career paths, each with specific skills to master and an established training program.

weeks to more than a year. The skills matrix for the production department, for example, lists more than 88 skills, with point values assigned based on skill complexity. “For every 10 training points an employee is competent and confident in performing, they are able to earn an additional 50 cents per hour,” Pichotta said. “Self-motivated employees are able to move up and increase their hourly wage fairly quickly.”

no show (NCNS). In 2018, we have not had any NCNS. As of today, we are retaining 81% of new hires within their first year of employment. Training Within Industry – Job Instructions training has helped us create standard training and trainers. And, when an employee signs up for a new role they know exactly what the time commitment and expectations are before they accept the role.”

Pichotta explained that the biggest challenge in implementing the program was “getting everyone on board with a standard approach to training and then, of course, the struggle of production vs. training. The HR team and production leadership team for all shifts meet monthly to identify priority training based on our gaps and how we will work together across the shifts to accomplish our goals,” she said. Nicolet posts weekly training schedules throughout its facilities.

Most employees have embraced the program, with many standout examples. “We have an employee who joined our team right out of high school, without any manufacturing background, who is an awesome process tech – Level 1 today,” Pichotta said. “We have two former production employees who are pursuing leadership roles. I could go on and on.”

“The employees who have been most successful in their quest to gain additional skills are those who were flexible to come in for training on weekends and off-shifts for the opportunity to learn specific skills that may not have been easily attainable on their normal shift,” she continued.

Established in 1965, Wilbert Plastics Services is headquartered in Belmont, North Carolina. The company does custom injection molding and heavy-gauge thermoforming for the automotive, medical equipment, appliance, heavy truck, heavy agriculture and consumer products industries, and has 1,250 employees in manufacturing plants and engineering centers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Minnesota, Ohio and Kentucky.

Nicolet Plastics has reaped rewards from the training and advancement plans. “We often have a pipeline of new employees waiting to join our team,” Pichotta said. “We have a daily visual of our skills gap and progress in closing it. At the end of June 2016, we were only at 53% of our ideal talent level, compared to 90% a year later. Increasing our skills level has allowed us to go from four or five 12-hour shifts to four 10-hour shifts. In 2016, the largest category for turnover was a result of no call,

30 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

Cloud-based learning pushes consistency across facilities

According to CEO Greg Botner, implementing a training program stemmed from Wilbert’s multiple locations. While the company had partnered with some technical schools and community colleges for localized training support, Botner said that creating their own training program enabled them to address needs in all locations. “We still coordinate with local technical


school and colleges to tap into outside training programs where it’s practical, and we do engage them for higher level training in electronics or hydraulics,” he said. Wilbert’s program started in 2012 with a canned processoriented training program. Initially using a training center with computers where employees were paid to take taskspecific courses, the company expanded training to reach all employees, with mandatory initial training as well as courses for employee advancement. “What motivated us first was the shortage of employees with the skill set we needed to run our plant and, second, the engagement that we saw early on with the program,” Bottner explained. “People started asking for more, so we broadened the program. That’s when we adopted the name Wilbert U, a takeoff of Wilbert University.” After focusing on individual skills, Wilbert widened its courses to cover complete jobs and, eventually, all of the systems used by the company. The main implementation challenge was that sidelining employees for training affected scheduling and production, causing problems for department managers. Wilbert addressed this with cloud-based training that can be accessed anywhere, anytime.

The most unexpected result of implementing their training program is that, in an industry with repetitive production work, the program has invited employees to understand the overall process to which they contribute, engaging people by making their work more meaningful and interesting. Wilbert has seen its program pay off in attracting new employees, in an 18% improvement in retention rate and in empowering motivated employees to advance. Wilbert Plastics Services has seen virtually no employee pushback, and Botner explained that the training program has been embraced widely and also highlighted by local news media. “One standout employee that really jumps to my mind is a woman in our Bellevue, Ohio, plant, Melissa McLauglin,” he said. “Over the last five or six years, she has moved up from a machine operator level to program manager – a high-

level engineering job – for some of our Ford Motor Company programs.” Engineered Profiles, Nicolet Plastics and Wilbert Plastics Services are leaders in using employee training programs to enhance their companies. As Wilbert’s Greg Botner summed up: “I have become a believer that if you don’t have an effective training program for your employees these days, then your business is in jeopardy.” n

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Botner explained that Wilbert U is a continually evolving program covering technical skills, leadership programs, operating system modules and even “day in the life” profiles, most of which are in video form and many of which are created in-house. He credited Amelia Keown, a Six Sigma black belt certified trainer, for managing and championing Wilbert U: “If you don’t have a full-time champion to do it, it’s not going to get done.”

And, when an employee signs up for a new role they know exactly what the time commitment and expectations are before they accept the role.

Who is Managing your marketing Strategy? Vive delivers and manages a strategic marketing approach that will advance your business goals.

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www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 31


NEWS

Chem-Trend Releases Thermoplastics Purging Compound Product Absolute Haitian Introduces MARS II S Absolute Haitian, Worcester, Massachusetts, announced several upgrades and features have been added to the Mars Series injection molding machines (from 67 to 3,709 US tons). The new MA II S Series is more efficient and precise. The overall footprint is reduced for higher productivity per square foot. Faster clamp movement offers improved dry cycle time with lower energy consumption. Ball-type linear guide rails on the clamp reduce friction and result in smoother clamp movement. The lower platen stress and improved mold force stability reduces mold wear. The reduced oil capacity requirement means lower cost and improved environmental sustainability. Copper graphite bushings for the rear platen, stationary platen and toggle that are high-load bearing provide good abrasion resistance and decrease the need for lubrication. Absolute Haitian, the exclusive distributor of the Mars II S in the US and Canada, is quoting all sizes of the updated MA II S, and certain sizes of the MA II S are available in the company’s stock machine inventory for immediate delivery. For more information, visit www.absolutehaitian.com.

Chem-Trend, Howell, Michigan, released ChemTrend Ultra Purge™ C6090, a new thermoplastics purging compound product. Primarily used in the manufacturing process of automotive headlamp and rear-lamp lenses, this product offers customers a single purging agent that minimizes quality issues and creates a more consistent, simple and efficient process. This flexible solution also overcomes common industry issues associated with color change in PC, or processing PC at high temperatures and switching to PMMA at low temperatures. Ultra Purge™ C6090 is a complete purge compound solution for polycarbonates and acrylics. This product allows for a smooth transition between the PC processing temperature from 280°C to 320°C (536°F to 608°F) and of PMMA from 190°C to 270°C (374°F to 518°F). It prevents issues related to either freezing PC at PMMA processing temperatures or burning PMMA at PC processing temperatures with the consequence of black specks. For more information, visit www.chemtrend.com.

ARI Partners with ABB Robotics Absolute Robot (ARI), Worcester, Massachusetts, has become an integrator with ABB Robotics to offer 6-axis robot solutions for injection molders in North America. The partnership offers an alternative to traditional cartesian robots whose functionality is limited by stroke length and overhead clearance. ARI’s new user interface on ABB robots (which require a user versed in RAPID programming language) makes them much easier to program and interface with the molding machines. ARI’s control user interface software lays on top of the ABB software to simplify operation. This ensures that the molder doesn’t lose any of the versatility or power of the ABB robot. In addition to standard robot functions, EZ Mold Application software provides molders with a bypass robot function so that the press may be run independently of the robot. This enables the operator to run cycles sans robot without having to unplug the robot and insert a dummy plug, for example, during the initial machine start-up. Auto backout enables the robot to retrace its movements out of the mold area, returning to its home position without needing to be in manual mold, avoiding damaging mold or parts. The functionality is particularly valuable to molders running lights-out operations. For more information, visit www.absolutehaitian.com.

