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Plastics Business 2019 Issue 4

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Acquisitions, Leadership Changes Influenced by Cultural Fit Job Descriptions Communicate Expectations Wage Increase Growth Rate Slows

Buyers Guide Issue

Low-Cost Improvement Ideas

Official Publication of Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors


2019 Issue 4






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productivity Simple and Straight Forward: Four Low-Cost Improvement Ideas by Ashley Turrell, membership & analytics director, MAPP


2019 Plastics Business Buyers Guide


perspectives Plastics Positively Impacts the World Daily by Alex Hoffer, vice president of sales and operations, Hoffer Plastics Corporation

solutions PCI Focuses on Culture through Ownership, Leadership Transitions by Nancy Cates, contributing writer, Plastics Business view from 30 For the Sake of Clarity: Crescent Industries Updates Job Descriptions by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Business

review 2019 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference benchmarking Rising Compensation, Increased Turnover Rates and Slow Hiring for Plastics Companies by Ashley Turrell, membership & analytics director, MAPP

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44 48 54 56

strategies Recent Acquisition Relied on Relationships, Fit by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business economic corner Four Issues Likely to Define 2020 by Chris Kuehl, managing director, Armada Corporate Intelligence booklist Let’s Win the Game by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business management The Five Myths of Business Strategy by Rich Horwath, CEO, Strategic Thinking Institute



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

news.......................................... 52

association................................. 16

supplier directory...................... 58

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 Tim Capps, Par 4 Plastics Inc. Treasurer Samir Patel, Midwest Molding Inc. Secretary and Counsel Alan Rothenbuecher, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP

MAPP Board Members Mike Benson, Stout Steve Bieszczat, IQMS Brendan Cahill, PTG Silicones Craig Carrel, Team 1 Plastics, Inc. Jim Eberle, MXL Industries Glen Fish, Revere Plastics Systems LLC Chris Gedwed, Cosmetic Specialties International Jim Kepler, Intertech Plastics Jim Krause, Microplastics, Inc. Tom Nagler, Natech Plastics, Inc. Derrill Rice, Plastic Components, 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 Nancy Cates Lara Copeland

Art Director Becky Arensdorf Graphic Designer Kelly Adams

Circulation Manager Brenda Schell

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 5


C’mon Everyone ... Let’s Go!


y the time you read this message, we will be closing out 2019 and turning the calendar to yet another year – hello, 2020! As many of you know, it is always my goal to positively impact people and help everyone move the dial forward, which comes in the form of positive change. Addressing nearly 600 people at MAPP’s annual benchmarking conference, I spoke about self-doubt and how, for many of us, self-doubt holds us back from moving forward and becoming better. (Remember, the human brain will do anything and everything to keep you safe, so wandering outside of your comfort zone to improve is not how we are programmed.) My goal in writing this memo to the industry is simple: I want everyone reading to decide that it’s time to make a change and then commit to the change. More specifically, I know for a fact that the majority of this year’s conference attendees left the event with items to implement on their organizational improvement “to do” lists or with scribbles on their conference materials that said, “I’m on going to do this for myself.” Well, this is a reminder that I am holding all of you accountable to take action and do!

“... this is a reminder that I am holding all of you accountable to take action and do!” Everyone talks about resolutions on December 31st, but resolutions at the start of a new year seldom work. It is time to make a true commitment to yourself before this year ends. Please, do this one thing. Identify one specific area of your life you want to improve and write down a clear goal. If you want to become a better leader, than drill down to exactly how you want to accomplish the task. As an example, I want to do a better job at recognizing positive acts of my employees on a daily basis by acknowledging, at a minimum, one individual contributor per day. Next, visually track your progress – green on the days you accomplished this goal, red on the days you didn’t – and try to improve by one more green day each month. There you have it: Do this and you will incrementally become better. Sooner or later, each day of the month will be green, and you will have solidly established a positive improvement to your life.

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The steps are as important as the way in which you frame your desire to improve. 1. Your change goal must be tangible and very clear. Articulate what you want to do, when you want to accomplish the change and how you are going to measure it. 2. It has to be positive. As Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist and author of Be Fearless, stated, “We need to feed ourselves positive self-talk. Instead of telling ourselves ‘Don't eat junk food,’ we should be telling us the behavior we desire, like ‘Eat carrots and peanut butter as a healthy snack.’” 3. Your desire to change and improve must be driven from within and not a response to external factors, such as peers or friends. A desire to change that comes from the soul is so much more attainable. Take the time to self-reflect, look in the mirror, be honest with yourself, ask the question and truthfully respond. You owe it to yourself to set an improvement goal and achieve it.

As I stated during my conference opening, the majority of those who decide they want to be better versions of themselves rarely reach their end destinations because they fail to practice (do) or fail to practice (do) enough. “Doing” is the primary way to circumvent the brain’s failsafe mechanism of keeping you in your comfort zone; the brain deems leaving comfort zones as being unsafe and will do anything it can to ensure you stay where you are. If you are all willing, I want to be your accountability partner. If you dare, please share with me your improvement goal. I will make every effort to ensure that your self-doubt is eradicated and that you continue to take action to become a better you. Let’s go… do it now!

Executive Director, MAPP

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PCI Focuses on Culture through Ownership, Leadership Transitions by Nancy Cates, contributing writer, Plastics Business


hen Derrill Rice was selected as president and chief executive officer at Plastic Components, Inc., he and the leadership team agreed that company culture was a key element in the hiring decision. Rice, who began his career as a front-line supervisor in a textile plant, had led six organizations in five industries in North America, Europe and Asia. “Company culture,” he said, “is a key factor in determining success potential across so many aspects of a business. And, a shared company culture – or the lack thereof – will influence everything from customer satisfaction to employee engagement.” PCI had gone through a recapitalization process with Morgenthaler Private Equity (MPE) Partners in 2017 and, after 28 years in business, a new leader was sought for the Germantown, Wisconsin-based company. Throughout the transition in corporate structure and management, Wendi Jay, PCI’s human resources manager, said that maintaining the culture was viewed as essential. “I have been with PCI for 21 years and have been here to see it grow in every way. Some growth spurts are harder than others, but we have always had a really committed team, and we have protected our culture at all costs. We take each addition to the team very seriously.” “The key for the PCI team, and for me,” Rice explained, “was ensuring that I was the right culture fit. The PCI team decided that the best way to get to know me outside of the interview chair was to join them for a dinner and attend the PCI softball league game … which included an informal interview with Wendi’s two daughters. We had a great evening and a ton of laughter and cheering. I left excited about the potential fit.” Jay explained that PCI uses a personality profile questionnaire when assessing new candidates and works to match people with their strengths. “If we set them up to succeed, we all benefit. Being lean means everyone needs to do their part. You won’t get away with slacking in the corner at PCI, because your peers will hold you accountable.”

PCI develops a profile for every position, Jay explained. “I developed the profile for the CEO – and Derrill hit every single point on the dot.” Rice said he saw value in the transparency and get-it-done attitude of the PCI leadership team. “There is a high level of engagement, commitment and passion for what is done here. There is mutual respect and appreciation. I think our core values can sum up what’s most important: integrity, innovation, teamwork and accountability. And – at the same time – having fun while we get the job done!”

Valuing the culture from sale to new CEO

Jay and three other leadership team members — Gene Mussel, operations manager; Rick Riesterer, business development manager; and Kurt Behrendt, engineering manager — were involved in the sale process, she explained. “We took the opportunity to be part of it very seriously. It was important to us to pick a partner that would recognize the culture we had and how important it was to our success. The entire team unanimously chose MPE because they saw the value in our culture rather than just the value in our bottom line.” From Rice’s perspective, the entire leadership team needed to be involved in continuing and establishing the company’s culture

PCI employees participated in a river cleanup event and had fun with holiday sweaters – all part of developing a fun, cohesive culture. Photos courtesy of Plastic Components, Inc.

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going forward, he said, “but the tone and character of a company starts at the top. I have some options: I can lead with humility, dedication and appreciation – or I can lead by dictating, demanding and controlling. Each will foster a different company culture. I can focus on strategy and trust the team to deal with the daily challenges, or I can micromanage all aspects of the business. Again, each approach will foster a different company culture. It was important for all of us to be team members going forward.” After one week on the job, Rice guided the management team in a day-long, offsite brainstorming session/SWOT analysis. He said the goal was to review and refine PCI’s vision and core values and begin to discuss the future strategy to maintain and create value within a culture that is engaged and inclusive. Despite the uncertainty that can accompany change, employment remained stable, Jay said. “I am proud to say we didn’t lose a single employee due to the transition. We communicated with all employees that the management team was part of the decision process in choosing our new owner and that we would all be staying onboard. We stressed that we looked at it as a new partnership, and we were excited about it. When the first new molding press arrived after the sale, I think there was a collective sigh of relief. That continued investment of capital equipment in PCI provided a great deal of comfort for our employees: They could tangibly see MPE’s commitment to help us grow.” When Rice came onboard, he set a theme of transparency, communication and appreciation, he said. “We began by establishing the basics of employee engagement: town hall meetings, newsletters, service awards and a companywide incentive compensation program based on management- and boardapproved key performance indicators. And I, personally, engage in plant cookouts as head chef across all shifts. We hold lunch-and-learn events, meetings and similar activities. Then we back all that up by delivering on our commitments.

I think our core values can sum up what’s most important: integrity, innovation, teamwork and accountability. And – at the same time – having fun while we get the job done! –Derrill Rice

“We have company, department and individual goals as part of our annual review process,” Rice continued. “Tools like that ensure that the employee and supervisor are in regular communication, which helps retain employees. Along with supervisor training, spot bonuses and financial support for continuing education opportunities, it provides an environment that shows an effort to appreciate people’s work.”

Fine-tuning for greater success

Since the acquisition, Jay said, some things have changed, including higher emphasis on sticking to internal budgets and developing quarterly reports for the board of directors. “We also are much more open about financials,” she said, “and we have included every employee in the incentive compensation plan. We all win – or lose – together, and that strengthens the culture considerably. It is fun to see employees company-wide watching the financial metrics board in the plant and knowing each and every one of them play a part in their own success.” For most employees, Jay explained, the transition was smooth. “In many ways, for the average employee, there wasn’t any turmoil. Everyone page 10 u

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SOLUTIONS t page 9 continued executing in their jobs and didn’t notice much change. The leadership team was afforded more autonomy and learned to support each other – and even have healthy conflict – to discuss and resolve issues.” Rice noted that expectations for the leadership team have increased. In sales, for example, he said the basic expectation had been to “go out and sell. Now the sales and marketing leader has to put together a forecast; explain how he sells, what he’s going to sell and when he is going to sell it; and be held accountable for those forecasts. It was a lot of change for the leadership team, in terms of moving from an individual owner to more institutional ownership. I think everybody on the team accepted it as a learning and growing experience.” Over nearly three decades, PCI has invested in expanding, automating and adding facilities. Process control capabilities have been added, patents for lights-out manufacturing have been awarded and a fully automated facility has been operating in Germantown since 2011. “We definitely need a more skilled workforce than we did 10 years ago,” Jay said. “It’s not as easy to bring someone off the

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street and train them. The relationships we have built with both Ferris State and the University of Wisconsin-Stout have been advantageous in helping us find skilled engineers and interns. Students always are very excited to hear about and potentially get to see our lights-out facility.” The use of PCI’s position profiles ensures that new hires understand and fit the company culture, Jay continued, with personality profile questionnaires intended to highlight each candidate’s strengths to fit position requirements. She said that new employees right out of college come ready to learn and become part of the team. “They want to offer something,” she said, “and it’s important to embrace their ideas, listen and consider their challenges to what might be more traditional approaches. Also, PCI is working on an onboarding video to prepare new hires for their first day on the job. “We also have made considerable investments to continually educate and elevate our technical staff,” she explained. “Ten years ago, we didn’t have a master molder; today, we have six. We continue to seek out employees who would be good fits for the local apprenticeship program as well. We maintain the thought process that there always is a way to do it better, and the checkbook for technology is open, prompting employees to seek new ways and methods.” PCI’s early 2019 acquisition of Syracuse Plastics of North Carolina (SPNC), in Cary, continued the expansion and accompanying changes. Ensuring a cultural fit was a key aspect of the acquisition, Rice said. “After the deal was closed, we initiated the same ‘communication, transparency and appreciation’ initiatives,” he explained. “But, I was most impressed with the level of engagement and partnership by the leadership teams of both PCI and SPNC across every function. We are truly learning from and helping each other. Transitions never happen overnight, but we are working down the path of having not a ‘north’ and ‘south’ company culture, but one PCI company culture.” Jay continued, “We told the team at SPNC from day one: We don’t have all the answers. In many cases, they may have a better process or philosophy. I think that made them more open to our synergies and more comfortable that we wouldn’t dictate the ‘PCI way.’ The key is having teams that are willing to learn and grow. The PCI team has grown immensely under Derrill’s leadership because we were willing to learn, change and grow.” Rice concluded, “Corporate culture itself can be one that enables, supports and encourages diversity and inclusion. It encourages people to speak up. It’s not limiting. It does not stifle opinions. It moves a company forward, gets a broad range of ideas to the table and drives innovation.” n

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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.

For the Sake of Clarity: Crescent Industries Updates Job Descriptions by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Business


ritten properly, a job description can be helpful for many practical reasons, including communicating performance requirements and outlining everyday tasks; ensuring new employees are capable of executing the roles for which they are hired; and setting training expectations for employees hoping to advance into new roles within the company. Recently, Crescent Industries, an injection molding company located in New Freedom, Pennsylvania, evaluated and updated its job descriptions, ultimately creating detailed explanations for every role in the company. The level of information contained within each job description is incredible – and both management and team members have had input in the development process.

Job descriptions facilitate evaluations

Acknowledging that job descriptions should be tools for effectively communicating expectations to employees, Crescent implemented them throughout the company in the 1990s. President and CEO at Crescent Eric Paules said they “were originally developed to clarify roles as the company grew.” Early on, the goal was to identify the physical requirements necessary to perform the specific job, but as the company continued to expand, the job descriptions did, too. “Because the job descriptions form the basis for our performance review process,” Paules noted, “they need to be sufficiently detailed so we can evaluate employee performance.” Over time, the job descriptions’ scope has grown to include travel

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requirements, work hazards, key performance indicators and training requirements. Each year, every employee at Crescent participates in a performance review. This is not only a time to reflect on how well each person is meeting expectations, but it is also a time for the company to reflect on its growth and the extent of the job descriptions. During this assessment, “we use the job description as a point of conversation,” Vice President of Marketing Kevin Allison noted. “We’re evaluating employee performance against the description of roles and responsibilities, but also at this point we are verifying the relevancy of it.” Management wants input from its team members as to whether changes or additions need to be incorporated to any role’s description, as well as buy-in from employees once the changes are made. “Through an annual performance review, we want to look at each job description individually and make sure it is still relevant to the specified position,” Allison said. Though changes

are not made on every job description every year, they are at least looked at annually. This year, the Crescent team is digging deeper and conducting a major evaluation to update each role at the company. This process has taken up a large portion of the year already, and it will take the rest of this year to thoroughly evaluate and modify each job’s description. “We aren’t spending every minute of every day on this project, but there are several people involved in the process of going through each role,” Allison commented. Prior to the face-to-face performance evaluation, each employee is asked to fill out a portion of their individual reviews and to reflect and assess their roles and responsibilities against the job description. Supervisors and managers are asked to complete the same task. “That’s how it should be,” Allison exclaimed. “We don’t want anyone to come into the review process unprepared.” Employees also are asked for their input regarding recommendations for their job descriptions. “As supervisors, we don’t want to make irrelevant suggestions, so their feedback is imperative,” Allison continued.

Training requirements for advancement

The major overhaul of the descriptions currently underway at Crescent has led the company to include a detailed account of the required training for each role. “When you start a new position, you want to understand the basics of what you need to be trained on in the first year, what you can expect at the next level of training, and so on,” Allison relayed. “We want each employee to know what they need to do to move on to the next role, so we have added tiers to our training portion of the job descriptions.” In reviewing each position, management considered what is required for a person to be able to adequately meet every part of the description. Breaking the essential job functions into tiers – basic, intermediate and advanced – provides clarity for the training requirements as well as the next steps for potential advancements. “The basic level of training is just making sure the employee can perform their job each day,” Allison noted. “If using PowerPoint is part of their day-to-day job, we need to make sure they are properly trained in that arena so they can carry out the most basic tasks their job requires.” page 14 u

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The intermediate level provides employees an opportunity to take their training to the next level and to elevate their performance. The third tier, or the advanced tier, is for the employees who are ready to move to the next level. Allison said that this also provides some incentive for people to be able to see, even in that same job role, that there are opportunities to increase their net worth. Machine-Side Cooling & Temperature Control Patented Adiabatic Cooling Systems

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“If somebody knows they can do more, that they are better trained on more items, they also know that they are more valuable to their employer,” he added. “It’s a good way to set expectations for each position; everyone should have a line of sight to see what they can do to better themselves and, in turn, earn a bit more.”

Setting clear expectations

Pleased with what the company has added this year to the training portion of the job descriptions, Allison noted that one word comes to mind when he think about what Crescent is trying to do, “and that word is clarity.” Hearing author and CEO of Trust Edge Leadership Institute, David Horsager, speak at the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) 2018 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference last fall inspired Allison. In his book The Trust Edge, Horsager describes what he calls the eight pillars of trust, and the first pillar is clarity. Allison suggested that adding the training tiers to the job descriptions makes them even more clear than they were prior to this recent update. “Now employees know not only what their roles and responsibilities are, but beyond that they understand what is expected of them to make sure they are properly trained to perform their job,” he said. Crescent management plans to continue thoroughly reviewing and amending the job descriptions every few years, but they are also cognizant of the fact that the job descriptions are not untouchable in the interim.

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“When we find something that needs to be changed or when we find a better way of doing things, we evaluate the situation and make the necessary adjustments,” Allison said. “Rather than saying we can’t implement a change for another three years because that’s when we next plan to do a thorough evaluation and update the job descriptions, we treat them as living documents.” He continued, saying this attitude matches the company’s philosophy to always do what makes sense for the business. Furthermore, Allison hopes that the employees feel valued and know that the company wants them to become better and more educated. “To me, that’s a wonderful thing!” n

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2019 Wage and Salary Report Now Available For the last 17 years, MAPP has published its Wage and Salary Report. The 2019 Wage and Salary Report includes comprehensive wage and salary data from more than 200 plastics processors across the US. Data include compensation information on nearly 60 job titles common in the plastics industry, with breakdowns based on annual sales revenue and geographic locations as well as operational trends, such as paid time off and benefits. This report allows plastics leaders to: • Save money and time by getting industry data all in one place • Make better salary and compensation decisions • Pay people the right way and know the latest best practices in compensation packages As the industry leader in providing meaningful and relevant industry data, MAPP continues to produce and publish benchmarking reports for industry executives. All benchmarking opportunities are driven by MAPP member organizations, and new benchmarking studies are added throughout the year. Benchmarking reports are available for purchase on the MAPP website at www.mappinc.com/resources.

2019 Award Winners in Innovation and Educational Outreach At the 2019 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference, MAPP recognized plastics companies that were excelling in two areas: innovation and educational outreach. MAPP established its Best Practices Award Series in 2015 – and each year submissions, involvement and impact see significant increases from MAPP member organizations. Not only do these awards recognize member organizations going above and beyond, they also give plastics companies the opportunity to learn and get inspiration from others in the industry. Submissions for the awards are collected in the 2019 Best Practices Book (see more information at www.mappinc.com/ resources/bestpracticesawards).

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• 2019 Innovation Award: Workstation Layout ƒƒ Winners in the Under $15M in Sales Category • Blue Ridge Molding • Wadal Plastics • Bruin Manufacturing ƒƒ Winners in the Above $15M in Sales Category • Intertech Medical • Plastic Components, Inc. (PCI) • Falcon Plastics, Lexington • 2019 Educational Outreach Award • Viking Plastics • Mack Molding • Plastic Molding Technology MAPP Welcomes New Members MAPP is proud to welcome the following plastics organizations into the MAPP network: • 3M Company, Valley, Nebraska • 4Front Manufacturing, Phoenix, Arizona • AY McDonald Industries, Cuba City, Wisconsin • Beaumont Advanced Processing, Erie, Pennsylvania • Commercial Vehicle Group, New Albany, Ohio • D.A. Inc., Charlestown, Indiana • GE Appliances, Louisville, Kentucky • Grand Traverse Plastics Corp., Williamsburg, Michigan • Keter Plastics, Anderson, Indiana • Permian Plastics, O’Fallon, Missouri • Quality Mold Shop, McMinnville, Tennessee • RSL, Inc., Warren, Ohio

MAPP Announces 2025 Vision At the 2019 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference, the MAPP Board revealed its 2025 Vision for MAPP. The Vision: “MAPP’s retention and expansion of best-inclass processors will be accomplished by each member’s full ownership of its participation and involvement that will provide increasingly enhanced value for active contributors.” This new vision elaborates and expands on a long-running theme in the organization: MAPP members sharing best practices, helping other members and working to make the industry better overall by working together. n