32 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4


Paulson Offers Training in Mold and Part Design

Milacron Introduces ThinPAK Series Thinwall Hot Runner

Paulson Training, Chester, Connecticut, announced it now offers intensive online training in mold design and part design, developed by industry expert Kruse Training. Each course focuses on the importance of understanding the foundations and the many aspects of the molding and tooling processes, as well as how the various design elements impact the part properties. For more information, visit www.paulsontraining.com.

Milacron Holdings Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio, announced the launch of the Mold-Masters ThinPAK-Series hot runner for thinwall applications. ThinPAK-Series has the strength and durability to mold with complete reliability, even in high-pressure applications up to 2,800 bar. ThinPAK incorporates features that include new hot runner nozzles, gate seals and manifold designs. New ThinPAK-Series nozzles feature a robust gate seal and cutout to withstand the high pressures required for thinwall packaging molding operations. The ThinPAK-Series nozzles also feature precisely balanced thermal profiles for excellent process control, and the gate seals are serviceable from the parting line. The enhanced gate features a more robust design that incorporates high-strength material and a larger contact area. Utilizing an enhanced valve disk bushing design, any weepage is controlled and directed to easy-to-clean areas. This design extends service intervals by up to three times, minimizing interruptions to operations. The new nozzle and manifold seal provide greater reliability even on cold start-up, providing a wider processing window. For more information, visit www.milacron.com.

FIPA Upgrades Sprue Grippers FIPA Inc., Cary, North Carolina, has upgraded its product line of sprue grippers for handling plastic material. The updated Series 90, 100 and 130 grippers now bear the red FIPA dot, which makes the gripper components immediately identifiable in installations. The grippers in each series offer unique features and benefits. For example, the Series 90 grippers reliably grip small sprues due to their high closing force, wide jaw opening and compact design. The Series 100 grippers are designed to securely grip medium to large sprues, with gap-free closing for gripping thin, flat sprues. The Series 130 grippers feature strong gripping force and a wide jaw opening, making them ideal for large sprues. FIPA grippers have a long lifecycle due to their high-strength aluminum alloy housing and jaws, with a durable, corrosion-resistant anodized coating. For more information, visit www.fipa.com.

Routsis Training Announces Measurement Courses Routsis Training, Dracut, Massachusetts, announced the release of 21 new Basic Measuring Tools online courses. The Basic Measuring Tools SkillSet™ Series combines detailed, step-bystep online video instruction with hands-on worksheets to verify the accuracy of measuring equipment being used in facilities. Each of the 21 video/worksheet combinations focuses on a particular measuring tool. The steps outlined in each course ensure the tool is being used correctly and providing reliable measurements. Users will learn best practices for handling and storing measuring equipment, stabilizing tools and part features for improved accuracy, and how to perform a simplified verification (also known as a “Field Check”) for each tool covered in the training series. The Basic Measuring Tools series is ideal for operators, inspectors, technicians, engineers, machinists, quality and maintenance personnel, research and development, metrology, field support, tooling – or anyone who works with measuring tools in any industry. For more information, visit www.traininteractive.com. n

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STRATEGIES

Quote, Price and Close Work Orders the Right Way by Nick Knight, Senior Director of Customer Services, Global Shop Solutions

E

very manufactured part has a story – the story of how something is made, how much something costs, how much something can be sold for and if that something can be made again. A good manufacturing story will be filled with precise detail and perfect accuracy, guiding your future based on a truthful history. And, this means customers will want more. Why? The answer is simple – if a company is manufacturing like a boss, it means the company can do the following: • Master the four key transactions 1. Purchasing Receipts 2. Issuing Material 3. Work-in-Progress (WIP) to Finished Goods (FG) 4. Shipping/Invoicing. • Know its costs (freight, labor, outside services, overhead, material, other) with accurate precision • Price parts competitively and profitably • Quote jobs correctly with speed and accuracy • Reduce risk by knowing and not guessing When a manufacturing facility is doing the above, it is making parts faster, making parts better, watching it all in real time and knowing exactly what everything costs – otherwise known as “manufacturing like a boss.” So, let’s get back to the basics and manufacture like a boss with these 13 items on the To Do list.

1) Prepare to win

to get product in on time.

3) Realistic due dates

If the due date on a work order (often driven by the sales team) is entered for a week from now, but it takes several weeks to make the part, a company is setting itself up for failure. Purchasing will be scrambling to order material, supervisors will be adjusting labor schedules, and the company likely won’t be profitable on the job. To make matters worse, other jobs may need to be bumped, and the customer will be upset if it the job takes longer to make than promised – a double whammy.

4) Correct cost and conversion factors

Cost on a purchase order line should be known at any given time. If the cost or conversion factor on a purchase order (PO) is incorrect, everything downstream – from the PO receipt to the cost on the parts being shipped – will be incorrect, including financial implications.

5) Timely PO receipts

If material is on the shelf but a receipt has not been completed, this will lead to problems. Employees may cycle count the parts in because the material is on the shelf, but not in the system. This can lead to loss of traceability on any material requiring certification, heat, lot, bin tracking or serialization. When the PO receipt is done, then the parts are cycle counted back out.

Manufacturing can be won or lost in how prepared each company is to meet day-to-day challenges. • Employees must be well trained to accurately capture data. Garbage in, garbage out. • Employees must hold each other accountable. See something, say something. • Employees must understand daily processes and how each action impacts costing. If an employee does not know, ask first.

6) Issue material on time

2) Accurate bills and routers

7) Watch cycle count adjustments

When a work order is generated, it begins the process that drives how much it will cost to make the parts and how long it will take. The accuracy of the bill of materials and the associated routers impacts runtime, set-up, lead times and quantities. If the lead time is incorrect, it will tell purchasing to order material at the wrong times, leading to overstock of product or expedited fees

36 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

Inventory control is imperative. If material has been taken from the shelf, but not issued to the work order, this leads to problems. Parts may be promised sooner than what can happen because it looks like the material is available. Employees may cycle count the parts out because they cannot see the material on the shelf. And, if the finished good is moved to inventory without the material issued, the value of that product will be under-costed, which leads to incorrect profitability. Cycle count adjustments have an inverse relationship with inventory control: The more cycle count adjustments happen, the less inventory control there is. This means the parts are not being issued correctly to work orders, WIP to FG is not being done, etc. This leads to incorrect costing on work orders.


8) Finish the job

Most of our customers tell their employees, “If it is not in the ERP software, then it didn’t happen.” Operations must be closed accurately when completed. If the estimated material is greater than the actual amount needed and the operation is left open, it will continue to call out for the remainder of the material to be issued, leading to incorrect demand. And, it will continue to show on dispatch lists – allocating incorrect costs.

9) Have a plan

Inspect as production goes instead of at the end, as the cost of quality increases with each operation performed on bad parts. This leads to a higher cost of goods sold (COGS) from the extra cost applied. A plan to handle rework or bad parts on work orders where the bulk of the parts have been completed should be in place.

10) Track labor and perform daily balancing

Labor is the 800-pound elephant. First, when it comes to indirect labor, use common sense. There will be indirect time if employees work on several work orders each day and some employees – such as shipping personnel, maintenance staff, engineers, parts movers and office employees – will have higher indirect costs

than others. If employees should have a lot of direct time but instead show a considerable amount of indirect time, it typically means they are not logging work orders correctly, resulting in jobs being under-costed. If there are employees who should have some indirect time and don’t, it typically means they are staying logged into work orders while they are finding their next job, resulting in those jobs being over-costed. Second, track direct labor and perform balancing every day. It is better to find labor mistakes as soon as they happen so the cost is corrected immediately. For example, say an employee forgets to log out of a work order at the end of the day on Friday before a long weekend. When the employee comes back on Tuesday and notices he or she didn’t log out, the employee likely will log out then. If the employee doesn’t tell the supervisor, and daily balancing is not performed for several days, the work order that employee was logged onto is over-costed. Chances are the part has moved into inventory, has been issued to another work order or has shipped – resulting in incorrect costing ricocheting through the system. page 38 u

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STRATEGIES t page 37

11) Close work orders on time

If parts are on the shelf but the work order is not closed, there is a chance the parts will be cycle counted in. Parts that are cycle counted in have no traceability, and when the work order is eventually closed, on-hand increases and the parts have to be cycle counted back out. This leads to incorrect inventory history, failed traceability and incorrect costing, not to mention a bunch of wasted time fixing the inventory count.