Sponsor Article: How Second Stage Speed Influences Your Process By Shane Vandekerkhof, Global Training & Education Integrator at RJG Hold speed or hold velocity? How many machines today have it, and what does it do to your process? The machine controller input of hold velocity started to become more prevalent with the onset of electrically driven molding machines. The setting tells the machine how fast to move the screw during second stage, but second stage is a pressure limited portion of our process. You can’t have velocity control on a pressure limited portion of a process. So, how effective is the speed setting then? The molding machine will use the speed that is input into the machine controller only until the set second stage pressure has been reached. Once the second stage pressure is reached, the screw slows down and may even eventually stop. This velocity input is a matter of response time. The setting is telling the machine controller how fast to get to the second stage pressure setting. So, does this setting impact my process? The answer to that question is simple: Yes. Figures 1 and 2 represent: first, the injection pressure profile and secondly, the part weight. These are correlated to seven different second-stage velocities starting at 5ccm/s up to 35ccm/s, moving in 5ccm/s increments. In Figure 1, the slowest speed is represented in orange. It shows a large droop in the injection pressure profile after transfer has been reached. This occurs because the cavity is short at transfer, and it takes a period of time before the cavity completely fills and starts to pressurize. The resistance in the cavity is now pushing back on the screw, and the second stage pressure setting is reached and stabilized. As the second stage velocity is increased, the droop gets smaller, and the time it takes to reach the second stage pressure setpoint gets shorter. In Figure 2, part weight is plotted against the second stage speed setting. The part weight continues to rise until 30ccm/s is reached,

Figure 1 (top): Second stage speed vs. machine response Figure 2 (bottom): Second stage speed vs. part weight and any additional second stage speed has no influence on the part weight. This is the sweet spot for the setting – at a point where the final part weight is no longer influenced by the second stage speed. This is one of the most influential periods of your process for setting dimensions on the part. The slower the speed and response, the slower you are packing out the parts and allowing the material to cool and solidify. At the end of the day, we are trying to produce the most repeatable parts in the fastest, most repeatable time, and the second stage speed setting is an often-overlooked influence on the process. Knowing how your machines respond to this input is one more step toward being better than the next molder.

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Simple and Straight Forward: Four Low-Cost Improvement Ideas by Ashley Turrell, membership & analytics director, MAPP


ftentimes, when organizations think about major improvement ideas, these ideas come with a major price tag. And while the opportunities for improvements in automation and Industry 4.0 continue to grow, it is important that organizations also remember the basics. Below are four examples of simple improvements implemented by plastics companies that came without the need for major capital investment, but made a big impact on their processes, their teams, their products and their organizations. From safety and training to workstations and lean, these are no-fluff, straightforward, actionable ideas that can be adapted and formulated to work for organizations of all sizes and industries.

Cosmetic Specialties International (CSI) – CNC Operator Workstation

“We created a workstation for our CNC operators in order to reduce time searching for mill tooling and to put all critical functions together in an organized manner. We now can track the work being done from start to finish,” shared Cosmetic Specialties International’s (CSI) executive vice president and COO Chris Gedwed. The organization, which operates out of Oxnard, California, specializes in cosmetic packaging for the beauty and skin care industries. “CNC operators were wasting time constantly searching for their tool kits, the correct fixtures and tools for a job,” noted Gedwed. To increase efficiency and reduce wasted motion and time, CSI dedicated time to create a workstation that was practical and functional. The workstation was created from a repurposed tool cart and is on wheels, so the workstation itself is mobile. The mobile CNC workstation includes a bench vise, hand tapper and electronic buffer. Additionally, the top of the cart has room for operators to actually work on items, along with two levels of storage. Along with the mobile workstation, CSI created a standardized tool box so tools, which are arranged by type, are easy to find. All measuring instruments have a unique slot for easy access – this also makes it easy to notice if one tool is missing. The toolbox has custom aluminum cutting tool holders for the CNC mill. The top of the toolbox acts as the workstation, while each drawer has a designated function: top drawer for tools needed to set ups on the mill and the second drawer for holding measuring instructions, such as caliper and micrometers, etc.

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We created a workstation for our CNC operators in order to reduce time searching for mill tooling and to put all critical functions together in an organized manner. We now can track the work being done from start to finish. – Chris Gedwed, executive vice president and COO, CSI Overall, CSI notes that this improvement helped the company reduce wasted time and increase the productivity of its tool room.

Wepco Plastics – Inventory Kanban Cards

When Wepco Plastics began evaluating opportunities for lean improvements, the company looked for the everyday things that caused headaches. One of the improvements, implemented by Kyle Tew, Wepco’s value stream manager, came in the form of Inventory Kanban Cards. Wepco Plastics, which operates out

of Middlefield, Connecticut, specializes in production-quality prototype tooling. “We saw the need for standardized inventory Kanban cards because we were running out of supplies. When we would reorder, we would use different suppliers with varying lead times and prices for similar items. For example, we would order basic packaging tape from three different companies. The quality of the items also would vary,” stated Tew. The company decided to inventory every common consumable (i.e. items the company uses almost daily) in the facility and select preferred vendors. From there, a master list of information was created and then transferred to the Kanban cards. This includes the supplier, when supplies need to be replenished, where it is located in the facility, lead time and how much to order to replenish the inventory. The Kanban cards themselves are attached to the point of use for storage for that particular item via Velcro stickers. Then, when an employee retrieves an item that is running low, the employee is signaled that it is time to reorder. The employee removes the card and places it in the Kanban collection holder. The purchaser then notices the card and places an “Item on Order” card where the original Kanban card was removed. When the item comes in, the Kanban cards are placed back in their original space. At any point in time when an item supply is low, any employee, regardless of department or job function, can take the Kanban card and place it in holder. This system has removed any confusion or frustration associated with supply inventory for the most commonly used items for the team.

We saw the need for standardized inventory Kanban cards because we were running out of supplies. When we would reorder, we would use different suppliers with varying lead times and prices for similar items. – Kyle Tew, value stream manager, Wepco page 20 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 19


Revere Plastics Systems, LLC – Operator in Training

Everyone knows that right now training and retention, especially early on for a new hire, are key concerns for manufacturers. To help bring awareness to new hire on-boarding and training, Revere Plastics Systems in Clyde, Ohio, implemented a simple yet effective tool: a training cone. The cone itself is placed anywhere that a new hire is being trained. The cone, which has a sign reading “Training in Progress,” serves multiple purposes.

We use this to indicate where a new hire is being placed; to help to clearly explain what may otherwise look to a passerby as an ‘extra employee’ or someone just standing around, when in fact they are being trained. – Jeanne Vanyo, senior human resources manager, Revere Plastics Systems, LLC

“We use this to indicate where a new hire is being placed; to help to clearly explain what may otherwise look to a passerby as an ‘extra employee’ or someone just standing around, when in fact they are being trained; to alert quality auditors that extra attention and inspection are needed here; and to promote and invite other employees and management to introduce themselves and offer encouragement and support, or simply welcome the new employee to the company,” shared Jeanne Vanyo, senior human resources manager.

before sign off; Orange – high risk, graduated from yellow based on evaluation, minimum of 48 hours of training before sign off; and Blue – special cause, such as quality issue or new job launch. New hires are initially placed on an entry level “green job,” and work with the trainer to be promoted to a new level.

Additionally, to bring new employees on board, the new hire is paired with a certified trainer. Each job book has a color-coded sticker on the cover and spine to indicate the skill level needed to perform that job: Green – low risk, minimum of eight hours of training before sign off; Yellow – medium risk, graduated from green based on evaluation, minimum of 24 hours of training

Dymotek – Emergency Flip Books

This system has helped the organization on-board employees, ensure they are being trained on the right jobs and at the right skill level, and make them feel welcomed as they begin their journey with the company.

Regardless of where you are located, disasters and emergencies can happen. Dymotek, an injection-molder out of Ellington, Connecticut, knows this and takes it to heart. At each of its two locations, there is an Emergency Flip Chart for employees and

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supervisors to reference during an emergency situation. The flip chart includes plans for potential emergencies, such as floods, workplace violence, gas leaks, severe weather, injury, power outages, etc. The flip chart is color coded and has tabs for each situation. With each tab are instructions of what do in that type of situation. There are two flip charts in each facility, one on the production floor and one in the main office. page 22 u

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This tool takes the guesswork out of what to do in an emergency. This simple tool has helped to make Dymotek safer in case of an emergency situation. – Andrea DeForge, executive assistant, Dymotek

When this was enacted in real time, it was found that one person wasn’t aware of what was happening because the supervisor simply gathered everyone in the office area to tell them. The document then was updated to explain exactly what should be done so that everyone in the building is notified.

Supervisors, receptionists and senior team members are trained on these processes – not just by reviewing the manual, but by simulating actual emergencies.

The Manufacturers Association of Plastics Processors (MAPP) annually creates books of best practices based on the policies and procedures implemented by its members. It is the hope of the association that plastics processors across the country can evaluate these ideas and put them into motion in their own facilities.

“This is a living and breathing document,” explains Andrea DeForge, executive assistant at Dymotek. “We update it regularly with lessons learned.” One lesson learned is that for a recent emergency situation (tornado warning), the instructions were simply to “notify everyone in the building” – but didn’t say how.

The flip chart is updated frequently, and supervisors review it once a month to see any changes or updates that have been made. “This tool takes the guesswork out of what to do in an emergency,” says DeForge. This simple tool has helped to make Dymotek safer in case of an emergency situation. n

More information: www.mappinc.com


COMPLY WITH CUSTOMER DEADLINES. At PolySource, we work diligently to meet your resin supply demands and quickly get your project to completion – meeting customer expectations. We are problem solvers.

22 | plastics business • 2019 Issue 4

no need for blind dating. easily identify your match Changeovers for new date stamps each year can be a cumbersome endeavor. Progressive carries the largest selection of date marking parts in the world and makes it easy to find your match: • Our online template provides quick identification of the original supplier and cross-references part numbers • Customer Service can review last year’s orders for determining this year’s needs • Each plug is etched for easy reordering next year Don’t search alone. The industry’s leader is ready for your call.



Annual Benchmarking Conference Brings the Industry to Indianapolis The plastics industry converged in Indianapolis in October for the Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference. More than 600 attendees gathered for an intense two days of education, inspiration and sharing with members of the plastics molding industry. In addition to keynote presentations from respected thought leaders, interactions with fellow attendees added incredible value. Breakout sessions gave dozens of molding industry peers the chance to describe real-life organizational success stories that can be implemented in other businesses – proving yet again the power of attendee engagement.

Troy Nix MAPP executive director

Photos courtesy of Cliff Ritchey Photography

24 | plastics business • 2019 Issue 4

Nix shared a compelling message about the power of selfdoubt. Nix spoke about the determination and fortitude of David Goggins, the only member of the US armed forces to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger and Air Force Tactical Air Controller. Goggins credited his mental toughness to a willingness to get better by doing the things he does not like – and doing them often. Nix reminded attendees that self-doubt often creeps in – but a positive mental attitude and a willingness to work can overcome it.