12) Performance matters – compare estimates to actuals

When the first shot matters.

If the bills and routers (To Do #2) are accurate, then estimate vs. actual can be used for analysis. If there are operations that are drastically different, it means either the bills/routers are incorrect or someone applied too much or too little labor/ material. Having something to base costing on is imperative, as there is no way to know if cost is correct without a proper baseline being established.

13) Stop guessing and start knowing

Synventive, the industry leader in hot runner systems, now offering Thermoplay products for high cavitation.

My accountant found a way to get tax credits for research and experimentation. That’s more than accounting.

that’s innovation

If a company performs daily balancing every day, employees are logging in and out of jobs correctly, material is issued accurately, operations are being closed, WIP to FG is being done, and parts are shipped correctly – then that company is job-costing like a boss. It is too late to notice bad costs after the parts are shipped. Everyone should strive to handle job-costing by exception rather than after the jobs are complete. Simple exception reports can be created to help identify when material has not been issued, when operations are not closed and more. These reports are typically created based on the type of parts being created, the amount of rework or scrap being processed, and if there are “if necessary” operations that don’t have to be processed. In any line of work, it is easy to lose focus. Days become weeks and weeks become months – and suddenly we find ourselves working harder for the same results. Typically, this means we have stepped away from the success that got us to the top of the mountain and need to get back to basics. n

If your business has developed or improved products, processes, techniques, formulas, inventions or software, you may be able to claim a federal tax credit. What have you created lately? Let’s see if it qualifies.

Visit muellerprost.com or call us at 800.649.4838.

38 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

TA X AU D IT ACCO U N TIN G CO NS U LTIN G

As senior director of customer services, Nick Knight oversees the consulting, account representative and custom departments for Global Shop Solutions, The Woodlands, Texas. He ensures customers have everything they need for success with ERP software from the moment of purchase. Global Shop Solutions has been in the business of simplifying manufacturing for more than 40 years and has helped thousands of manufacturers take their operations from good to great. More information: www.globalshopsolutions.com


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TECHNOLOGY

Increase Profits and Opportunities for Growth with Data-Driven Process Cooling by Al Fosco, Marketing Manager, Frigel North America

B

usiness-savvy plastics processors have long leveraged process cooling to gain a competitive advantage. And now, with readily available machine-side cooling data, processors can take it to the next level to further increase productivity and profitability – all while ensuring the ongoing delivery of quality products.

Machine-side cooling 101

The primary function of process cooling is to remove heat from whatever heat exchanger is used in the process, such as an injection or blow mold, chill roll or pipe/profile extrusion tank. Many processors have found the use of machine-side cooling to be an attractive alternative to traditional process cooling methods when it comes to a positive impact on the bottom line. One traditional process cooling approach involves the use of an open cooling tower that delivers process-cooling water directly to the heat exchangers. Another involves a central chiller for the same purpose. The challenge with both is the inability to tightly control three main process-cooling parameters: coolant flow, coolant pressure and coolant temperature. As a result, opportunities for increased productivity and profitability can go wanting. As an alternative, many processors have adopted the use of a closed-loop adiabatic central cooling system that provides cooling water to mobile, machine-side temperature control units (TCUs) or combination chiller/TCUs that are dedicated to a given machine or process. The approach gives processors the ability to optimize coolant flow, pressure and temperature to match the conditions of every heat exchanger to achieve optimal results.

Better data = better business decisions

The need for more data and the ability to make informed decisions related to process cooling has fueled the steady march toward more technically advanced machine-side cooling equipment. The advancements have largely taken the form of digital controls that processors can leverage to gain a higher level of control of coolant flows, pressures, temperatures and even energy consumption in process cooling. Technically advanced machine-side units provide real-time data points for key cooling variables while serving up the information via user-friendly touchscreens. The controls also provide Wi-Fi connectivity for easy access to data even though machine-side

40 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

With digital controls, users can more easily establish proper parameters and make necessary adjustments to reduce the amount of time needed to cool any given mold.

cooling units are frequently moved from location to location within the plant. Digital controls and the data provided give users the ability to easily set up, monitor and document what’s happening in all phases of cooling for each machine or process in real time – and make the necessary adjustments for a number of variables. In so doing, processors are better able to optimize the efficiencies and performance of the entire cooling process and the quality of the produced product. Importantly, data supports the need for repeatability for every production run from start to finish.

The value of data: a closer look

The use of digitally controlled machine-side cooling units in


injection molding is a prime example of the value that readily available data delivers.

and productivity. Some also offer remote monitoring capabilities to further aid in diagnoses and further increase uptime.

In injection molding, process cooling typically consumes 60 to 70% of a molding cycle. That means nothing else is happening in the molding process while the mold cools. Yet, with advanced digital controls, users can leverage historical data to more easily establish proper parameters and make necessary adjustments for coolant capacity, pressure and flows to reduce the amount of time needed to cool any given mold. The result is an exponential decrease in cycle times, an increase in production and reduced scrap – all of which contribute to improved profit margins.

Informed decisions are better decisions

In an increasingly competitive environment where margins often are razor thin, virtually every decision matters. Fortunately, new generation machine-side process cooling units provide the data needed to more easily and accurately make informed decisions and gain tighter control of process cooling, resulting in operational efficiencies, increased profits and more opportunity for growth. n

Given that injection molders run operations with multiple machines, multiple molds and molds that each can have many different circuits that each require different flows and/or precise temperatures, it’s easy to see how digital controls and welldefined data set points can not only improve mold efficiency and performance, but overall efficiency of the operation.

Al Fosco is the marketing manager for Frigel North America. Prior to joining Frigel in 2009, Fosco spent 16 years with Conair’s Water Products Division, holding sales and engineering management positions, including vice president of sales and marketing and general manager of engineering. Prior to that, he spent 14 years in engineering and sales management at AEC. He has a master’s degree in heat transfer and fluid mechanics engineering from the University of Illinois.

With new, advanced digital controls, processors can say goodbye to spreadsheets and guesswork since data is at users’ fingertips. This new generation of digital controls tracks and displays all key process cooling parameters, including the following:

More information: 847.540.0160, a.fosco@frigel.com or www. frigel.com

• cooling capacity used for mold validation, usually in tons or kW; • coolant type (water or water/glycol mixture); • coolant supply pressure to the mold, in psi or bar; • flow rate (gpm or lpm) from the cooling system, as well as individual flows for each mold circuit; and • coolant supply temperature to the tool, in °F or °C, as well as ΔT across the tool and each individual cooling circuit. Some advanced machine-side units also give users process cooling energy consumption data over time, which is an important new development, since energy use for cooling is highest at the machine. Unlike before, processors now can measure the kW cost to cool each pound of plastic and cover it in the price of the final products for improved margins.

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Processors also can add flow meters to machine-side cooling units to gain even more insights into flow data with a high level of accuracy. This results in the best possible mold performance based on the unique characteristics of a given mold, no matter how complex the geometries. Digital controls on machine-side units also now provide troubleshooting features with accurate, real-time information and display it in easy-to-understand language to help users quickly resolve issues. Additionally, alarms and fault indicators help users identify issues and resolve them before they impact uptime

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MAPP Plastics Business 2018 Quarterly Ad-4th Quarter.indd 1

11/6/2018 4:34:02 PM


TRAINING ROOM

How to Become a Plastics Guru: What You Need to Know by Jeremy Williams, Trainer/Consultant, RJG, Inc.

T

here are those who are good at what they do, and then there are those who are the absolute best. The gurus. How are they so good? What do you need to know to be on that higher level? In this article, we’re going to review several of the often-overlooked technical arenas that are vital to understand in order to become a plastics guru.