Chris McChesney Franklin Covey The activities required to execute your strategy are never at the top of the To Do list.” Focusing on the principles of 4DX and framing the work ahead as a battle to be won, McChesney spoke about the execution challenges faced by senior leaders. Too many times, leaders are unable to separate the day job (the urgent tasks that are always front and center) from the goals that move the organization forward (the important work that often is neglected). McChesney urged attendees to focus on two to three wildly important goals, because there will always be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute. He recommended acting on lead measures – which are influenceable – and keeping a visible scoreboard, because people play differently when they are keeping score. Finally, he also stressed the importance of a cadence of accountability: What are the one or two things that can be done this week to win the war?

Kina Hart Speaker Kina Hart silenced the room with a plea to emphasize workplace safety processes. At age 20, Hart eagerly accepted a summer job in a salmon processing facility in Alaska, hoping to fund her college education. Instead, on the first day of her new job – within the first hour of her new job – Hart was the victim of an accident that resulted in the loss of her left arm. Hart spoke candidly about the lasting impact of the accident on her family and her life. She stressed the individual responsibility each of the attendees must take to ensure the workplace environment is safe, the people within it are trained and that everyone understands the dangers that come with the job. Hart reminded the audience that their personal safety is their responsibility, and that relying on others to ensure a safe work environment could cost them for the rest of their lives.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 25

REVIEW t page 25

Tim Riesterer Author and speaker Researcher, author and speaker Tim Riesterer provided strategies for winning and keeping customers, telling attendees that the key to winning new customers lies in getting them to understand that they lose by staying with their current provider.

Kirk Weisler Team Dynamics Establish rituals and traditions that help you accomplish your goals.” Culture building beats team building every time. Building a strong workplace culture is critical in today’s competitive employment atmosphere, and Weisler focused his message on simple strategies that have a big effect. His most important advice? Meaningful recognition expressed weekly is essential to the human soul. Creating relationships is an essential part of culture creation, and recognizing the skill and dedication of the employee base is step one. He also suggested a short daily meeting that could include recognition, education and a moment to connect, because what we learn about each other forms the basis of the relationships that allow us to work together and succeed as a team.

Ross Bernstein Sports author Sports author Ross Bernstein was the final speaker on the main stage, closing the event by relating stories from the athletic world to situations within the business world to provide an understanding of how accountability and integrity influence success.

The mind is neutral. It is potential energy, and it will go the way you push it. If you put positive energy in, you will move in a positive direction.” – Troy Nix 26 | plastics business • 2019 Issue 4

Peer-to-Peer Exchanges One of the best networking opportunities at the conference, Peer-to-Peer Exchanges allow attendees to discuss topics that are unique to their job functions with others in those same job functions. Why reinvent the wheel when someone else sitting at the table already has a potential solution?

Execution doesn’t like complexity. Instead, the best friends of execution are simplicity and transparency.” – Chris McChesney

In the Operations and Engineering Peer-to-Peer Exchange session, topics discussed included: • Holding operators accountable for meeting quality targets • Fitting emergency orders into scheduled daily production work • Making time for training without disrupting operations • Keeping younger employees engaged and involved Peer-to-Peer Exchanges also were held for Executive Stakeholders/Owners, Senior Leaders (Presidents/ VPs), Human Resources/Safety, Sales & Marketing, Operations/Engineering and CFOs/Finance/IT. n

Thank You to the Key Sponsors:

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 27


Rising Compensation, Increased Turnover Rates and Slow Hiring for Plastics Companies by Ashley Turrell, membership & analytics director, MAPP


early two-thirds of all employees saw a salary increase above the current inflation rate of 1.7% in 2019. And overall, employees at plastics companies saw a compensation increase average of 3% across the board. However, the average compensation increase for jobs is down from last year (5% in 2018), according to the 2019 Wage and Salary Report, published in October by the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP). The report, which analyzes compensation for 60 different positions in the plastics industry, now is in its 17th year. With input from more than 200 US plastics manufacturers, the data in the 2019 report represents approximately 47,500 full-time and part-time employees across 27 states. Just over 72% of plastics job titles experienced some growth in compensation in 2019. Twentyfive percent of positions analyzed in this year’s report revealed a greater than 5% growth in wage/salary, down from 50% in the 2018 report. Compensation for only 5% of job titles rose 10% or more. $845,000 represents the total median annual compensation for a combined nine staff-level positions that are considered the most common staff-level positions occupied in companies (up from $819,312 in 2018). Staffing critical positions continues to be a top priority for manufacturers, and many of those critical roles saw significant increases in overall pay in 2019 as a reflection of that need. Overall, engineering and production-related job functions saw the highest average increase over any other major department in the industry.

The increasing costs of compensated employees, low unemployment, economic uncertainties and the push for automation may be why the number of companies looking to hire new employees

28 | plastics business • 2019 Issue 4

decreased nearly 10% from last year. In 2019, 86% of organizations reported a desire to hire over the next 12 months; however, companies are not looking to hire in large numbers. Over 60% of those organizations that are actively looking to hire new employees are looking to hire fewer than 10 new individuals. In 2018, manufacturers reported looking to hire in record-high numbers; however, in 2019, the number of new hires dropped almost 25%. Additionally, employee turnover rates continue to climb at plastics companies. Average turnover rose from 17% in 2017 and 21% in 2018 to 27% this year. High turnover has many plastics companies utilizing temporary staff to fill current demands. Thirty-six percent of participants indicated that their company does use temporary help to fill gaps in staffing. In 2003, companies that utilized temporary help had, on average, approximately five temporary help workers in their facilities. Today, that number has nearly quadrupled, with respondents noting their companies have an average of 18 temporary help workers. Trying to hire and retain employees in the market has led to changes in how compensation increases are determined. For instance, from 2011 to 2014, only about half of plastics companies decided to award pay increases on a merit-based/ performance-based system. Today, 78% of plastics organizations

Trying to hire and retain employees in the market has led to changes in how compensation increases are determined. report granting salary increases based on performance or merit. Utilizing a performance-based pay increase has become more attractive to manufacturing organizations, as the potential for increased pay is thought to increase employee retention and overall productivity. However, a smaller percentage of organizations continue to grant across-the-board increases, costof-living adjustments and length-of-service salary increases. No matter how compensation is determined, it is clear that manufacturers need to be regularly analyzing their pay structures. Companies need to make compensation decisions based on data rather than gut feel, and a key component in that is knowing how they compare to their counterparts when recruiting and retaining employees. n More information: www.mappinc.com

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 29





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Additive Manufacturing Equipment Automation Equipment



Legal Counsel


Data Monitoring/Control Design Services Drying Equipment

M&A Activity Marketing Services Material Additives Material Handling Mold Cleaning Mold Release Agents Molds/Tooling MRO Supplies



Blending Equipment Blow Molding Equipment


Employment Services Energy Strategy Extrusion Equipment


Foaming Agents




Heating & Cooling Equipment Hot Runner Systems


Injection Molding Equipment Insurance

Operations Assessment Services


Prototyping Services Purging Compounds




Simulation Services Specialty Coatings


Tax & Advisory Temperature Control Systems Testing Services Training Services

SUPPLIER DIRECTORY........................................................................................................................................... 37 www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 33

2019 BUYERS GUIDE PRODUCTS/SERVICES OFFERED Additive Manufacturing Equipment 1. CLIP 2. DLS Carbon, Inc. 1, 2

Design Services B A Die Mold, Inc. Concept Molds Novatec Inc.

Drying Equipment

Automation Equipment 1. Feed Systems 2. Integrator Services 3. Industrial Robots 4. Vision Inspection 5. Cobots 6. End-of-Arm Tooling Absolute Robot Inc. (ARI) 2, 3 Sepro America 3, 5 Wittmann Battenfeld 1, 3 Yushin America, Inc. 3, 6

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

Blow Molding Equipment 1. Extrusion 2. Injection 3. Stretch ASACLEAN - Sun Plastech, Inc. 1, 2, 3

Data Monitoring/Control

Drying > Conveying > Blending > Downstream

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

Foaming Agents iD Additives, Inc.

Granulators Conair Group Wittmann Battenfeld

Heating & Cooling Equipment

Employment Services AJ Augur Group, LLC MBS Advisors

Energy Strategy Novatec Inc.

Extrusion Equipment

1. ERP 2. MES

1. Blown Film 2. Sheet 3. Tubing

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

ASACLEAN - Sun Plastech, Inc. 1, 2, 3 Conair Group 2, 3 Novatec Inc. 3

34 | plastics business • 2019 Issue 4

Federated Mutual Insurance Company

Legal Counsel Benesch Ice Miller

M&A Activity

Conair Group Frigel North America Mokon

Hot Runner Systems Michael D. Benson Managing Director

1. Compressed Air 2. Hot Air 3. Vacuum Conair Group 1, 2 Novatec Inc. 1, 2, 3 Wittmann Battenfeld


Email: mbenson@stout.com Phone: (248) 432-1229 Website: www.stout.com

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

INCOE Corporation Synventive Molding Solutions

Injection Molding Equipment 1. Electric 2. Hybrid 3. Hydraulic Absolute Haitian Corporation 1, 2, 3 ASACLEAN - Sun Plastech, Inc. 1, 2, 3 Wittmann Battenfeld 1, 2, 3

Benesch Harbour Results, Inc. MBS Advisors Mueller Prost Stout

Marketing Services Vive Marketing WayPoint Marketing Communications

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

Material Handling

Mold Release Agents Chem-Trend Slide Products, Inc.

Operations Assessment Consulting



Phone: (248) 552-8400 Website: www.harbourresults.com

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

1. Conveying 2. Feed Systems 3. Storage Conair Group 1, 2, 3 Dynamic Conveyor Corporation 1

Mold Cleaning

455 Wards Corner Road Loveland, OH 45140 Phone: (513) 831-3211 Website: coldjet.com/plastics

1. Dry Ice Blasting 2. Ultrasonic Tank 3. Solvent Wipes 4. Bead Blasting Cold Jet LLC 1

Explore a Better-Resin Buying Experience

29524 Southfield Rd. Southfield, MI 48076

5980 Grand Haven Road Norton Shores, MI 49441

590 Thompson Rd. P.O. Box 218 Thompson, CT 06277 Phone: (860) 923-9541 Website: www.IvanhoeTool.com

1. Blow Molds 2. Injection Molds 3. Jigs/Fixtures 4. Micro Molds A1 Tool Corporation 2, 3 B A Die Mold, Inc. 2, 3 Carson Tool & Mold 2 Concept Molds 2, 3 Ivanhoe Tool & Die Co. Inc. 2 Prodigy Mold & Tool 2, 3, 4 Progressive Components 2

MRO Supplies ASACLEAN - Sun Plastech, Inc. Conair Group iD Additives Novatec Inc. Slide Products, Inc. W.W. Grainger

Harbour Results, Inc. Mueller Prost

Prototyping Services A1 Tool Corporation B A Die Mold, Inc. Concept Molds

Purging Compounds

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

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

www.PolySource.net customersupport@polysource.net 816.540.5300

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 Amco Polymers 1, 2, 3, 4, 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 Colors For Plastics, Inc. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 Foster Corporation 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 35

2019 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

Simulation Services Paulson Training Programs Precise Plastic Testing RJG, Inc. SIGMA Plastic Services

Specialty Coatings Chem-Pak, Inc.

Tax & Advisory

7733 Forsyth Blvd., Ste. 1200 St. Louis, MO 63105 Phone: (314) 862-2070 Website: www.muellerprost.com

Temperature Control Systems Conair Group Frigel North America INCOE Corporation Mokon Wittmann Battenfeld

Testing Services

Training Services Colors For Plastics, Inc. Conair Group Paulson Training Programs Progressive Components RJG, Inc. Routsis Training Inc. Sepro America Yushin America, Inc.

Colors For Plastics, Inc. Precise Plastic Testing

Benesch Mueller Prost

2019 BUYERS GUIDE Find the Buyers Guide online all year long at plasticsbusinessmag.com/buyersguide 36 | plastics business • 2019 Issue 4


A1 Tool Corporation 1425 Armitage Ave. Melrose Park, IL 60160 (708) 345-5000 Fax: (708) 345-2089 www.a1toolcorp.com

ASACLEAN - Sun Plastech, Inc. 1055 Parsippany Blvd., Ste. 405 Parsippany, NJ 07054 (973) 257-1999 www.asaclean.com Aurora Plastics, LLC 9280 Jefferson St. Streetsboro, OH 44241 (330) 626-6423 www.auroraplastics.com

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

B A Die Mold, Inc.

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

Benesch 200 Public Square, Ste. 2300 Cleveland, OH 44114 (216) 363-4500 Fax: (216) 363-4588 www.beneschlaw.com

AJ Augur Group, LLC

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

5255 Deer Ridge Mentor, OH 44060 (440) 357-7600 www.ajaugur.com

Amco Polymers 1900 Summit Tower Blvd., Ste. 900 Orlando, FL 32810 (800) 262-6685 www.amcopolymers.com Americhem Engineered Compounds 20 Progress Dr. Morrisville, PA 19067 (800) 863-4260 www.ltlcolor.com

1445 W. McPherson Park Dr. Howell, MI 48843 (800) 323-7771 Fax: (517) 546-1199 www.chemtrend.com

Cold Jet LLC

3685 Prairie Lake Ct. Aurora, IL 60504 (630) 978-4747 Fax: (630) 978-0100 www.badiemold.com

Absolute Robot, Inc. (ARI)


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

455 Wards Corner Rd. Loveland, OH 45140 (513) 831-3211 Fax: 513) 831-1209 www.coldjet.com/plastics Colors For Plastics, Inc. 2245 Pratt Blvd. Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 (847) 437-0033 Fax: (847) 806-0787 www.colorsforplastics.com

Conair Group

200 W. Kensinger Dr. Cranberry Township, PA 16066 (724) 584-5500 Fax: (724) 584-5299 www.conairgroup.com Concept Molds 12273 N. US 131 Schoolcraft, MI 49087 (269) 679-2100 Fax: (269) 679-2157 www.conceptmolds.com

Chase Plastic Services, Inc. 6467 Waldon Center Dr. Clarkston, MI 48346 (248) 620-2120 Fax: (248) 620-3192 www.chaseplastics.com Chem-Pak, Inc. 242 Corning Way Martinsburg, WV 25405 (800) 336-9828 Fax: (304) 262-9643 www.chem-pak.com

Dynamic Conveyor Corporation 5980 Grand Haven Rd. Norton Shores, MI 49441 (231) 798-1483 Fax: (231) 798-9583 www.dynamicconveyor.com

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 37

2019 BUYERS GUIDE SUPPLIER DIRECTORY Federated Mutual Insurance Company 121 E. Park Square Owatonna, MN 55060 (800) 533-0472 www.federatedinsurance.com

Mokon INCOE Corporation Foster Corporation 45 Ridge Rd. Putnam, CT 06260 (860) 630-4524 www.fostercomp.com

2850 High Meadow Cir. Auburn Hills, MI 48326 (248) 616-0220 Fax: (248) 616-0225 www.incoe.com

2150 Elmwood Ave. Buffalo, NY 14207 (716) 515-7932 Fax: (716) 814-8048 www.mokon.com

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


7733 Forsyth Blvd., Ste. 1200 Clayton, MO 63105 (314) 480-1223 www.muellerprost.com

2331 Wisteria Ln. Paso Robles, CA 93446 (866) 367-3772 Fax: (805) 227-1120 www.iqms.com

Novatec Inc. Harbour Results, Inc. 29524 Southfield Rd. Southfield, MI 48076 (248) 552-8400 www.harbourresults.com Ice Miller 250 West St., Ste. 700 Columbus, OH 43215 (614) 462-2700 Fax: (614) 222-3450 www.icemiller.com

Ivanhoe Tool & Die Co. Inc. 590 Thompson Rd., PO Box 218 Thompson, CT 06277 (860) 923-9541 Fax: (860) 923-2497 www.ivanhoetool.com

Paulson Training Programs

M. Holland Company iD Additives

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

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

3 Inspiration Ln. Chester, CT 06412 (860) 526-3099 Fax: (860) 526-3454 www.paulsontraining.com

400 Skokie Blvd. Northbrook, IL 60062 (800) 872-7370 www.mholland.com

MBS Advisors 100 Main St., Ste. 3 Florence, MA 01062 (413) 584-2899 Fax: (413) 584-5332 www.mbsadvisors.com

38 | plastics business • 2019 Issue 4


3730 S. Elizabeth St., Ste. B Independence, MO 64057 (816) 540-5300 Fax: (816) 540-4127 www.polysource.net

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

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

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

Sepro America 765 Commonwealth Dr., Ste. 104 Warrendale, PA 15086 (412) 459-0450 www.sepro-america.com

Prodigy Mold & Tool 88 E. 1100 S. Haubstadt, IN 47639 (812) 753-3029 www.prodigymold.com

Progressive Components

SIGMA Plastic Services 10 N. Martingale Rd., Ste. 620 Schaumburg, IL 60173 (847) 558-5600 Fax: (847) 969-1003 www.sigmasoft.de

W.W. Grainger

100 Grainger Pkwy. Lake Forest, IL 60045 (800) Grainger www.grainger.com WayPoint Marketing Communications 343 Cove View Dr. Waterford, MI 48327 (248) 506-6696 www.waypointmc.com Wittmann Battenfeld 1 Technology Park Dr. Torrington, CT 06790 (860) 496-9603 Fax: (860) 482-2069 www.wittmann-group.com

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 Fax: (847) 541-7986 www.slideproducts.com

Purgex Purging Compounds 11119 Jones Rd. W. Houston, TX 77065 (800) 803-6242 Fax: (281) 807-9748 www.purgexonline.com

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www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 39


Plastics Positively Impacts the World Daily by Alex Hoffer, vice president of sales and operations, Hoffer Plastics Corporation Note from the Managing Editor: It’s easy to become frustrated with the wave of negative publicity aimed at the plastics industry. The daily news cycle is filled with pollution concerns and straw bans, and it seems as if more states jump on the wagon every day. In October 2019, MAPP Member Alex Hoffer wrote this memo to the industry, reminding consumers, brand owners and fellow manufacturers that plastics are more than the latest breaking news story.


020 will bring a whole new set of conversations to the forefront when it comes to the debate of plastics.

Despite its significant contributions to innovation, the plastics industry has garnered increasing criticism over the years for its environmental impact. So, why do we continue to use plastics in the first place? The technical answer is that plastic has a high strength-to-weight ratio and can be easily shaped into a wide variety of forms that are impermeable to liquids and are highly resistant to physical and chemical degradation. These materials can be produced at a relatively low cost, making it easier for companies to sell, scale, save, etc. The primary challenge is that the proliferation of plastics in our everyday use, in combination with poor endof-life waste management, has resulted in widespread and persistent plastic pollution. Plastic pollution is present in all the world’s major ocean basins, including remote islands, the poles and the deep seas, and an additional 5 to 13 million metric tons are introduced every year. However, consider for a moment that it is possible that the plastics industry is doing more good than harm, and that the environmental issues the industry faces have more to do with recycling than production. As we inch closer toward 2020, here are a few points to help aide our collective attitude toward plastics:

Plastics and the environment

Austrian environmental consultancy Denkstatt recently conducted a study to determine the impact of farmers, retailers, and consumers using recyclable products (wood, tins, glass bottles/jars, and cardboard) to package their goods rather than plastic. What they found was that mass of packaging would increase by a whopping 3.6 times, and would take more than double the energy to make, thereby increasing greenhouse gases by an astounding 2.7 times.

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One common proposal for replacing plastics with different materials is to replace plastic bags with paper ones in grocery stores. While this may sound like a more sustainable solution, the data do not support it. By volume, paper takes up more room in landfills and does not disintegrate as rapidly as plastic. Because of this, plastic bags leave half the carbon footprint of cotton and paper bags.

Plastics and hunger

In my visits to the Northern Illinois Food Bank, I’ve had the honor to serve those in need of access to nutritious food and innovative feeding programs. While helping stock the pantry or pass out holiday baskets, I couldn’t help but notice how food packaging alone impacts visitors’ perceptions. Most of the food at the food bank is canned or jarred, yet it is the plastic-wrapped food that always looks fresher and a little less dangerous. Now, consider the properties of plastic that make it so attractive: It is durable, flexible; it does not shatter; it can breathe (or not); and it is extremely lightweight. As a result, food and drink are protected from damage and preserved for lengths of time previously unimaginable. The European Packaging and Film Association (PAFA) says that the average spoilage of food between harvest and table is 3% in the developed world, compared to 50% in developing countries where plastic pallets, crates, trays, film, and bags are not as commonly available. This data point shows us that plastics play an integral role in the preservation of food. In a world where many go hungry, it is advantageous to continue to support an industry that helps to keep food on tables, families fed and reduces food waste.

Plastics and cars

Turning our attention to plastics’ relationship with the automotive industry, let's start with safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that today’s seat belts, which are made with industrial strength plastics, have the potential to reduce auto fatalities by as much as 45% and serious injury by 50%, compared to not being buckled in. Beyond the seat belt and other accessories, modern plastics can be made to be resilient and flexible, soft and cushioned, or tough and shatter-resistant. This allows them to contribute to vehicle safety in a substantial way. Car manufacturers rely on plastic to make lightweight materials that reduce the weight of automobiles so they can meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard, which is set to be increased to 54.5 miles per gallon

by 2025. I predict that the use of plastics to minimize the weight of cars will be an integral part of car manufacturers’ efforts to meet these new standards. Therefore, the plastics industry will be contributing in improvements to fuel efficiency that will ultimately reduce the environmental footprint of vehicles.