Mechanical

There are many areas that require a deep understanding of mechanics in the industry. Here, we graze the surface of what you need to know about the machine, the intensification ratio and the mold. 1. The Machine Did you know that 80% of the energy required to melt the material comes from mechanical friction? The first step is understanding the length to diameter ratio (L/D) (a comparison of its flighted length to diameter) in conjunction with the compression ratio (the reduction in depth of the space between the root diameter and outside diameter of the screw). Figure 1 helps to understand if the design is efficient enough to melt the pellets before they are injected into the mold. Imagine rubbing your hands together on a cold day to generate heat. The faster your hands are rubbed together, the greater the heat. If they are pressed together firmly, the heat generated increases yet again. The reciprocating screw design works the same way. If a screw design is too aggressive, it can cause degradation. If it isn’t aggressive enough, it won’t work the way it needs to. So, it’s vital to find the right balance.

The majority of the molding cycle (nearly 80%) is waiting for the plastic to reach a temperature low enough that it’s rigid enough to withstand the forces of ejection. be calculated. If this step is overlooked, the molded part may require more power than the machine can deliver, yielding an inconsistent process. For example, if we apply 500 PSIh hydraulic pressure to a 10:1 ratio, the result is 5,000 PSIp. When the same pressure is applied to a machine with an intensification ratio of 15:1, the result becomes 7,500 PSIp. Think of it like a magnifying glass. 3. The Mold Now let’s center our attention on the mold and its mechanics. Many parts today are designed with undercut features that require movement of components, such as slides or lifters. It’s important to understand minimum and maximum angles for either to ensure the steel can be disengaged from the molded part. If the angle is too steep, there could be galling between the metal components. If it’s too shallow, the distance of travel required to release the part could negatively impact the mold size or place excessive stress on the lifter rod or cam pin.

Electrical Figure 1. Screw showing L/D and Compression Ratio

2. The Intensification Ratio The next type of mechanical advantage that must be understood on the molding machine is the intensification ratio. This ratio determines the amount of work, or power, the injection unit can deliver during the filling and packing phase. Hydraulic machines generally have large diameter cylinders in small diameter screws. If we compare the area of the hydraulic cylinder to the area of the screw, the intensification ratio can

42 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

To a certain extent, a plastics guru needs to have an understanding of how electricity is used in the machine as well as in the mold. First, you should know that machines with hot runners have heaters (pretty obvious, right?). The heaters are used to preheat the screw and barrel assembly before screw rotation can occur. If the heater bands are not properly sized, it can take a long time before production can begin. The heater bands also provide a small amount of energy to melt the plastic material. Understanding how to size the heater and how to verify the proper function can go a long way in making sure the machine is performing appropriately, increasing the opportunity for quality parts each cycle.


Now for a moment, let’s focus on the heaters inside the mold. Hot runners have many heaters to maintain the temperature of the melt from cycle to cycle. Think of them as an extension of the barrel, only smaller. If the heater is not functioning properly, it can cause the temperature to drop and the injection to increase, causing fulgurations in the process. When the temperature runs too hot, from either an improper set point or pinched thermocouple wire, the material inside the system can be degraded.

Shear rate: The change in velocity of parallel planes in a flowing fluid. Picture a river and how the water flows differently near shore in comparison to in the center of the river. At the edges, the water flows slower. Out in the center of the river, water flows faster and has higher shear rates.

Fluid dynamics

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at three common fluids within the plastics industry.

Before we dive too far into this area, we are going to consult our old friend, the dictionary. We need to make sure everyone has the same understanding of the definitions to the terms we are going to be discussing. Fluid dynamics: The properties of fluids in motion. There are two different types of fluids: Newtonian and non-Newtonian (shear thickening or shear thinning), along with understanding viscosity, as shown in Graph 1.

Graph 1. Plastics are NonNewtonian, shear-thinning materials

First, we will focus on a Newtonian fluid, such as hydraulic oil, which is used to create linear or rotary movement on the machine or mold. If you have ever worked on a car, you may have noticed some oils flow easily while others not so much. The oil that is used in the motor is typically 5W-30. The 5 denotes the weight of the oil, which correlates to the viscosity. Lower weight equates to lower

Viscosity: The resistance to flow. The more the fluid resists flow, the higher the viscosity.

page 44 u

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TRAINING ROOM t page 43

viscosity, which means it flows easier. Oils that are used in the rear differential are typically 75W-90. These oils have a viscosity 15 times higher than oil used in the motor. The motor oil will typically flow relatively easily from the container, while the rear differential oil needs to have the bottle squeezed to make it flow. Another Newtonian fluid is water, typically used to control the temperature of the mold. If the temperature changes for either water or oil, the viscosity will change as well. However, the line will still be plotted across the graph from left to right – it will just be shifted up or down based on the direction of temperature change. No matter how fast the fluid moves (shear rate), the viscosity will never change in a Newtonian fluid. This is why the rear differential oil requires the bottle to be squeezed the entire time. Now, let’s focus on non-Newtonian fluids, specifically shear thinning fluids, such as ketchup and plastic. Wait, what? Ketchup? Let me explain. For those who have used a glass ketchup bottle, you may have seen the correlation with plastic without knowing it. If we removed the lid and turned the bottle upside down, not much would happen on its own. If we pounded the bottom really hard or inserted a knife, the ketchup would pour onto the plate. Tapping firmly on the 57 (the correct method), the ketchup would then flow at a more desired rate. Before doing any of the previous mentioned methods, the ketchup molecules were all entangled with each other, like a plate of spaghetti. They refused to flow in a timely manner. By applying a force, these molecules started to align, reducing the viscosity and allowing the ketchup to flow from the bottle. With melted plastics, the same type of behavior is exhibited in the barrel after the pellets have transitioned from solid to liquid

Your Solution to Industry

form. The faster the flow rate of the machine (shear rate), the lower the viscosity becomes because there is more alignment of the plastic molecules. There are always limitations, and plastics are not exempt from this. Every plastic has a shear rate limit, and it must be taken into consideration when designing the mold and selecting a flow rate for the molding process. The viscosity of the plastic within the cavity is always changing due to different shapes and thickness and is constantly being cooled by the mold. To measure the viscosity in the molding process, we use the following formula: Effective Viscosity = Fill Time (seconds) x Pressure at Transfer (PSIp) This allows us to track viscosity shifts from cycle to cycle as well as from lot to lot. By understanding the viscosity of the resin under given conditions, we can predict what type of part quality will be produced.

Thermodynamics

We need to take another brief revisit to our old friend the dictionary, just to make sure we are all on the same page: Thermodynamics: Physics that deals with heat and other forms of energy. Thermal conductivity (Tλ): The rate in which heat can be conducted through a material. Table 1 provides a general range for common substances in molding. Thermal expansion: How much a material will expand with a given temperature. Specific heat (Cp): The heat required to raise the temperature of the unit mass of a given substance by a given

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44 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

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amount. A general range for common substances in molding can be found in Table 2.