Plastics and healthcare

Did you know that plastic materials increase the efficiency and hygiene of your physician’s office? Plastic syringes and tubing are disposable to reduce disease transmission. Plastic intravenous (IV) bags and tubing that store and deliver blood, fluid and medicine let healthcare workers more easily view dosages and replacement needs. Plastic heart valves and knee and hip joints save lives and make patients’ lives more comfortable. Plastic prostheses help amputees regain function and improve their quality of life.

Plastics and jobs

In 2019, the argument to remove plastics from our way of life entirely is not a feasible option. Plastics’ contribution to the health of our environment, the safety and durability of our healthcare products, the fuel efficiency on our roads and the growth of the economy – and so much more – tells us that it is worth putting our best efforts toward understanding this debate further. n Alex Hoffer is the vice president of sales and operations at Hoffer Plastics Corporation, a leading global supplier of tighttolerance, custom injection molded parts. There, he leads the company’s sales growth strategy across a diverse set of markets, including flexible and rigid packaging, automotive, appliances and consumer industrial. Hoffer’s leadership in developing the Trust-T-Lok product line for spouted pouches has helped to supply over 1 billion Trust-T-Lok fitments to the international marketplace. Today, his focus is on launching a fully recyclable pouch and utilizing spouted pouch technology to address food waste and other human impact challenges.

Consider a world in which the plastics industry in America suddenly came to an end. While there would be some that celebrate this, I imagine that the cheers from those who are “antiplastic” would very quickly be overshadowed by the 989,000 individuals in the US who collect our paychecks and support our families thanks to job opportunities within the plastics industry.

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Recent Acquisition Relied on Relationships, Fit by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business


n October, two Ohio companies merged to operate under one ownership umbrella as Thogus (Avon Lake, Ohio) acquired Proto Plastics (Tipp City, Ohio). Separated by nearly 200 miles, the two plastics processing entities were connected by a thread that ran through MBS Advisors and a meeting a few years ago at the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference.

Acquisition as a growth strategy

Founded in 1950, Thogus has evolved into a family-owned custom injection molder focused on medium- to highvolume molding solutions for the medical, automotive and electronics markets, among others. Over the years, Thogus has grown organically through customer and market expansions, and its ownership team also founded another company in 2010 – rp+m, an additive manufacturing business – to fill the need for rapid prototyping and low-volume 3D production printing. As Thogus CEO Matt Hlavin viewed future opportunities for his company, one gap stood out. “We’ve had customers over the years with low-volume programs and have struggled to meet their needs while achieving profitability targets,” Hlavin said. As a result, Thogus has been referring those programs to outside injection molders. “What we’ve learned in the process is that our great customers want Thogus to have the capability to provide low-volume molding and complex value-added secondary operations to support their needs. Additionally, we consistently hear from potential clients the expectation of supporting these programs before they award us high-volume programs. In other words, we were missing opportunities that could help us achieve our goal of growing profitably and building the Thogus brand.” Thogus recently hired Larry Sansom as president, and Sansom has significant experience in acquisitions. “When I decided to hire a president, I wanted someone who was stronger in areas where I didn’t have experience, which meant acquisitional

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growth,” said Hlavin in a recent interview with Plastics Business. “We hadn’t approached anyone yet when Andrew called.”

Matching the seller to the acquirer

Andrew Munson is a partner with MBS Advisors, providing mergers and acquisitions advisory services to the plastics industry. MBS represented Proto Plastics when owner Tom Gagnon was ready to sell. Proto Plastics was founded in 1969. The family-owned, lowvolume plastic injection molding and contract manufacturing company specialized in technically demanding, close tolerance parts and assemblies for more than 80 customers in industries as varied as automotive, aerospace, medical and telecommunications. It was a short conversation at a MAPP Benchmarking Conference that led to the opportunity to work with Proto Plastics, according to Munson.

“Tom came up to our booth at the conference and wanted to learn more about what we did and how we might be able to help him in the future if there was an ownership transition,” he said. Although MBS likely followed up with Gagnon after the event with more information about the services the company offers, no more contact occurred until late in 2018. “Tom called and said, ‘We remember meeting you, and we think we might be ready to consider selling the business,’ ” Munson recalled. “When we talked through all of the high-level details – sales, profitability, customers and capabilities – we determined that MBS and Proto Plastics were a good fit.” Proto Plastics was unique, according to Munson, with its mix of low-volume production, secondary capabilities and value-added services – most notably, plastics machining. “Proto Plastics had a very successful business,” he said. “The company stuck to its niche and didn’t deviate from what it was good at over the course of 30 years. It’s an interesting case study – staying small and focused, with no debt. We knew somebody would be interested in that.”

keeping the culture intact and preserving the family-owned aspect of the business.” Proto Plastics preferred not to sell to a private equity group. “Tom and his team had specific desires for the potential buyer, so we had to think long and hard about who would be a good fit.” After originally considering low-volume producers, MBS looked at Thogus as the right match – family-owned, with a cultural fit and a location in Ohio. Munson contacted Hlavin. “When we saw the original information deck, we had to move fast,” said Hlavin. “We immediately saw the value in the company – it was the perfect size for us in a location that expands Thogus. We have no overlap in customers and culturally we match.” One important factor in the fit was the fact that Proto Plastics had several family members working within in the operation, just as Thogus has family members involved in the business on a daily basis. The acquisition would provide some stability for the next generation. “What Tom saw is that synergy in our cultures – a family feel that reinforced the understanding that the company

Munson continued: “Finding the right acquirer can be tricky – especially when you have a client who is very interested in


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STRATEGIES t page 45 wouldn’t be chopped up and sold,” said Hlavin.

Future State

Munson said the timing was right for both organizations. “I think the stars aligned. The opportunity came in at the very perfect time to fill a need that Thogus had already been looking to fill. Proto Plastics’ capabilities matched with the direction Thogus was looking to go.” The ability of MBS to match the two companies, however, may be the real star of the show. “It lends credence to our philosophy that, as much as you think you know who the buyer might be, you really don’t,” Munson said. “It’s best to evaluate a variety of companies – smaller, bigger, lower volume, higher volume, private equity firms and even companies based overseas – try a little of everything, because that gives us the best chance to find the right fit.”

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“What Tom saw is that synergy in our cultures – a family feel that reinforced the understanding that the company wouldn’t be chopped up and sold.” – Matt Hlavin, Thogus CEO

Benesch’s dedicated Polymer Industry Team focuses on the specialty chemicals, coatings, plastics and polymer industry. With increased pricing pressure from customers, the team understands that companies in the industry must have multiple avenues in which to increase working capital and improve cash flow.


Moving forward together

The addition of Proto Plastics completes what Hlavin refers to as an innovation conveyor belt – customers, he said, can get on or off right where they want while remaining within the Thogus family of companies. The suite of services begins with rp+m for rapid prototyping and low-volume 3D production printing, continues with the low-volume/value-add focus of Proto Plastics and finishes with the medium- to high-volume capabilities of Thogus – enabling end-to-end product and service offerings to the plastics industry. In total, the group will have more than 200,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space, 52 molding machines and 12 3D-printing machines. “We tried over the years to build our own low-volume model,” said Hlavin, “but, the way we have our overhead and operating systems set up there was no way to do it efficiently. With the acquisition of Proto Plastics, we fill that need and it comes with an existing set of customers.” Proto Plastics will continue to operate as a separate company, like rp+m and Thogus, thanks to a strong team already in place. “The cross infusion of customers is where the synergy is,” he continued. “Proto Plastics has longtime customers that have large volume and prototyping needs. Thogus refers out several million dollars a year in low-volume production. What we’re focused on now is introducing customers to both companies and explaining the synergies we now provide.” Although Hlavin is moving forward full steam ahead, he stopped to remember the reason the acquisition came his way – the value provided by an industry association. “Where’s the power in this?,” he asked. “It started 16 years ago when I first met Troy Nix at MAPP and eventually became a board member for the organization. It started with MBS Advisors becoming a sponsor of the association and meeting Tom Gagnon at a conference. And, it started in 2011 when I hosted a plant tour at Thogus for MAPP. We had more than 100 people in our facility, and one of them was Tom Gagnon, the owner of Proto Plastics. He remembered our culture, and now we’ve merged our organizations. That’s powerful.” n

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Four Issues Likely to Define 2020 by Chris Kuehl, managing director, Armada Corporate Intelligence


ust like seeing Santa setting up at the local mall in August, it is never too soon for an economist to start looking at the coming year – as if the changing of a calendar has any real bearing on economic performance. The truth is that most of the issues that will vex and concern next year are the issues that are vexing and concerning now. The challenge is determining which of these are likely to fade from view and which will continue to build in significance. The four concerns that seem destined to shape the majority of the economic conversations in the coming year include 1) the ongoing trade and tariff war between the US and China, as well as other nations; 2) the potential for a recession in the US; 3) the ongoing crisis in terms of workforce development; and 4) the influence of politics on the overall mood of the consumer and how that affects the economy.

Factor Trade and tariffs


The trade and tariff war between the US and China has transcended its origins and metamorphosed into a much more comprehensive confrontation that will determine how the US and China will coexist in the future. What started as a relatively simple demand that China reduce the trade deficit the US runs by buying more from the US has become a battle of economic systems. The US now demands that China stop subsidizing its business community, cease attempting to steal US technology, end its currency policy, stop oppressing the Uighur and Tibetan communities, accede to the demands of the Hong Kong protestors, leave Taiwan alone, withdraw from the South China Sea, etc. The list goes on and on. From the 1950s to the ’80s, the US considered China an enemy, but in the ’90s, that started to change, and China became a trade partner – as well as an economic rival. That shift has not worked out as well for the US as hoped, and there now is a move to return to more of a Cold War relationship. It is

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The second major issue to play out will be the potential for a recession in the next 12 to 24 months. There are arguments to be made for an imminent recession and arguments suggesting that the worst-case scenario will be a slowdown. significant that none of the Democratic candidates are assailing Trump for his hostility toward China – they only object to his methods. The trade war will continue throughout the next year, with ups and downs as both sides experiment with agreements and truces. It is not just the US contest with China that will affect trade. The US is rethinking its entire role in the global trading system, as much of that policy has been rooted in reaction to previous wars. The US granted extraordinary access to its market to help Europe recover at the end of the World War II, and this access remains in place. During the Cold War, nations received trade access to the US in return for supporting the US position against the Soviet Union. Even though the USSR ceased to exist in 1989, these trade agreements remain in place. The US now is examining all of these deals through a much more nationalistic lens, and the goal clearly is to shift more activity back to the US. With this come the threats of slower global growth and more expensive consumer goods. The trade-offs will come under intense scrutiny in the years to come.

Factor Recession potential


The second major issue to play out will be the potential for a recession in the next 12 to 24 months. There are arguments to be made for an imminent recession and arguments suggesting that the worstcase scenario will be a slowdown that takes annual growth to between 1.5% and 2.0%. The current data show a developing weakness in the manufacturing sector with contraction readings from the Purchasing Managers’ Index, reductions in capacity utilization, slowing demand for durable goods and consistent reports suggesting manufacturers have become cautious. It has been pointed out that the yield curve has been inverted for an extended period of time and, in the past, this has pointed to a recession in the next 12 to 24 months. The global economy has not been this slow in decades, and estimates of its health continue to weaken every month. Germany already is in recession, and much of Europe is not far behind. It is indeed worrisome. At the same time, encouraging signs have suggested the expansion still has some life left in it. Recovery from the recession in 2008 has been very slow, but that has been a bit of an advantage as it often is the rapid rebound from a downturn that sets up the next downturn. The fast recovery usually brings inflation and provokes the Federal Reserve to intervene with higher rates. Inflation also slows bank lending. This time around, there has been little inflation to contend with – as a matter of fact, there has been more concern regarding deflation. There will be three crucial indicators to watch as far as an impending recession is concerned. The first would be any sign of a deteriorating employment situation. If there are mass layoffs and the jobless rate starts to climb, there will be an immediate impact on the consumer’s attitude – even if the overall rate stays traditionally low. A rate of 6.0% unemployment still is considered normal, but if the jobless numbers go from 3.5% to 6.0% there will be real panic. The second thing to watch is consumer confidence and its impact on retail sales. Consumers can shift attitude very

quickly if they feel spooked by something and, if that translates into a sharp reduction in retail activity, the economy will feel it. The third area will be inflation. Thus far, the Federal Reserve has not had to worry about inflation and instead has been able to focus exclusively on stimulus. A sharp hike in commodity prices (such as oil or food) will make the Fed nervous, and there always exists the possibility that wages will start to rise. The Phillips curve holds that this should have happened by now, but for a variety of reasons this reaction has been delayed.

Factor Workforce


Crisis number three is workforce related, and it is not a new problem. There simply are not enough people with the appropriate skills to fill the jobs available. In manufacturing alone there is a need for 3.7 million new workers in the next three to five years, and the estimate is that the sector will be short by more than 2 million. There is a shortage of truck drivers – 80,000 are needed right now, and it is estimated that future need will top 180,000. Too few construction workers and healthcare workers also are a problem, and now the professional positions are not being filled. Part of the issue is that Boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 a day, and part of the issue is that too few are being trained and educated appropriately. In the short term, not many options present themselves as far as acquiring the needed workforce. Option one is extending people’s working lives, and that has been taking place as fewer people retire when they would be expected to. The problem is that staying on the job in one’s 60s and 70s is hard, given everything from retirement rules to age discrimination. There are efforts to retrain, but this is expensive, and there has been little help from the federal government. Instead, states and cities have shouldered this responsibility. Immigration has long been the most common option, but the people that are coming to the page 50 u

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ECONOMIC CORNER t page 49 US now (legally and illegally) are not generally skilled, and it is the skilled worker the US needs.

Factor Politics


Finally, there is the impact of a political year. Elections tend to depress voters/consumers for a variety of reasons. The first issue is that campaigns invariably focus on problems. The litany of woes is relentless, and the candidate implores the voter to pick them, as only they can rescue the country from certain destruction. The voter hears nothing but gloom and doom and begins to believe that nothing can be done. In the end, there will be many disappointed voters, as they will not be on the winning side. This year promises to be more contentious and intense than in previous years, as emotions will run very high. People are very deeply invested in either liking or disliking the candidates on offer, and this will affect mood profoundly. To make matters a little worse, the fact is that politics will take over the attention of the politicians, leaving them little time to address any of the issues outlined above – resulting in lackluster policy activity on trade, infrastructure, workforce or anything else. It will be political infighting every day of the week.

These are not the only issues that will affect the 2020 economy. As always, there will be unexpected developments involving wars and natural disasters in addition to ongoing issues, such as health care, education, climate change, technology and so on. Any one of these can (and will) suddenly lurch into prominence, but the four outlined above can be counted upon to be factors all year – just as they have been factors in past years. 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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NEWS Rapid OneCUT PRO Brings Quality, Energy and Operational Benefits to Slow Speed Granulation In-house plastics recycling solutions provider Rapid Granulator, Bredaryd, Sweden, presents OneCUT PRO, which offers less dust, less noise, less energy consumption and significant operational benefits. OneCUT PRO allows injection-molded plastic processors to adjust the rpm range when granulating at a slow speed from the standard 25 rpm to a bandwidth of 15 to 35 rpm (plus/minus 40% rotor speed) for optimal quality regrind. For processors facing capacity limitations, operating at a higher speed level will allow them to overcome capacity constraints, boosting operational output. The torque level of the machine is maintained regardless of the speed at which it is running. For more information, visit www.rapidgranulator.com.

New Conair ResinWorks™ Central Drying Systems Offer Individualized Hopper Functions

RJG Offers New Course – Fundamentals of Systematic Injection Molding

The Conair Group, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, a supplier of auxiliary equipment for plastics processors, now offers the Conair ResinWorks™ central drying and preconditioning system. ResinWorks gives users the option to equip each drying hopper with its own 4-inch color touchscreen human-machine interface (HMI), enabling independent operation, data monitoring and other advanced control features. The system can be implemented on older Conair dryers or on certain competitive dryers. The new HMIs, part of a control system upgrade reaching across Conair’s dryer line, offer much simpler, plain-text interaction with hopper features, settings and help information. ResinWorks multi-hopper units or sleds, equipped with hopper-specific HMIs, give users instant access to a range of features and control settings, including auto-start, temperature control, drying monitor, temperature setback, and energy consumption and trending. For more information, visit www.conairgroup.com.

International tools and training provider RJG, Inc., has announced a new four-day course in the US. Fundamentals of Systematic Injection Molding offers hands-on, practical training on scientific molding principles and the Decoupled Molding® processes. This course covers molding machine construction to process parameter selection, mold temperature control, material handling and more. It is right for anyone interested in a more thorough understanding of the effects of process parameters on the process, including process technicians, machine operators, quality assurance and process engineers. Prerequisite: Online Math for Molders course or a passing score on the online assessment test. For more information, visit www.rjginc.com.

Carbon Introduces RPU 130 for High-Temp Additive Manufacturing Digital manufacturing company Carbon®, Silicon Valley, California, introduces a new resin, RPU 130, to fill the need for a tough, rigid and high-temperature additive manufacturing material suitable for rigorous applications. Carbon developed RPU 130 for superior impact resistance and dimensional stability at elevated temperatures. Wellsuited to automotive, it also is relevant for industrial and consumer product applications, such as air ducts and brake caliper covers for vehicles, sunglasses, tool housings and device enclosures. RPU 130 was made with environmentally sustainable raw materials. Carbon partnered with DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products to use Susterra® propanediol, a 100% bio-based building block that delivers high performance. Carbon RPU 130 is available via Carbon’s resin store in the US, Canada and Europe. For more information, visit www.carbon3d.com and www.duponttateandlyle.com.

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Wemo Launches WIPS 4.0 Software International manufacturer of linear-robot-systems and automation cells Wemo, a part of HAHN Group, has launched WIPS 4.0 software for the programming of robots. The new software platform results from successful dialogue programming implemented in Wemo robots over the last decade. An ergonomic and lightweight handheld controller, W-Hp12, gives operators and programmers an overview of the status and program structure. The handheld has three levels of safety buttons (dead-man-grip). It includes hardware buttons for the most-used functions and operations such as start, stop and reset. The screen has an integrated touch pen and swipe functionality for intuitive usability and speed, making the process more efficient and resulting in better monitoring with fewer jumps to different pages. Also included is a customized start screen. For more information, visit www.wemogroup.com/en/.

Frigel Announces Developments in Cooling and Mold Temperature Control Frigel, a global provider of intelligent process cooling, offers a variety of new products, including the new Ecodry adiabatic fluid cooler, the latest upgrade of the patented Ecodry System; and new models in the MRS and MRM series. Based on full digital connectivity between mold temperature control and molding machine, plus engineering improvements, the new Ecodry system brings plastics cooling and temperature control into the future. From complex automotive injection-molded parts to high-speed thin-wall packaging, “Process-Synchronized Cooling" covers all cooling demands in plastics molding with performance improvements, cycle time reduction and cost savings, along with reductions of environmental impact. The system is based on process-synchronized mold temperature control units, with a complete, wide operating temperature range from 5˚C (41˚F) up to 200˚C (392˚F). The MRS and MRM IndustrialChillers are available in 23 models, with cooling capacities ranging from 3.5 to 125 tons. Each model, which can be installed indoors or outdoors, gives users more options for highly efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly cooling. The eight MRS compact air-cooled chillers are rated from 3.5 to 15.4 tons, while the 15 MRM air-cooled chillers are rated to deliver 16 to 125 tons of cooling capacity. Both are available in a wide choice of configurations. For more information, visit www.frigel.com.

Piab Offers Advanced EOAT Solutions Piab, a provider of gripping and moving solutions, with US headquarters in Hingham, Massachusetts, offers vacuum grippers specially designed for handling plastic parts out of a mold. End-of-arm tooling for the plastics industry can help reduce cycle times, produce consistent parts, save on personnel costs and cut down on scrap and unusable parts. Designed with modular and custom-machined components, the tooling will operate on any style or make of robot. Piab offers a complete line of modular components to allow users to rapidly build tools, meeting rapidly changing automation needs on demand. For more information, visit www.piab.com. n

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Let’s Win the Game by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business


egendary football coach Vince Lombardi said, “Winning isn't everything – but wanting to win is.” As humans, we’re programmed to want to win. We compete against ourselves and against others, measuring our gains and losses against any stick we can find. But, do we understand where the finish line is?

This issue’s Booklist is about the ways we can win in business, from a new book by Simon Sinek to a slightly less serious tome by the author of the Dilbert comics.

The Infinite Game Author: Simon Sinek Released: Oct. 15, 2019

How do we win a game that has no end? Finite games, like football or chess, have known players, fixed rules and a clear endpoint. The winners and losers are easily identified. Infinite games – games with no finish line, such as business or politics, or life itself – have players who come and go. The rules of an infinite game are changeable, while infinite games have no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers – only ahead and behind. The question is, how do we play to succeed in the game we’re in? In this revelatory new book, Simon Sinek offers a framework for leading with an infinite mindset. On one hand, none of us can resist the fleeting thrills of a promotion earned or a tournament won, yet these rewards fade quickly. In pursuit of a Just Cause, we will commit to a vision of a future world so appealing that we will build it week after week, month after month, year after year. Although we do not know the exact form this world will take, working toward it gives our work and our life meaning. Leaders who embrace an infinite mindset build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organizations. Ultimately, they are the ones who lead us into the future.