Substance

Tc (W/m*K)

Air

0.02

Oil

0.15

Water

0.58

Plastics

0.10 to 0.70

Metal

16 to 205

Table 1. Thermal conductivity values

Substance

Cp (BTU/lb-m˚F)

Air

0.24

Oil

0.43 to 0.54

Water

1.002 to 1.005

Plastics

0.239 to 1.29

Metal

0.09 to 0.43

Shrink rate: The amount a thermoplastic will shrink when cooled. The machine is responsible for putting energy into the material through screw rotation to force the pellets from a solid state to a liquid state, then reversing the process in the mold. Earlier, we discussed the L/D and compression ratios of the reciprocating screw. These play a key role in determining how much mechanical energy is put into the plastic. If there is too much energy put into the plastic, there is high potential for degradation. Conversely, if energy is inadequate, expect to see unmelted pellets in molded parts. A plastics guru can change the screw RPMs and back pressure during recovery, which affect the amount of energy put into the plastic. They must understand that not all polymers melt at the same rate, and some are very sensitive to heat. The majority of the molding cycle (nearly 80%) is waiting for the plastic to reach a temperature low enough that it’s rigid enough to withstand the forces of ejection. The workhorse for this is none

Table 2. Specific heat values

page 46 u

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TRAINING ROOM t page 45

other than the mold. Thermal conductivity of the mold metal also is critical. Not all metals transfer heat at the same rate, with stainless steel being very poor and copper alloys being very good. Only about 40% of energy is released from the part due to the ability of plastic to transfer heat. As the molding cycle progresses, the plastic becomes more of an insulator with every passing moment, making it harder and harder to remove heat. When large molds run very hot, thermal expansion calculations must be used to ensure there is adequate clearance between moving components at operating temperature. Generally, the larger the mold and the higher the temperature, the more there is a concern. If the mold contains a hot runner system direct of valve gate, the thermal expansion at operating temperature must be addressed or there could be severe mold damage. It also is critical to understand how the energy is removed from the molded part. One method of heat transfer is through the air surrounding the mold, which is not very efficient. Heat also is removed via the water channels. It’s important to have achieved

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Figure 2. Laminar or tubulent flow for water

turbulent flow in the channel to improve the ability of the water to transfer heat. If the Reynolds number is calculated, it can be determined if the water is flowing in a laminar or turbulent way (shown in Figure 2).

Metallurgy

A surprising amount of metal is used in the manufacture of plastic molded parts. On the molding machine, one key area that must be considered is the screw and barrel assembly. It takes a significant amount of energy to melt plastic through mechanical friction, but the type of resin being melted impacts the steel selection. For general purposes (materials such as polypropylene), a standard steel will work just fine. However, not every material is as easy to work with. Materials that have glass fillers can quickly erode a soft steel selection, causing all kinds of havoc on part quality. For aggressive materials, such as a 33% glass-filled PA, it’s recommended the screw and barrel assembly be constructed of a CPM 9V or similar type steel, which has a higher wear resistance. Tie bars are another important feature on the molding machine. Tonnage is created when these massive steel rods are stretched in tensile. All four rods must stretch equally to provide even clamping forces across the mold surface. If the difference is large enough, it can cause premature failure of the mold or even cause a tie bar to snap. Speaking from experience, neither of these situations is pleasant. In Image 2, there is a visual gap between the back of the platen and the tie bar nut. In this example, the machine was set to run at 50 tons. With 4 tie bars, each should provide 12.5 tons of force, however due to improper torque, the tie bars were stretching at different rates.

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46 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

page 48 u


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TRAINING ROOM t page 46

Platen stiffness is critical to the overall longevity of both the mold and the machine. Platen must be stiff to provide a rigid structure for the mold to be pressed against during injection. This is completed with two factors: the type of metal that is selected and the shape of the support structure opposite the mold mounting surface. If the platen is not properly designed, the mold will typically flash around the sprue. This is because the highest pressure is at the sprue and the least amount of support is typically in the center of a toggle-type clamping system.

Image 2. Gap between platen and tie bar nut

Understanding the material that is going to be processed also impacts the cavity and core steel selection. When processing materials that are abrasive, such as the 33% glass-filled nylon mentioned earlier, choosing the appropriate mold steel is critical. In this instance, selecting a steel like H13 with a high Rockwell hardness will improve the overall durability. Conversely, when molding a PP resin, a P20 likely will be the correct choice for the application – it is softer and transfers heat more effectively.

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One item to keep in mind is the balance between hardness and thermal conductivity. In certain circumstances, such as in the medical arena, processors might be forced into using something like stainless steel, which does not transfer heat well. For injection molders, time is money. When a steel is selected that doesn’t transfer heat well, the ability to achieve cycle times becomes increasingly difficult.

Conclusion

Don’t be fooled – plastics gurus possess no superpowers. They may not even be masters of all of these areas. But gurus are able to see plastics from many different perspectives, which allows them to better understand the situation and how to apply the appropriate solution. You, too, can become a guru with enough training and practice. n

When a steel is selected that doesn’t transfer heat well, the ability to achieve cycle times becomes increasingly difficult. in 2011, became an RJG Qualified Trainer in 2012 and started at RJG in 2015. In addition to his extensive manufacturing background, he holds degrees in plastics and business. Currently, Williams is a Consultant/Trainer with TZERO®. More information: www.rjginc.com

Jeremy Williams has more than 17 years of experience in the plastics industry serving the medical, automotive, furniture and appliance industries. He previously worked as a principal engineer, taking projects from design concept to saleable products. Williams earned his Master Molder II qualification

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www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 49


REVIEW

2018 Benchmarking Conference Brings 600 Manufacturing Leaders to Indianapolis The Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) brought nearly 600 manufacturing professionals to Indianapolis from October 10-12, 2018. MAPP held the record-breaking 2018 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana. The theme for this year was Be Extraordinary. Professional keynote speakers had direct, intense messages for audience members, and 82 industry leaders from member companies shared best practices and lessons learned from within their own facilities. The level of learning and engagement was unbeatable.

Photos courtesy of Creative Technology Corp.

50 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4


You can face any “what” if you have a big enough “why.” Troy Nix, AMBA Executive Director In his highly anticipated opening, MAPP Executive Director Troy Nix took the stage on the first morning of the conference to reflect on the lessons he has learned through 20 years of association leadership. From the power of sharing the “why” behind a company’s founding to the weight of a promise, Nix spoke passionately about how articulating the goals that seem like a stretch can help them come true. It is his belief that leaders who take the time to discover and communicate their professional “whys” are leaders who get people on the bus.

The biggest cost in any organization is a lack of trust. David Horsager, Trust Edge Leadership Institute Trust is a fundamental, bottom line issue. Without it, leaders lose teams; salespeople lose sales; and organizations lose reputation and revenue. But with trust, individuals and organizations enjoy greater creativity and productivity. Horsager used academic research and firsthand experience to demonstrate how little things, done consistently, add up to huge results. Horsager reminded attendees that doing what they say will do is one of the keys to building trust with employees and customers, but too many people set goals without having a specific plan to achieve them. He said three key words provide clarity on every issue: How? How? How? Asking “how” three times whenever a goal is expressed forces a detailed plan for achievement.

Where do you focus: the crevice or the ladder? Alan Hobson, Climb Back A member of three self-guided, self-organized and corporatesponsored expeditions to Mt. Everest, Alan Hobson spoke to attendees about the Brilliance of Resilience. Hobson’s first expedition missed the summit by 3,000 vertical feet and his second by just two city blocks. Finally, on his third expedition, he reached the peak. But, Everest was not his toughest climb. Three years later, he was diagnosed with acute leukemia and given less than a year to live. Hobson connected the everyday challenges in plastics processing to the obstacles encountered on his attempts on the mountain. In life or death situations – whether related to the climb or his illness – Hobson encouraged the audience to follow his lead, focusing on the path to goal achievement rather than the hurdles in the way.

Leadership is not a matter of getting things done. It’s coming up with something worth doing. www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 51


REVIEW t page 52

The BC Labs – conference sessions led by members of the plastics molding community – had the potential to change the way business is done in the facility of each attendee. In each of these 35 sessions, organizational leaders in manufacturing companies from across the US shared their successes with 3D printing, training best practices, visual inspection systems, seamless project launches and more. There’s no way to cover content from all sessions in these pages, but among the multitude of ideas, strategies and tactics discussed were the following: • Identify “baby steps” when adding robotics and cobots on the manufacturing floor. Don’t make a purchase and expect immediate results while staff is still exploring the equipment’s capabilities. • Don’t overcomplicate defect tracking: Systems can start with a tick mark on a “reasons” list, and a friendly competition between shifts can lead to significant reductions. • Creating an in-house vision inspection system can be as simple as adding cameras to equipment and ensuring lighting is consistent and adequate to identify flaws. Start small and add to the complexity as needs change.

Atrophy is guaranteed without intentional action.

52 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4


If you can figure out your customers’ unarticulated needs, your company will be in a much better position.

Save the date 2019 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference October 2-4, 2019

BC Lab: The Bottom Line to Growing the Top Line Many plastics companies are focused on efficiency from the operations floor but aren’t demanding the same efficiency from sales staff. How should sales team performance be measured? In one of the 35 BC Lab sessions, three plastics industry leaders shared sales strategies that have improved profit levels at their companies. Tom Tredway, Erie Molded Plastics; Doug Drummond, Revere Plastics; and Brad Krupa, Thogus Products, offered the following: • Traditional sales goals are activity-based, but don’t hold salespeople accountable. Getting specific – understanding how many calls it takes to close one project and how many new projects are needed to hit a revenue goal – helps to drive the right behaviors. • Before creating a performance improvement plan, it’s critical for sales staff to work with the manufacturing floor to understand the true cost to produce new business. Too often, a salesperson closes a deal that will ultimately not be profitable. • Look at the prospects working in adjacent industries to current customers. Core competencies in one industry often are similar and become natural outreach opportunities.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 53


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ECONOMIC CORNER

If You Can’t Convince Them, Confuse Them by Chris Kuehl, managing director, Armada Corporate Intelligence

I

t often has been remarked there are two things that nobody should ever watch being made – sausage and law. Unfortunately, we have elections every two years and must witness one of these endeavors whether we like it or not. There always is a lot at stake in an election but, at the same time, too much attention can be lavished on the process. How important is politics to the economy and the conduct of business? What influence do the various players have on the business community and/or the consumer? This is sometimes difficult to determine, as it varies with the issue – and some sectors of the economy are affected more than others. Two issues that bear some further examination would be the whole trade war/tariff war situation and the question of overall growth of the economy and how long this growth path can be sustained. It helps to clarify a few things as far as the connection between politics and the economy. The media often try to oversimplify complex issues, and this leads to misunderstanding. One of the most common errors made is putting far too much influence in the hands of the president. The reality is that almost all of the power of the executive branch over the economy is indirect. The framers of the US Constitution were universally wealthy businessmen and landowners who were fighting to keep control of that wealth. The government was going to be one dominated by people like themselves – male landowners. They did not want a strong central executive and designed a system without one. The power of the purse was theirs – Congress would have complete control over taxing and spending decisions, and the president had only advisory influence. The presidents also had what Teddy Roosevelt referred to as the “bully pulpit,” as they could use their popularity with the public to put pressure on the legislators. Even in the beginning there was a desire to create a national bank that was somehow above the political fray, but it was a century later that the concept of the independent central bank was born. After a series of financial crises, the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, and today the majority of the central banks in the world are independent so they can make the tough decisions regarding

56 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

monetary policy. The only influence the president has is to appoint members of its board of governors whose terms do not coincide with those of the president or members of Congress. The Senate has the power to approve or reject these presidential choices. The bottom line is that the success of the economy in 2018 is due, in part, to the decisions that have been made by Congress as far as spending increases and tax cuts, as well as the decision by the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates to record levels and leave them there. But this activity alone would not have pushed the economy to hit over 3.0% growth in Q2 and Q3 of 2017 and 4.2% growth in Q2 of this year. Both the Fed action and the decisions by the Federal Reserve are incentives for the business community and the consumer. If there is no response to these attempts to stimulate, the economy stalls – regardless of how much government encouragement is tried. This economic surge has taken place because the business community elected to expand to meet the demand that was provided by the consumer. It became something of a virtuous circle, with confident consumers buying enough for business to justify expansion and hiring – something that made the consumer that much more confident. If this is the underlying driver of the current period of economic growth, what could happen to slow that growth? Assuming the government does not engage in a dramatic slowdown attempt, the threat would have to be directed at consumers –


either their attitude or their ability to keep consuming. The government could take steps to stall the economy by hiking taxes or drastically reducing what it spends. This would take place only if there was suddenly a desire to take the debt and deficit seriously. There has been precious little evidence of that, and it will certainly not show up in an election year.

both nations. Given enough time, the US can find other sources for the products imported from China, but that could be several months to a year in development. Some production would shift back to the US – but not all that much, as prices would be too high.

There are, therefore, three threats that should be taken seriously and contingencies made for in the upcoming year.

The third threat is a continuation of an old threat but one that gets worse every year: a serious labor shortage in manufacturing, construction, transportation, health care and others. This shortage is worsening as more and more Baby Boomers elect to retire – about 10,000 a day. The US has long been able to address this ongoing labor issue through immigration, but that has become much harder and more controversial. In past years, the US business community would be content with hard-working immigrants just looking for a job, but now the need is for skilled and educated people. They are far harder to attract and keep.

Threat 1: Inflation

The first and probably most pressing is inflation. By most accounts, this should have been a bigger issue by now. The price has risen on industrial commodities this year, but not as fast or as persistently as had been expected. Oil nearly doubled in price earlier in the year but then leveled off. There was a surge in terms of metal pricing, but that has leveled off a little as users and producers still are trying to determine what will and will not be included. What we have not seen is wage inflation, although there are some signs that it will manifest by the start of 2019 and maybe even before this year is out. The rate at which wages are rising has reached 2.9% after languishing at between 2.0% and 2.5%. The latest statements by the Fed are basically assuring the business community that current reactions to inflation remain on track. That said, all it would take to push inflation out of control would be some crisis that affects oil or an extension of the trade war that affects metals even more profoundly.

Threat 2: Politics

The second threat would be more political and thus even harder to predict. Trump has been unpredictable and is quite capable of sparking some intense reaction. His attacks on Saudi Arabia caused oil prices to jump temporarily, and his threats against cars from Europe and Canada have reverberated through the industry. The trade war with China is becoming a new version of the Cold War, and that can easily spiral into actions that overtake

Threat 3: Labor

Every year presents a new set of challenges for anyone in business: The only real constant is change, after all. In a year that politics and elections push to the forefront of people’s attention, it is impossible to ignore the influence. This year, the economy is doing well, but there are warning signs galore that will force companies to plan for less favorable environments. n Chris Kuehl is managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence. Founded by Keith Prather and Chris Kuehl in January 2001, Armada began as a competitive intelligence firm, grounded in the discipline of gathering, analyzing and disseminating intelligence. Today, Armada executives function as trusted strategic advisers to business executives, merging fundamental roots in corporate intelligence gathering, economic forecasting and strategy development. Armada focuses on the market forces bearing down on organizations. More information: www.armada-intel.com

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www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 57


BENCHMARKING

Plastics Processors Continue to Boost Compensation for Workers by Ashley (Turrell) Burleson, membership and analytics manager, MAPP

W

hen comparing wage data from 2017 to 2018, more than 75% of jobs in the US plastics industry experienced wage increases above the current inflation rate of 2.1%. Across the board, plastics manufacturing positions experienced an average of nearly 5% increases in compensation, according to the most recent Wage and Salary Report published by the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP).

Of the nearly 60 job titles analyzed in this year’s report, 50% of the positions revealed a greater than 5% growth in compensation. At the time of this article, the current unemployment rate nationally stands at 3.7%, which means that manufacturers are fighting to hire, train, retain and motivate talented employees. As a result, many roles are seeing substantial increases in wages. Of the positions seeing significant gains, roles such as automation technician, process engineer, project engineer, machine operator and operations/manufacturing manager are included. This likely is a reflection of the current labor market. Plastics companies are looking to find workers on the floor to keep operations going, as well as talent to help create process and operational improvements to reduce the amount of direct labor involved and increase efficiency. $819,312 – that is amount that represents total median annual compensation for a combined staff-level team of the nine most common positions occupied in companies: general manager, engineering manager, human resource manager, information systems manager, maintenance manager, plant manager, purchasing manager, quality manager and sales manager. Compensation for these nine job functions has increased 7% since last year, and nearly 34% (or $206,044) since 2009. However, employers are not only concerned with rising compensation rates. To help recruit and retain employees,

58 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

Percentage of Companies Reporting

Now in its 16th year, MAPP’s annual Wage and Salary Report analyzes data collected from plastics executives and human resources personnel on reported wages for nearly 60 different job classifications within plastics manufacturing organizations. The 2018 report includes data from more than 200 US plastics manufacturing companies across 32 states, representing just shy of 43,000 full-time and part-time employees.

Annual Turnover Rate

companies are offering more benefits than they have historically and, as a result, employment costs overall are increasing. According to the data, when compared to just five years ago, there has been growth in the percentage of plastics processors


offering health insurance (3% increase); vision (20% increase); dental (12% increase); and employee assistance programs (7% increase), to name a few. Even more, companies are offering additional merit-based annual pay increases to their teams. This means that employers are investing more into salary and benefits packages than they ever have in the past. Trends for wages and employment cost rates likely will continue to rise for many manufacturers as they head into 2019 and beyond. In 2018, 18 states increased the mandatory minimum wage. In 2019, at least 16 states’ mandatory minimum wage rates will increase again. This will particularly impact manufacturers on the East Coast and, potentially, a host of manufacturingdense states in the Midwest, according to information from the Department of Labor. As plastics companies across the country head into 2019 and continue the process of evaluating their compensation packages – both salary and benefits – leadership should be prepared to update their current offerings to match both mandatory changes in compensation and changing expectations from employees. With more than 90% of plastics companies looking to hire over the

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Trends for wages and employment cost rates likely will continue to rise for many manufacturers as they head into 2019 and beyond. next 12 months (more than 5,400 positions need to be filled within responding companies alone), employers need to structure their salary and benefits offerings to appeal to talented candidates. It is not only finding, but retaining, employees that remains a top concern – as companies are reporting an average annual turnover rate of 21%, up from 19% one year ago. By staying informed on the most current standards and trends, manufacturers can better create compensation offerings that attract and retain their workforce. n More information on MAPP’s Wage and Salary Report or to purchase this year’s report: www.mappinc.com

Your business requires bold new thinking to stay on top—and ours does too. That’s why the experts of M. Holland are committed to creating newer, better ways to partner with our suppliers and clients. We’re elevating every part of our experience, from our expanding portfolio of materials to new technology for keeping in touch. The more we innovate, the better we can help you succeed. Because to us, this work is more than business. It’s personal. Learn more about our latest innovations at mholland.com.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 59


OUTLOOK

Year-End Tax Planning Opportunities by Michael J. Devereux II, CPA, CMP, Mueller Prost

T

he holidays are here. For many, this means spending time with family and friends to recall good times throughout 2018 and to celebrate the upcoming new year. It also means that tax filing season is right around the corner. As such, December is a time for year-end tax planning to ensure Uncle Sam only assesses the appropriate amount of tax.

Tax planning can mean several things. Sometimes, plastics processors can recognize permanent tax savings by utilizing tax incentives, such as the R&D tax credit, the IC-DISC or the work opportunity tax credit. Other times, tax planning is all about accelerating tax deductions and deferring the recognition of revenue. For plastics processors, it’s typically a combination of both. Moreover, tax planning is not done in a vacuum. Taxpayers must look at the current tax year, as well as future tax years, as some of the decisions a processor considers involve whether to accelerate or defer income from 2018 to 2019, or vice versa. So, when processors are reviewing tax-planning options, they should analyze two-year projections to ensure they understand what is being gained or missed. Further, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) will have a significant impact on plastics processors, many of which will see lower tax burdens in 2018 and beyond. The following is meant to provide plastics processors with some ideas and tips as they embark on year-end tax planning.

Lower rates

Tax rates were slashed across the board, with the corporate tax rate moving from graduated rates topping out at 35% to a flat 21% corporate tax rate. The corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) also was eliminated, thereby removing some of the impediments for processors using various tax credits.

60 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

Because of the reduction in the corporate tax rate, many processors organized as flow-through companies (S corporations, partnerships and LLCs) have already evaluated whether it makes sense to convert to a C corporation. However, flow-through businesses also saw their tax rates drop through a combination of lower tax rates at the individual level and a new flow-through deduction equal to 20% of qualified business income for eligible taxpayers. As a result, many flow-through companies determined that they are better off staying a flow-through entity. However, this analysis should be based upon each taxpayer’s facts and circumstances. While most will continue to operate as flow-through businesses, some will find that a C corporation structure may meet their needs. It should be noted that not all companies will qualify for the new flow-through deduction. It begins to phase out for some servicebased businesses once the owner’s income exceeds $315,000, but most plastics manufacturers will receive the benefit of the flow-through deduction.

Immediate expensing

The TCJA improved two popular deductions that allow for accelerated depreciation – §179 and bonus depreciation. The


§179 deduction limit was increased to $1,000,000 and indexed for inflation. In addition, additional assets were added to the definition of §179 property, including HVAC and security systems. Further, more processors will qualify for §179, as the TCJA increased the phase-out threshold to begin at $2,500,000 of eligible assets placed in service. The TJCA also increased the bonus depreciation percentage to 100%, retroactively, for property placed in service after September 27, 2017, through December 31, 2022. Beginning in 2023, the bonus depreciation percentage is phased down by 20% each year, with the accelerated “bonus” depreciation phased out by 2027. These changes will, inevitably, make cost segregations more valuable. A cost segregation allows taxpayers to analyze the plant and equipment to segregate the cost of real property – which is generally depreciable over a 39-year life – from personal property – which is likely to have shorter depreciable life and qualify for one of the immediate expensing provisions. Taxpayers can “catch up” missed depreciation.

R&D tax credit

The R&D tax credit is the tax incentive likely to have the biggest

Table 1. The R&D Tax Credit can reduce a plastics processor’s tax liability.

impact in reducing a plastics processor’s tax liability (see Table 1). While IRC §41 (the code section governing the R&D tax credit) was not changed, the R&D tax credit’s value increased by 21.5% when the TCJA reduced the top corporate tax rate. For processors making the proper §280C election on an originally filed return (including extensions), the value of the credit was increased significantly. The §280C election percentage is equal to 100% minus the top corporate tax rate. When tax reform lowered the top corporate tax rate from 35% to page 63 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 61


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OUTLOOK t page 61

21%, the applicable percentage found in §280C went from 65% to 79%. As a result, processors’ credits will be greater with the same level of research expenditures.

Methods of accounting

The TCJA expanded upon the accounting methods available to small and medium-size taxpayers. Plastics processors with average annual gross receipts of less than $25 million over the prior three years may adopt a number of accounting methods that were not previously available to them. Those with less than $25 million of average gross receipts from the prior three years may change to the cash method of accounting, be exempt from the requirement to account for inventories, and exempt them from the UNICAP rules for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. Each requires a separate accounting method change and some planning to ensure the change in method of accounting is done properly.

Conclusion

While the aforementioned ideas are likely to be the most impactful for plastics manufacturers, processors should evaluate

Tax planning is not done in a vacuum. Taxpayers must look at the current tax year, as well as future tax years, as some of the decisions a processor considers involve whether to accelerate or defer income from 2018 to 2019, or vice versa. what incentives, methods and structure is best for their situations, given their goals and fact patterns. n Michael Devereux II, CPA, CMP is a partner and director of manufacturing, distribution and plastics industry services at Mueller Prost CPAs + Business Advisors. To find out if you qualify for the R&D credit or any other available incentives, contact Devereux at mdevereux@muellerprost.com.

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www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 63


BOOKLIST

Productivity and Prioritization by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Busines

O

n my bulletin board at work, I have a small business card-sized reminder. It reads, “There’s no point in doing well that which you should not be doing at all.”

That card was given to me – and every other attendee – in 2012 at a MAPP Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference by speaker and author Tom Connellan. For six years, it’s served as a reminder that working hard does no good if I’m not working on the right things. It’s a reminder to prioritize – to strategize – to understand what truly makes a difference and what does not. It’s easy to say, “yes.” It’s easy to take on the projects that you know you can do better or faster than the team you should be delegating them to. It’s easy to follow a grand idea. But, those things are rarely productive, and they often distract from the tasks that need to be done for your business – or personal life – to succeed.

It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work

Author: Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hannson Released: Oct. 2, 2018 In this timely manifesto, the authors of the New York Times bestseller Rework broadly reject the prevailing notion that long hours, aggressive hustle and “whatever it takes” are required to run a successful business today. In Rework, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson introduced a new path to working effectively. Now, they build on their message with a bold, iconoclastic strategy for creating the ideal company culture – what they call “the calm company.” Their approach directly attacks the chaos, anxiety and stress that plague millions of workplaces and hamper billions of workers every day. Long hours, an excessive workload and a lack of sleep have become a badge of honor for modern professionals. But it should be a mark of stupidity, the authors argue. The answer to better productivity isn’t more hours – it’s less waste and fewer things that induce distraction and persistent stress. Destined to become the management guide for the next generation, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work is a practical and inspiring distillation of their insights and experiences. It isn’t a book telling you what to do. It’s a book showing you what they’ve done – and how any manager or executive, no matter the industry or size of the company, can do it, too.

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers Author: Timothy Ferriss Released: Dec. 6, 2016

From Tim Ferriss: For the last two years, I’ve interviewed more

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than 200 world-class performers for my podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. The guests range from super celebs (Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc.) and athletes (icons of powerlifting, gymnastics, surfing, etc.) to legendary Special Operations commanders and black-market biochemists. What makes the show different is a relentless focus on actionable details. This is reflected in the questions. For example: What do these people do in the first 60 minutes of each morning? What do their workout routines look like, and why? What books have they gifted most to other people? What are the biggest wastes of time for novices in their field? What supplements do they take on a daily basis? Everything within these pages has been vetted, explored and applied to my own life in some fashion. I’ve used dozens of the tactics and philosophies in high-stakes negotiations, high-risk environments or large business dealings. I created this book, my ultimate notebook of high-leverage tools, for myself. It’s changed my life, and I hope the same for you.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less Author: Greg McKeown Released: April 15, 2014

Have you ever felt the urge to declutter your work life? Do you often find yourself stretched too thin? Do you simultaneously feel overworked and underutilized? Are you frequently busy but not productive? Do you feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas? If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist. It isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about


getting only the right things done. It is not a time management strategy or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter. By forcing us to apply more selective criteria for what is essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend precious time and energy – instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us.

Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity Author: Charles Duhigg Released: March 8, 2016

At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key productivity concepts – from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making – that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology and behavioral economics – as well as the experiences of CEOs,

educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots and Broadway songwriters – this painstakingly researched book explains that the most productive people, companies and organizations don’t merely act differently. They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways. They know that productivity relies on making certain choices. The way we frame our daily decisions; the big ambitions we embrace and the easy goals we ignore; the cultures we establish as leaders to drive innovation; the way we interact with data: These are the things that separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive. In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg explained why we do what we do. In Smarter Faster Better, he applies the same relentless curiosity, deep reporting and rich storytelling to explain how we can improve at the things we do. It’s a groundbreaking exploration of the science of productivity, one that can help anyone learn to succeed with less stress and struggle, and to get more done without sacrificing what we care about most – to become smarter, faster and better at everything we do. n

A

IS FOR

The first - and clear - choice in resin distribution

“At Amco Polymers, our customer service team has made it a priority to deliver personalized service to our customers to ensure seamless delivery of our services and products. The close partnership between our team and our very talented sales force ensures that our accounts have the best possible customer experience in the industry. Our company culture is focused on delivering an effortless customer experience and I am proud to lead a team whose main focus is timely delivery of customer requests, efficiency and excellence.” Joana G. , Customer Service Manager

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 65


SUPPLIER DIRECTORY Additive Manufacturing/ Prototypes ProtoCAM www.protocam.com Page 57

Financial Services Federated Insurance www.federatedinsurance.com Page 48

A-1 Tool Corporation www.a1toolcorp.com Page 55

Amco Polymers www.amcopolymers.com Pages 65

B A Die Mold www.badiemold.com Page 54

Chase Plastics www.chaseplastics.com Page 13

Carson Tool & Mold www.carsonmold.com Page 55

M. Holland www.mholland.com Page 59

Concept Molds www.conceptmolds.com Page 55

PolySource www.polysource.net Page 45

Training

Energy Strategy

MBS Advisors www.mbsadvisors.com Page 41

Constellation www.constellation.com Page 43

Mueller Prost www.muellerprost.com Page 38

Equipment/ Auxiliary Suppliers

Stout www.stout.com Page 11

Conair www.conairgroup.com Back cover

Foaming Agents

Ivanhoe Tool & Die Company, Inc. www.ivanhoetool.com Page 54

iD Additives www.idadditives.com Page 37

Mold Craft www.mold-craft.com Page 55

Hot Runners

Operations Consulting

INCOE Corporation www.incoe.com Page 7

Harbour Results, Inc. www.harbourresults.com Page 49

Synventive Molding Solutions www.synventive.com Page 38

Process Monitoring

Frigel www.frigel.com Page 10 Novatec www.novatec.com Pages 16, 17, 34, 35 Progressive Components www.procomps.com/maintain Page 39 Wittmann Battenfeld www.wittmann-group.com Page 44

Legal Counsel

IQMS www.iqms.com Page 3

Yushin America, Inc. www.yushinamerica.com Page 63

Ice Miller LLP www.icemiller.com Page 14

RJG, Inc. www.rjginc.com/training/overview Page 47

Events/Organizations

Marketing Services

Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) www.mappinc.com Page 61

VIVE – Marketing for Manufacturers www.vive4mfg.com/answers Page 31

SIGMASOFT Virtual Molding www.virtualmolding.us Page 20

PLASTEC West www.plastecwest.com/join Page 62

MRO Supplies Grainger www.grainger.com Inside back cover

Syscon International www.syscon-intl.com Page 46

Purging Compounds ASACLEAN/Sun Plastech Inc. www.asaclean.com Inside front cover

Molds/Tooling 8

66 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 4

Paulson Training Programs, Inc. www.paulsonplasticsacademy. com/register Page 15

Resins

A guide to this issue’s Plastics Business advertisers.


What people

are saying... MAPP’s MRO Program with Grainger ensures we receive the best pricing on all of our supplies. No need to waste extra time and extra effort – just order and save. Grainger gets it done. It’s that simple.” – Jim Krause, Microplastics, Inc.

Grainger offers MAPP members significant discounts off 13 categories, including: • • • •

Motors Safety (people) Electrical Safety footwear

• Power transmission • Safety (facility) • Hand tools

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• Lubrication • Welding • Machining

Members also receive a discount off all other Grainger catalog and online products, as well as FREE shipping (restrictions apply).

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Visit www.mappinc.com Grainger hotline: (888) 326-8605 Other freight charges will be incurred for such services as expedited delivery, air freight, freight collect, sourced orders, export orders, hazardous materials, buyer’s carrier, shipments outside the contiguous U.S. or other special handling by the carrier.


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New Carousel Plus™ Dryer Conair’s new Carousel Plus™ small- and mid-sized dryers are 50% more energy efficient, require no water for cooling, and have a smaller footprint. Conair knows drying. We know that you want a robust dryer with features like trending screens, conveying control, temperature setback, dewpoint monitoring and control, and of course, the Conair Drying Monitor™. Get all this and more from Conair, in stand-alone portable dryers or in our mobile drying/ conveying configuration. conairgroup.com/waterlessdryer

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Plastics Business - Issue 4 2018  

Plastics Business - Issue 4 2018