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing Authors: Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman Released: Feb. 19, 2013

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s work changes the national dialogue. Beyond their bestselling books, you know them from commentary and features in the New York Times, CNN, NPR, Time, Newsweek, Wired, New York and more. In Top Dog, Bronson and Merryman again use their astonishing blend of science and storytelling to reveal what’s truly

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in the heart of a champion. The joy of victory and the characterbuilding agony of defeat. Testosterone and the neuroscience of mistakes. Why rivals motivate. How home field advantage gets you a raise. What teamwork really requires. It’s baseball, the SAT, sales contests and Linux. How before da Vinci and FedEx were innovators, first, they were great competitors. Olympians carry Top Dog in their gym bags. It’s in briefcases of Wall Street traders and Madison Avenue madmen. Risk takers from Silicon Valley to Vegas race to implement its ideas, as educators debate it in halls of academia. Now see for yourself what this game-changing talk is all about.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life Author: Scott Adams Released: Oct. 22, 2013

Scott Adams has likely failed at more things than anyone you’ve ever met or anyone you’ve even heard of. So how did he go from hapless office worker and serial failure to the creator of Dilbert, one of the world’s most famous syndicated comic strips? In How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Adams shares the game plan: invite failure in, embrace it, then pick its pocket. As Adams explains, your best bet is to study the ways of others and try to glean some strategies that make sense for you. Adams shares how he turned one failure after another – including his corporate career, his inventions and his two restaurants – into something good and lasting. As he writes: “This is a story of one person’s unlikely success within the context of scores of embarrassing failures. Was my eventual success primarily a result of talent, luck, hard work, or an accidental just-right balance of each? All I know for sure is that I pursued a conscious strategy of managing my opportunities in a way that would make it easier for luck to find me.”

Raise Your Game: High-Performance Secrets from the Best of the Best Authors: Alan Stein Jr., Jon Sternfeld Released: Jan. 8, 2019

High achievers are at the top of their game because of the discipline they have during the unseen hours. They have made a commitment to establish, tweak and repeat positive habits in everything they do. Raise Your Game examines the top leaders in sports and business and proves that success is a result of the little things we do all the time. The basic principles provided in Raise Your Game are simple, but not easy. We live in an instantly downloadable world that encourages us to skip steps. We are taught to chase what’s hot, flashy and sexy and ignore what’s basic. But, the basics work. They always have and they always will. Raise Your Game will inspire and empower you to commit to the fundamentals, create a winning mindset and progress into new levels of success. n

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www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 55


The Five Myths of Business Strategy by Rich Horwath, CEO, Strategic Thinking Institute


onsider some of the most popular myths:

Lightning never strikes the same place twice (it does). There is no gravity in space (there is… just less). Pigeons blow up if fed uncooked rice (they don’t). Which myths or half-truths have permeated your organization, and what effect have they had on your business? Running a business on myths, flawed business principles and baseless assumptions creates needless confusion and a lack of strategic direction. A study of 10,000 senior executives showed that the most important leadership behavior critical to company success – according to 97% of respondees – is strategic thinking. Good strategy is at the core of any organization’s success, and it’s important to understand the strategy myths that may be holding your team back from reaching greater levels of success.

Myth #1: Strategy comes from somebody else.

“We get our strategy from the brand team/upper management.” This is a common refrain when managers in other functional areas are asked who develops strategy. It’s also wrong. The strategy that you execute should be your own strategy. Why? Because each group’s resources are going to be different. For instance, the sales team has different resources – time, talent and budget – than the marketing team, the IT team or the HR team. How they allocate those resources determines their real-world strategy. It’s important to understand company, product and other functional group strategies to ensure that your strategies are in alignment. However, their strategies are not a replacement for your strategies. Myth Buster: Identify the corporate strategies, product strategies, functional group strategies and your strategies, and seek alignment.

Myth #2: Strategy is a once-a-year process.

In a recent webinar presented to more than 300 CEOs entitled, “Is Your Organization Strategic?” the question was posed: “How often do you and your team meet to update your strategies?” The percentage of CEOs who meet with their teams to assess and calibrate strategies more frequently than four times a year is only 16.9%, with nearly 50% indicating their teams meet once per year or “we don’t meet at all to discuss strategy.” A study of more than 200 large companies showed that the number one driver of revenue growth is the reallocation of resources throughout the year from underperforming areas to areas with greater potential. Strategy is the primary vehicle for

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making these vital resource reallocation decisions, but as the survey showed, most leaders aren’t putting themselves or their teams in a position to succeed. If strategy in your organization is an annual event, you will not achieve sustained success. Myth Buster: Conduct a monthly strategy tune-up when groups at all levels meet for one to two hours to review and calibrate their strategies.

Myth #3: Execution of strategy is more important than the strategy itself.

A landmark 25-year study of 750 bankruptcies showed that the number one cause of bankruptcy was flawed strategy, not poor execution. You can have the most skilled driver and highestperformance Ferrari in the world (great execution), but if you’re driving that Ferrari on a road headed over a cliff (poor strategic direction) – you’re finished. A sure sign of a needlessly myopic view is that everything is an “either or,” rather than allowing for “and.” Strategy and execution are both important, but make no mistake: All great businesses begin with an insightful strategy. Myth Buster: Take time to create differentiated strategy built on insights that lead to unique customer value, and then shape an execution plan that includes roles, responsibilities, communication vehicles, time frames and metrics.

Myth #4: Strategy is about being better than the competition.

Your products and services are not better than those of your competitors. Why? Because “better” is subjective. Is blueberry pie better than banana cream pie? It depends who you ask. “Is our product better than the competitor’s product?” is the wrong question. The real question is, “How is our product different than the competitor’s product in ways that customers value?” Attempting to be better than the competition leads to a race of “best practices,” which results in competitive convergence. Doing the same things in the same ways as competitors, only trying to do them a little faster or better, blurs the line of value between your company and competitors. Remember that competitive advantage is defined as “providing superior value to customers” – not “beating the competition by being better.” Myth Buster: Identify your differentiated value to specific customer groups by writing out your value proposition in one sentence.

Myth #5: Strategy is the same as mission, vision or goals.

Since strategy is an abstract concept, it often is interchanged with the terms vision, mission and goals. How many times have you seen or heard a strategy that is “to be #1,” “to be the market leader,” or “to become the premier provider of...?” Mission is your current purpose, and vision is your future purpose (or aspirational end game). Goals are what you are trying to achieve, and strategy is how you will allocate resources to achieve your goals. Misusing business terms on a regular basis is like a physicist randomly interchanging an element’s chemical structure from the Periodic Table. You can say that the chemical structure of hydrogen is the chemical structure for gold, but that doesn’t mean it’s correct. Starting with an inexact statement of strategy will derail all of the other aspects of your planning and turn your business into the equivalent of the grammar school volcano science project with red-dyed vinegar and too much baking soda. Myth Buster: Clearly distinguish your goals, strategies, mission and vision from one another.

Doing the same things in the same ways as competitors, only trying to do them a little faster or better, blurs the line of value between your company and competitors. If left unchecked, strategy myths can cause you and your business to fail. Arm your team with the strategy myth busters, and your business will soar higher than a pigeon with a belly full of uncooked rice. n Rich Horwath is a New York Times bestselling author on strategy, including his most recent book, StrategyMan vs. The Anti-Strategy Squad: Using Strategic Thinking to Defeat Bad Strategy and Save Your Plan. As CEO of the Strategic Thinking Institute, he has helped more than 100,000 managers develop their strategy skills through live workshops and virtual training programs. Horwath is a strategy facilitator, keynote speaker, and creator of more than 200 resources on strategic thinking. More information: www.StrategySkills.com

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SUPPLIER DIRECTORY Employment Services

Hot Runners

AJ Augur Group, LLC www.ajaugur.com Page 50

INCOE Corporation www.incoe.com Page 11

Energy Strategy

Synventive Molding Solutions www.synventive.com Page 14

Constellation www.constellation.com Page 13


Equipment/ Auxiliary Suppliers

Federated Insurance www.federatedinsurance.com Page 55

Conair www.conairgroup.com/freedom Back cover


Frigel www.frigel.com Page 14 Novatec www.novatec.com Pages 30, 31 Progressive Components www.procomps.com/date Page 23 Wittmann Battenfeld www.wittmann-group.com Page 20

Benesch www.beneschlaw.com Page 47

M&A Activity

Prodigy Mold & Tool, Inc. www.prodigymold.com Page 43

Specialty Coatings

Operations Consulting Harbour Results, Inc. www.harbourresults.com Page 45

Process Monitoring IQMS www.iqms.com Page 3 RJG, Inc. www.rjginc.com/tzero Page 32 SIGMASOFT Virtual Molding www.virtualmolding.us Page 29

Stout www.stout.com Page 7

Purging Compounds

MRO Supplies Grainger www.grainger.com Inside back cover



Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) www.mappinc.com Page 57

A-1 Tool Corporation www.a1toolcorp.com Page 43

iD Additives www.idadditives.com Page 51

PolySource www.polysource.net Page 22

MBS Advisors www.mbsadvisors.com Page 17

Yushin America, Inc. www.yushinamerica.com Page 15

Foaming Agents

Ivanhoe Tool & Die Company, Inc. www.ivanhoetool.com Page 43

B A Die Mold www.badiemold.com Page 42 Carson Tool & Mold www.carsonmold.com Page 42 Concept Molds www.conceptmolds.com Page 43

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Chem-Pak, Inc. www.chem-pak.com Page 47

Tax & Advisory Mueller Prost www.muellerprost.com Page 46

Training Paulson Training Programs, Inc. www.paulsontraining.com Page 21

ASACLEAN/Sun Plastech Inc. www.asaclean.com Inside front cover Chem-Trend www.chemtrend.com www.ultrapurge.com Pages 21, 55 Purgex Purging Compounds www.purgexonline.com/ free-sample Page 10

Resins Amco Polymers www.amcopolymers.com Page 15 Chase Plastics www.chaseplastics.com Page 50 M. Holland www.mholland.com Page 41

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

• Material handling • Abrasives • Power tools

• Lubrication • Welding • Machining

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

Start saving with


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.

Graphic machine status reports. Real-time setpoints and KPIs. Remote trouble-shooting. Instant online tech support. And many more ingenious features.

Conair SmartServices™ sees all and knows all. It’s your easy entry into Industry 4.0. Learn more at conairgroup.com/ conairgroup.com/freedom

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Plastics Business 2019 Issue 4  

Official Publication of Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors

Plastics Business 2019 Issue 4  

Official Publication of Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors