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2020 Issue 4





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review Benchmarking Conference Goes Virtual outlook Are Women the Answer to Manufacturing’s Talent Crisis? by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business sustainability Regrind, Reuse, Recycle: Plastikos Medical Makes Sustainability a Top Priority by Brittany Willes, contributing writer, Plastics Business solutions Technology Trends in Auxiliary Equipment by Liz Stevens, contributing writer, Plastics Business economic corner 2020 and 2021: No End to Chaos in Sight by Chris Kuehl, managing director, Armada Corporate Intelligence preview NPE2021: Opportunities in Virtual and In-Person Formats by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business

Read the latest articles from Plastics Business or download a digital edition at plasticsbusinessmag.com.

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33 40 44 48 54

2020 Plastics Business Buyers Guide view from 30 Containing the Threat: Viking Plastics Takes on Cybersecurity during the Coronavirus Pandemic by Lara Copeland, contributing writer, Plastics Business


strategies Plastics Manufacturers Face Four Priorities in 2021 by Louis Columbus, principal, DELMIAworks benchmarking Compensation Amid a Pandemic: Trends in the Plastics Industry by Ashley Turrell, membership & analytics director, MAPP talent Manufacturing Training and Jobs for the Reentry Population by Liz Stevens, contributing writer, Plastics Business

54 departments viewpoint.....................................6 association................................. 24 news.......................................... 52 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 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 Steve Bieszczat, IQMS Jim Bott, INCOE Brendan Cahill, PTG Silicones Craig Carrel, Team 1 Plastics, Inc. Rich Dorans, PTA Plastics Jim Eberle, MXL Industries Glen Fish, Revere Plastics Systems LLC Norm Forest, Dymotek Molding Technologies Chris Gedwed, Cosmetic Specialties International Jim Kepler, Intertech Plastics Tom Nagler, Natech Plastics, Inc. Derrill Rice, Plastic Components, Inc. Missy Rogers, Noble Plastics, Inc. Tom Tredway, Erie Molded Plastics, Inc. Adam Wachter, Engineered Profiles LLC Scott Walton, Harbour Results Tom Wood, E-S Plastic Products

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 Liz Stevens

Art Director Becky Arensdorf Graphic Designer Kelly Adams

Circulation Manager Brenda Schell

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 5


When You Lose Your Temper...


have reflected much on the opening keynote presentation of October’s Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference, entitled “The Unpardonable Sins of Leadership” and delivered by Phil Van Hooser. His message was a refresher and a wakeup call about the basics – the “blocking and tackling,” if you will – of great leadership. The bottom-line message for me: Every interaction a leader has with an employee or a peer either enhances the quality of the relationship or diminishes the quality of the relationship. Phil used a specific example about an engagement he had many years ago while serving as a human resource director. It taught him a valuable lesson in dealing with internal anger, frustration and pent-up feelings. During a heated and emotional exchange with an employee about a company issue, Phil gave in to the temptation to openly describe how he felt, which was unfortunately received as an attack on the employee’s charter. As can be imagined, the employee responded in-kind and angrily left the office, slamming the door on the way back to the production floor. Within minutes, Phil’s boss learned of the engagement and summoned Phil to his office. During the brief exchange, Phil’s boss took out a piece of paper and wrote the following words: When you lose your temper Phil’s boss then took the piece of paper, did some editing and slid the yellow sheet back across his desk to reveal the same words, with three crossed out: When you lose your temper He went on to explain that it only took a couple of seconds for Phil to lose those things that were essential to his leadership: He lost his credibility, he lost his integrity and he lost his professionalism. Leaders must reflect on the level of difficulty in building trust in a relationship and how quickly that trust can be eroded or, in some cases, eliminated altogether. According to David Horsager, the author of The Trust Edge, distrust is the greatest expense of every leader and company, while trusted leadership is the number one reason people want to work for an organization. Phil’s message was a simple yet impactful reminder about the basics of leading well. For many, the last several months have

6 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

been truly difficult, filled with anxiety, stress and increased concerns about the future. When under extreme pressure, we, as leaders, sometimes forget the basics. As for me, I work to continually remind myself that, in general, people want to do well. They want to perform, they take pride in their work, and they do not want to make mistakes. When I think about these things in the heat of an intense exchange, it helps me to find the proper words and to think through the things I need to say before I say them.

I work to continually remind myself that, in general, people want to do well. They want to perform, they take pride in their work, and they do not want to make mistakes. Furthermore, I feel that as leaders we must recognize that many of the conflicts that erupt between people happen because they care about their jobs, care about the customer and care about the company. When I take the time to see that the act of caring is what is creating a conflict, it helps me to frame my feedback when the stakes are high. But, as Phil explained, leaders are human, and sometimes we fail to lead correctly when situations are critical. It is in these situations that we must set our egos aside, eloquently swallow the pill of humility, admit our wrongdoing and learn from it – which is one more lesson a good leader must learn.

Executive Director, MAPP

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Benchmarking Conference Goes Virtual With COVID-19 interrupting travel plans and restricting large gatherings, the MAPP team reacted rapidly to create an online conference experience that not only delivered value, but also ensured connections could still be made among attendees. The Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference was held October 19 through 23, featuring keynote speakers, prerecorded learning experiences with live question and answer sessions, a virtual sponsor exhibit area and two online receptions for attendees. The virtual conference allowed companies an advantage over the traditional in-person event: Rather than sending a few team members to Indianapolis, processors were able to register the entire staff. This led to a record-breaking 1,000+ registrations, with many new event attendees. Chat functions were enabled during keynotes and sessions, allowing attendees to interact and share thoughts about speaker content. The receptions, held Tuesday and Thursday after sessions were completed, were in the form of live Zoom meetings with small breakout rooms. Industry friends gathered to reconnect, reflect on the day’s meetings and share their experiences. More than 50 keynotes, sessions and breakout discussion opportunities offered unprecedented learning during the annual conference, and a brief look at some of that content is provided here. Event content will remain online and available to registered attendees until late November.

Opportunity is Knocking

Troy Nix, MAPP Executive Director Opportunity is knocking. It’s ironic – we developed this theme months ago, before the pandemic, and suddenly we came into a worldwide crisis. Over the last seven or eight months, some of us haven’t heard opportunity knocking, but we’ve heard the doors of disappointment slamming loudly. However, if we can become more self-aware in how we view our own outlook – become more aware of positivity in our mindset – we better understand how opportunity is knocking. It’s this concept of hope. When people become more hopeful, they’re able to take the dark lens off their vision, where things are clearer and brighter. You show me a person with an extreme level of hope, and I’ll show you a person that sees more opportunity. I’ll show you a person more fulfilled in their lives. I’ll show you a person who is happier.

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Insight from Chris Kuehl, economist

Q: What does your crystal ball say about trends in reshoring/nearshoring? A: I think you will see more reshoring. What may not happen is a big job growth, because the companies that are able to reshore are competing with the Chinas and the Indias of the world with technology – they are increasingly using robotics and artificial intelligence. Where we’ll also see more reshoring or nearshoring is with the companies that don’t want to mess with the transportation challenges of supplying from overseas. Ocean cargo is not reliable, and transportation costs have gone up significantly. So, I think we will see a lot of business come back, but it may not mean that jobs come back.

The Unpardonable Sins of Leadership Phil Van Hooser, keynote My definition of leadership is pretty straightforward: Leadership is the ability to offer service and the willingness to take action.

Service is meeting and/or exceeding the expectations of our customers. If we meet and exceed expectations, we never have any problems. Think of the leader/follower relationship in the same way you think of the customer/service provider relationship. Every follower, every employee, every person has expectations of their leader. On a broad scale, they always have two expectations of their leader: They want their leader to have a plan, and they want their leader to communicate that plan to those who will be called upon to enact the plan. The ability to offer service means we have to regularly, consistently and effectively communicate with our followers. There are things we should never do as a leader – these are the unpardonable sins of leadership. Insensitivity. Sensitivity is not only important, it’s critical. To lead effectively, we’ve got to connect with our followers. Leadership connection is all about understanding who it is that we’re interacting with and what they need. The essential element of leadership is followers. And the essential element of connecting with followers is being sensitive to those circumstances and situations they encounter. Indifference. If we have a sense of indifference to an employee or to a follower in the workplace, that can be the kiss of death to our ability to lead, influence or impact most effectively. We should never be indifferent, but we also should never give the indications of indifference. The single most important question a leader can ask a follower is: What do you think? But a leader should never ask that question unless he or she is fully prepared to listen to the answer with an open mind and a considerate spirit. A lack of self-discipline. Self-discipline actually means “self-control.” The single most devastating and damaging self-inflicted wound a leader can experience is associated with anger. When you lose your temper, you lose. You lose credibility, integrity and professionalism.

Moments that Matter

Brigadier General Maureen LeBoeuf, Thayer Leadership This is our daughter. As you can see, Jackie is a baker. Jackie had a baking job at a boutique bakery in Honolulu. She had a 30-minute drive at the end of the day, and one day she was driving home, talking to me, and she said, “You know, Mom, there’s a recipe we make sometimes and it calls for coffee. There’s always a little bit of coffee left over and, whenever we make it, whoever makes it will offer the other bakers a little bit of coffee. Except for the head baker. When she makes that recipe, she doesn’t offer any of us coffee – she drinks it all herself.” And then she said, “You know what, Mom? It’s not about the coffee.” Jackie knows that leading is about taking care of people. It’s not about the coffee.

Stress Testing the Business in 2020

Scott Walton, Harbour Results The year 2020 has increased financial strain in the processing industry. With economic recovery 12 to 18 months away, take immediate steps to get through this next set of challenges. Match supply and demand as close to 1:1 as possible. The marketplace will get tighter and forecasting is increasingly challenging, so flexibility of supply is critical to recovery or sustained performance. Perform an honest assessment of your business in nine critical areas: management, sales and marketing, human resources, finance and administration, operations, engineering, materials, quality and program management. Use the results to develop a roadmap to close the gaps that are exposed. Focus on financial health. Get your debt under control, manage working capital, gauge capital performance against investment and then redirect strategically. Stabilize the business by being brutally honest about the position you’re in, and don’t wait to correct course. Drive efficiency by looking past equipment, technology and people to PROCESS. Adopt a “go see” mentality and look for physical and transactional waste. n

THANK YOU TO THE EVENT SPONSORS Platinum Sponsors: AMCO Polymers; Carbon; DELMIAworks; Federated Insurance; Harbour Results, Inc.; MHolland; RJG Gold Sponsors: INCOE, MBS Advisors, PolySource Silver Sponsors: Chase Plastics, Grainger, iD Additives, JSW, Progressive Components, Stout, Vive, Yushin Speaker Bureau Sponsors: Benesch, Epicor, Mueller Prost, Paulson Training Programs, Routsis Training, WayPoint Marketing Communications Interactive Exhibit Sponsors: Conair, Ice Miller, Plante Moran, Plastics Business

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 9


Are Women the Answer to Manufacturing’s Talent Crisis? Four plastics processing leaders say “yes” by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business


olving the talent problem in the US manufacturing industry has been – and will continue to be – a priority for plastics processors. Perhaps traditionally seen as a job for men, women increasingly are stepping up to take roles in manufacturing facilities. Four women at the top of the profession spoke with Plastics Business to discuss their start in the industry (three of the four succeeded in a family business), the role a strong mentor can play in encouraging success and the steps that manufacturers can take to encourage more women to look at jobs in the industry.

Getting their start

Behrendt: My parents founded the company in 1983 when I was in middle school, starting with two machines and two employees in a 3,000 sq. foot building. This grew to 145,000 sq feet in Webster City, Iowa, and 40,000 sq. ft in Falls City, Nebraska, with 49 presses. When I was younger, I didn’t have the intention of coming back to the family company. I wanted to work within pharmaceutical sales, so I found a way in – and then realized I didn’t like being a road Sherri Behrendt is warrior all the time. Coming back managing director of to work for your parents is a big Vantec LLC, and vice change after being self-managed, president of sales for but the manufacturing industry Angstrom Automotive wasn’t a hard choice for me because Group. I grew up in this company. As my parents grew the business, I would help with answering phones, cleaning, running machines or delivering what I could once I could drive. When I came back

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to the business, I was able to step into the sales growth and networking that have always been my passion with roles in sales and marketing, and then purchasing. Near the end of 2008, I began my role as CEO and became an owner of the company with my sister and parents. The company was sold on September 18, 2020, to Angstrom Automotive Group. Barras: I grew up in the industry. My parents started Westec in 1969, but I never thought I’d wind up working in plastics – I was studying Psychology in college. But, after moving back to California from Virginia, I needed a job…and Westec had an opening in customer service. For 27 years, I’ve worked in several different departments – customer service, accounting, payroll and program management. It’s been a little odd – my second shift foreman Tammy Barras is has been here for 39 years, so he’s president of Westec known me since I was 11. We have Plastics Corporation. a lot of family history here, but that also means I had to prove myself to everyone – my dad, other employees and those outside the company. In all of my roles with the company, I never reported to my parents until 2012. Then in 2013, I was promoted to director of customer relations, and then to vice president in 2015 before taking over as president in January 2016. Enochs: My grandfather started the company in 1979, and my grandmother was a senior leader, so I was raised in manufacturing and in the plastics industry. Seeing my grandmother in a leadership role made me want to be in that leadership role as well, and I spent a lot of time sitting behind her desk pretending to be the boss. I began in a professional capacity right out of high school, working mainly in our accounting department, and then I majored in business administration Tarra Enochs is the CEO and management in college so I of Tom Smith Industries. could focus on the operations side

of the business. But where I really started to get a grasp on where we were going to grow and change was in human resources. I was given the opportunity for an HR management role in 2008 at the height of the recession. I was thrown into a whirlwind of what it means to be compassionate and how you handle people in times of distress. That also was just a couple of years after my grandfather had passed away. Losing him and then going through organizational struggles during the economic downturn solidified my desire to be the next leader of the organization. I was 27 at the time. I went to my grandmother late in 2018 and told her I was ready, and I was formally promoted to the CEO position last July. Walker: My career in manufacturing was not planned, but my career in leading people was. My degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University solidified for me the great desire I had to have a positive impact on employee lives every day. Upon graduation, I worked for Mobil Oil and Chemical in the company’s upstate New York operations. I then accepted an employee relations role with Schlegel Corporation, a company that had just started a Melanie Walker is venture (TASUS) for our current the CEO of TASUS parent company, Tsuchiya Co. Ltd Corporation. of Nagoya Japan. I seized upon the opportunity to move to Bloomington, Indiana, and assume the role of human resources and finance manager to help start this new venture. I became the president of TASUS a couple of years later. It was a lot by chance and not by design. I’ve always told my kids to just get out there and work, because that gives you your answers about what you want to do in your career. I learned that I thrived better in an environment where I could wear a lot of hats, which is typical in a mid-sized company. I am, oddly enough, the CEO of a plastics injection molding company with no engineering background or prior manufacturing experience. It’s been all about leading people, having a vision and recognizing that if we have the right employee culture, the bottom line can take care of itself.

Leading women in the industry

Behrendt: Vantec Inc. was certified Woman Owned by WBENC up until we became a part of the Angstrom Automotive Group. Now, we can be certified as a minority-owned business so that our customers still can enjoy the diversity metrics that they were benefitting from previously. We roughly have 50% women at Vantec LLC throughout production and leadership, out of 190 employees. I wouldn’t say it was a choice, that’s how it happened. Clearly, I don’t believe we should treat anyone differently, no matter who they are – hiring is based on who is best for the job.

But even when I look back at the picture of Vantec from 1994 when we were ISO-certified, we had a number of women in that picture. Barras: Of our 95 employees, 66 of us are female! Our upper management team consists of 10 members, four of which are female, including our controller, purchasing manager, quality assurance manager and me. The majority of our machine operators also are female, and a good portion of us in the office are female. It’s not intentional. I just need somebody who can do the job, and I would guess that the majority of the people who are hired don’t even know when they’re interviewed that the company is run by a female. We do have several families who work here at Westec – for instance, we have four sisters on first shift, and they’ve been here almost 20 years. And, we do offer referral incentives, so that could be part of it. We take care of our employees. Enochs: Currently we have about 35 women employed across the organization, from entry level positions all the way to CEO, with a total of 70 employees. For us, diversity and inclusion has always been a core value so, while we don’t specifically seek out women for roles in any capacity in the organization, our hiring practices always have included making sure we have representation from all capacities, whether women, men or minorities. We started as a minority business – my grandfather was native Western Cherokee. Walker: Our plants are about 40% women. The headquarters, which I thought was interesting, is at 39%. As I looked at it, I realized our headquarters is heavily influenced by the engineers who design and build our automation and tooling. That skews the numbers, because we all know there aren’t a lot of female engineers out there. At the plants, we’ve always looked for women in leadership roles. I’ve had female plant leaders and often have female HR managers, quality managers and program managers.

Mentors make a difference

Behrendt: I was mentored by a number of people in my life, but my father had the biggest influence on me. He was running North American operations for a company that was the largest construction company in the world at the time. I saw him work hard, traveling all over in commercial and corporate jets, and thought, “Wow, this is what I want to do.” My parents started Vantec after he left his role at Blount. Mary Andringa, chairman of the board of Vermeer Corporation, also has filled that mentor role. She recruited me to the National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) board. She was the first female to ever chair NAM, which I thought was cool, and now I’m the first page 12 u

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OUTLOOK t page 11

female chair of the Manufacturing Excellence Network within the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), where I had many mentors within manufacturing. I feel like I’m following Mary’s lead in that. Barras: I can’t say that I’ve ever had anyone specifically mentor me. Obviously, I've watched, listened and learned from my parents throughout the years, and I’ve taken several classes and seminars on leadership, which all have helped me grow into the person I’ve become. We also have a management consultant who works with our team using the Myers Briggs personality test, and this has been a huge learning tool for me to understand how others process their thoughts and how best to manage or work with each personality type. This question was interesting for me – as a woman, I think we sometimes tend to put ourselves last. We tend to find solutions for others before finding support for ourselves! But I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by a really strong team, and we all mentor each other. We’ve grown together. We’ve taken the business and tripled our sales in the last eight years and it’s amazing to look at the team I have and say, “We did that.”

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Enochs: John Keighly has been my formal mentor, a local business owner who owned multiple plastics molding companies. From the first time we met, he reminded me a lot of my grandfather, so there was an ease to our conversations, but he only accepted a mentorship role contingent on the fact that the organization remained a legacy company. He did not want to mentor me into selling the organization. He’s been an excellent tool in my tool pouch, especially as I was going into a new position and a new part of my career. I also have an informal mentor – a woman I’ve looked up to for many years named Shelly Heller. We are very parallel in our experiences – she grew up in her father’s business and when her father stepped back from the organization, I got to watch the transformation not only in her business but also in her. She’s also been an integral part of our company gaining our WBE certification. Walker: When I was at Cornell as a full-time student working full time, I interviewed for an open position with the associate dean of the college. She wouldn’t hire me because it was just enough money that she was afraid I wouldn’t move on. Even though it didn’t seem helpful at that moment, she became the person I went to for advice and was amazing at helping me make decisions about moving through my education and on to my career. Once I got to Indiana, I was somewhat on my own. While community leaders and others influenced me, the one organization that really helped the most was the Young Presidents Organization. I was in a small group with really bright people who had lived a lot of life and run some good companies, so they were instrumental in my development and maturation in my role and in manufacturing. I can’t really recall my parents or anyone encouraging me to find a mentor or reach out to someone to get advice, but I have found younger women to be more inclined to look for that than we might have been. Maybe it’s just something we’ve learned is valuable, and we can encourage young people to take advantage of it.

Can women be the answer to the talent problem in manufacturing?

Behrendt: Anyone can do whatever they set their mind to, if they want it bad enough – that was almost a quote from my parents when I was growing up. Maybe it’s because they only had girls – I’m the youngest of two, and we both worked at the plant. Now, it’s up to us to get young women interested and involved. STEM in K-12 schools is very important in that effort. There were too many years of schools encouraging every student to go to college, but not everyone has to come out of college with debt. Instead, students can go into the trades and learn skills within the industries. Schools, parents and teachers have to let young page 14 u

12 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

There’s no substitute for experience. Stout was proud to sponsor the 2020 MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference where Managing Director, Mike Benson had the pleasure to present with former business owner, Rick Gill about his personal experience with the recent sale of his company, Polyfab, to Japanese buyer DAIHO. Stout advised Rick and Polyfab on this transaction. Together, Rick and Mike addressed a variety of topics, including knowing when it’s the right time to sell, preparing for the sale process, and lessons learned.

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OUTLOOK t page 12

women know they’re capable of anything – they can become good in technology and take on STEM roles. We’ve hosted Manufacturing Day tours a number of times, bringing in young students to let them play with the plastic and see the robots. Manufacturing isn’t just one type of job – you can build tools or program robots. It takes all types of people and skill sets.

of two shop tours a year for a design manufacturing class. It makes a difference when they see the manufacturing environment, rather than just hear about it. This was totally lost on our generation. We were supposed to grow up and be teachers and office workers. My school didn’t offer wood shop, and we certainly didn’t have classes that would promote students wanting to get into tool design or learning CAD. Today, I see it spinning back a little bit and that’s Barras: Absolutely, woman can be the answer. Women are just as a good thing as those in skilled positions retire, and we have to be capable as men in the manufacturing world, but we need to present able to fill their positions. these options to them when they’re young and still in school. STEM and the FIRST Robotics competition are amazing ways Enochs: It’s important that we promote our manufacturing to introduce young girls to the possibilities of the manufacturing businesses and open positions in more women-centered areas. For world. My nine-year-old niece asked for a 3D printer for Christmas! example, we’ve got WBENC, and we make sure to engage with Her school offers design classes using CAD, and she already is WBENC to promote our job opportunities through those channels. learning to design. My brother is a high school teacher in New For me, being on LinkedIn and making sure I’m connecting Jersey, and he coaches the school’s robotics team for the annual with other women like me is important. Then, when I post a job FIRST Robotics competition. This presents an amazing team opportunity, I can reach other women in related fields, which tends model for kids to work together to plan, design, create and build to get the word out even faster. Women have big networks, and. I a robot using CAD, CNCs and other equipment. On his team, the use that network to promote my business and available job openings lead engineers have been mostly female for the last three years. so we can get more women engaged in manufacturing. I also have We also work with San Jose State University and do a minimum two colleagues that I work with who have started nonprofits that pertain specifically to young women in STEM-related fields. These organizations are geared toward young women in urban locations who may not have access to mentors or STEM educational opportunities. The key is getting them early – making sure they’re not already halfway through their high school careers. We need to expose them to the STEM-related fields when they’re in junior high. In some ways, I think girls are afraid to compete against the boys – even now, in 2020 – which is ridiculous. A strong role model can show them what’s possible.

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Walker: I have spent my career talking to girls in middle school and high school about my career and how girls could get to where I am. We have to start by letting girls know it’s an option – and it’s a good option – because women can have a very good career in manufacturing. I talk to them a lot about robotics and automation, the joy of making something and the varied type of employees. It’s important to give them this big, round picture of what manufacturing looks like. And, we have made some headway in educating guidance counselors, because manufacturing often isn’t on a list of career choices they talk to their students about. We’ve spent time bringing teachers and guidance counselors in for a full day of education or an afternoon of plant tours, and that has an impact. Students and teachers alike often are surprised when they walk through a spotless plant filled with cool technology and new equipment. They’re wowed by it. That is something we can and need to do regularly. By the time students are in college, they often have a path set before them. The middle school and high school levels are where we’ve got to get them, and it’s our responsibility to develop their interest. n

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Regrind, Reuse, Recycle: Plastikos Medical Makes Sustainability a Top Priority by Brittany Willes, contributing writer, Plastics Business


ell aware of the growing concerns surrounding plastic recyclability and sustainability, Plastikos, Inc., located in Erie, Pennsylvania, has taken steps to be at the forefront in addressing these issues. The custom injection molder and its sister company Micro Mold believe “success isn’t simply measured in dollars and cents. It’s the satisfaction of knowing that we help our customers deliver revolutionary products – and that their end users benefit greatly from our involvement,” according to the company’s website. The company cites environmental stewardship as one of its pillars. In late 2019, injection molder Plastikos, Inc., launched Plastikos Medical – a division of the company that focuses on manufacturing precision molded products for Class II and Class III medical devices. Along with producing high-quality products, one of the biggest goals for Plastikos Medical was to ensure that the parts being produced were done so at the highest level of sustainability. According to Dan Snyder, technical sales manager, Plastikos has a history of tailoring processes to account for good sustainability and stewardship practices. “We’ve always had a focus on environmental stewardship,” said Snyder, “especially from a leadership aspect. Minimizing our environmental footprint has been a key component to how our businesses operate.”

As such, leadership set itself a rigorous standard for developing a method of reusing or recycling 100% of waste generated from the Plastikos Medical set a goal to ensure parts were produced at the highest level of sustainability. So far this runner systems used to produce its customers’ year, the company has already generated approximately 60,000 pounds of regrind, all of which was either products. Considering the production of many reused and recycled. single-use medical devices often results in high amounts of waste, the emphasis on reuse significant emphasis on working hand-in-hand with its clients at and/or recycle of materials becomes even more important. the very start of any project to design and produce products with The first step in cutting down on unnecessary waste comes an aim toward reducing raw material consumption – typically via from working directly with customers. Plastikos Medical places full hot runner systems. However, utilizing a hot runner system is

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not applicable for all projects. In these cases, the result is often a much higher amount of material consumption and regrind. To address the regrind material not used for the finished product, Plastikos has partnered with a variety of recycling partners. In fact, by mid-2020, Plastikos already had generated approximately 60,000 pounds of regrind, all of which was either reused or recycled. “There are certain Class I applications (meaning they have no contact with patients) where reground resins are permitted,” explained Snyder. “For our business though, regrind is generally not permissible.” Plastikos’ partners are able to take the company’s high-quality regrind and repurpose it for other nonmedical applications where regrind is permitted. “Working with other resin recyclers has been key to avoiding unused material from entering the landfill.” As Snyder mentioned, “Our goal was to recycle 100% of the material that we could not use in the molded product.” Thanks to its various efforts with its recycling partners, as well as an emphasis on automation to minimize material handling and direct labor, Plastikos has not only met its goal but surpassed it. “Now our goal is to reduce unused resin by continuing to work with clients up front to implement full runner-less systems, where applicable.” Part of the company’s efforts to further reduce material consumption includes retooling and retrofitting molds. “Right now, we have a major effort in place to retrofit several older high-running tools with hot runner systems,” stated Snyder. As hot runner technologies continue to improve and advance, it is not only Plastikos that benefits from the evolving technology. Clients also are benefiting from the company’s commitment to generating less waste and greater recycling. For instance, new side-gated hot runner systems are proving to offer considerable cost savings for clients.

With the newer hot runner systems, “We can typically attain faster cycle times, which benefits our clients in terms of cost savings,” said Snyder. Plus, “There is essentially no wasted material as a result of the runner system.” Good news for those looking to enhance their environmental sustainability. Of course, there are some drawbacks with any new technology. “The downside, of course, is the cost of the hot manifold and controller,” said Snyder. “You need to have the volumes on the device to justify the upfront capital.” For many clients, the upfront costs are becoming less of a concern. Given its commitment to reduced material consumption and greater resin reuse/recycling, it should come as little surprise that these are not the only efforts Plastikos Medical has taken as it strives to maintain high standards of environmental stewardship. When the Plastikos Medical facility was designed, it was with an eye toward maximizing natural lighting throughout. From the Cleanroom Molding Floor to the warehouse to the loading docks, natural lighting has been used where possible to cut down on the amount of electricity used. Additionally, the company installed highly efficient LED lighting where natural lighting was not sufficient. Other measures include a stormwater management collection system, reduced CO2 output and more. As climate change continues to be a hot button issue, consumers are demanding more transparency and greater sustainability from the products they consume. Everything from drinking straws to medical devices had become subject to intense scrutiny. As such, companies like Plastikos Medical are leading the way in reimagining the design and production process of vital plastics products and will continue to invest in environmentally friendly processes that benefit both company and customer. n

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Technology Trends in Auxiliary Equipment by Liz Stevens, contributing writer, Plastics Business


or plastics processors and the companies that provide auxiliary equipment to them, 2020 was the year that was… was a challenge, was an opportunity, was a reminder that we work better together and was definitely not business as usual. This article takes a look at how new technology has helped auxiliary equipment suppliers to meet the challenges, seize the opportunities, reach out to help their customers in a time of need and forge ahead, despite the altered business landscape.

Responding to COVID-19

COVID-19 was the lens through which plastics processors and auxiliary equipment suppliers, like everyone else, saw the world in 2020. While many industries were sidelined by the pandemic, the need for personal protective equipment, testing gear and medical products kept the plastics industry working steadily, if not working overtime. To meet the needs of customers as they responded rapidly to changing market conditions, industry suppliers such as The Conair Group, Frigel North America and Wittmann Battenfeld had to react quickly themselves. The Conair Group of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, provides blending, conveying, drying, extrusion, heat transfer, material storage and size reduction equipment for the plastics industry. As Sam Rajkovich, vice president sales and marketing, sees it, COVID19’s most notable impact on Conair is that “processors are requesting quick turnarounds on orders for new equipment, as the pandemic forces them to expand capacity or even change their product mix.” Conair has responded by expediting its manufacturing schedule to match the demand, sometimes shifting orders to the top of the list for “must have” requests. “This is how Conair was able to support two medical extruders who found themselves in critical need of additional capacity for production of IV tubing (PVC),” said Rajkovich. “By utilizing products that are preconfigured and documented for medical applications, we prioritized the company’s order (with the understanding and permission from other customers) and delivered the new medical extrusion line 10 weeks ahead of schedule.” In another instance, a Conair customer asked for a new extrusion line in just eight weeks – less than half of the normal timeframe. “We didn’t have all of the needed equipment in our production chain,” Rajkovich explained, “but we knew that customer trials at the Conair Extrusion Technical Center had been put on hold due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. We were able pull a multi-pass cooling tank, an ATC tube coiler and a conveying system from the lab line to meet the timeline.” At Frigel North America, East Dundee, Illinois, the company found that demand for its cooling systems and technical support has risen since many of its customers in medical and related industries have invested in expansion and upgrades of equipment to meet

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the COVID-19 needs. Lou Zavala, national sales manager, explained that Frigel’s customers “are asking for our expertise and technical assistance when they are trying to enhance their operations. Our ability to analyze what they are trying to do has been critical, and we’ve been doing a lot of online collaboration with tool builders and machine suppliers. Instead of the handshake and a meeting in a conference room, it’s remote. In some ways, it’s made us more efficient. We’re getting better and faster at responding and supporting our customers, even when they have staff working from home.” Wittmann Battenfeld, Torrington, Connecticut, is a supplier of injection molding machines, robots and automation, drying, blending, granulating, conveying, central conveying systems, temperature control and air cooling equipment. Wittmann’s vice president of sales, Sonny Morneault, said that at his company the biggest impact of COVID-19 is a striking increase in demand for robots and automation. “The recent rise in demand for plastics processing equipment has mostly been related to the increase in demand for PPE-related products – masks, packaging, caps and closures, and containers,” he said. “Another big one has been DIY-related items likes home appliances, totes for storage and organizing, shelving and home repair items. This has driven the market since earlier in the year, and it hasn’t seemed to slow down yet.”

Reducing Manpower, Increasing Machine Power

2020’s COVID-19 pandemic only added to that ever-present challenge for plastics processors: the skills gap. Wittmann has worked to address this issue by adding integration of controls throughout molding machines. Wittmann’s Sonny Morneault explained: “This provides the setup technician an easy, accurate and error-proof method of setting up an entire work cell directly from the machine controller.” Integrated controls also provide a method for one-touch verification that all of the auxiliaries connected to a machine are the correct configuration to run a specific job. “For example, with a job that requires a dryer, 250F degree mold temperature controller, a color feeder and a robot,” said Morneault, “having Wittmann 4.0 ‘mold card’ installed on the machine verifies that you have all those correct pieces of equipment connected.” If so, operation set-up is as easy as recalling presets, and all of the parameters will then be fed directly to each piece of auxiliary equipment. If not, the operator must make the proper changes to the equipment to meet the specifications of the job requirements (i.e. robot size, dryer temp, mold temp, blender recipe, etc.) and, once done, all of the presets can be recalled automatically. As processors struggle to find qualified employees, Conair is “making its controls easier to use and its equipment easier

We are focused on Industry 4.0, on how we can remotely communicate, and on how our customers can have better access to the data and the processes within their plants... to operate and maintain,” said Conair’s Sam Rajkovich. “This lowers the training threshold and allows for general laborers with basic instructions to be able to operate even complex machines.” The company also is standardizing the look and feel of controls across different product lines. “There are many processors that use Conair equipment exclusively and we are trying to make the user experience from one piece of equipment to the next as similar and seamless as possible,” said Rajkovich. Frigel is aiding its customers by taking some of the burden away from technicians through remote login capabilities that provide access to equipment and data collection. Lou Zavala explained that remote login offers several advantages. “By being able to remotely see our equipment or, with the customer’s approval, make changes to the equipment, we can troubleshoot,” he said. “Our technicians can go online to correct problems and keep plants running before an issue causes a major shutdown problem.” Zavala noted that remote login is great for giving Frigel support experts access to equipment, but it also can allow a customer to have its own senior technician, for example, troubleshoot the company’s equipment or reset parameters, even when the technician is off shift. When remote login is integrated with data collection, equipment changes can be tracked. Frigel’s Al Fosco, marketing manager, explained that data collection includes auditing functionality, so that customers can see what settings or parameters were changed on a piece of equipment, and when the changes occurred. Mindful that customers have other priorities for their attention, Fosco believes that Frigel can best help them by providing toptier support and effective training. “Our customers are focused on their machines,” said Fosco, “because that’s where their expertise lies. We have to make support as simple and userfriendly as possible, on-site as well as via our support here in Chicago.” Initial customer training, at system set-up, also is key for Frigel. “When we start with a system,” said Fosco, “whether page 20 u

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SOLUTIONS t page 19 it is a machine-side unit or a central system, we always train the people, even multiple shifts when required, in how to use the utilities in our control systems.” Zavala agreed and noted that Frigel has recently scaled up training for its own sales reps and field technicians. “We have come up with a series of product classes,” he said “where we go through the equipment’s capabilities, how to use it and what recommendations to make for certain applications as a way to enhance our ability to communicate online. It’s an online world right now.”

Maximizing Energy Efficiency, Minimizing Waste

While taking advantage of increased machine power to help customers make up for a shortage of manpower, auxiliary equipment suppliers also know that there is a strong emphasis on sustainability across all industries and in all sectors. In response, they are focusing on helping customers use every kilowatt wisely and generate minimal waste. Conair has implemented new technologies in material storage and handling that reduce waste and also has addressed energy conservation in its dryer design. Sam Rajkovich said that the potential for waste can arise in a plant’s automatic conveyor system when material is misdirected so that the wrong material is delivered to processing machines. Conair has been developing a range of “proofing” solutions. “These systems make it virtually impossible to load the wrong material into the right silo and ensure that the right material is used with the right mold at the right time.” In addition, the company’s Wave Conveying™ vacuum material handling system “reduces energy costs by employing variable-speed drives on the vacuum pumps so that the system consumes only the amount of energy required to deliver material to its destination.” “Energy conservation,” said Rajkovich, “particularly in PET bottle production, has been a priority for Conair for 15 years or

more.” Today, the latest generation EnergySmart dryers feature a desiccant wheel that provides consistently stable drying air and requires a minimum of energy for regeneration. The dryer’s variable frequency blower drive (VFD) automatically adjusts the dryer’s output to match the requirements of the process. These features keep the total amount of drying energy to a minimum even if throughput varies.” Wittmann Battenfeld has been a leader in conserving energy and reducing waste due to the strict European standards within which it operates. “As a European equipment manufacturer, energy and waste have been top of mind for many years,” said Morneault. “All of our equipment is rated ‘best in class’ for energy efficiency based on the Euromap 60.1 standards.” The company has engineered developments to make strides in energy efficiency. “One of these is the use of VFD’s (variable frequency drives),” Morneault said. “We incorporated them into several different products to minimize the need for constant power in heaters, pumps and drives.” Frigel’s Lou Zavala firmly believes in the power of the company’s digital controls and other features to conserve energy and reduce waste, stating that, “the more data you can provide, the better you can control the tolerance of the process.” This includes a four-point focus – looking at temperature, flow, energy required and load – to create the most enhanced, efficient systems. Tolerance alarms prevent the production of substandard parts. “For example,” Zavala said, “on our microgels and turbogels, we have an alarm band. If you are out of the prescribed flow and pressure band, we are going to send a signal that something is not right, so you can try to catch it before you are making bad parts.” Al Fosco reinforced the resource savings generated by Frigel’s process controls. “Water savings has always been one of our big claims, but also energy savings. Variable-frequency drives and

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pumps and even compressors reduce the energy to only what’s needed, rather than things running full out all the time.”

Toward Connected Technology

“At Frigel,” said Lou Zavala, “we are focused on Industry 4.0, on how we can remotely communicate, and on how our customers can have better access to the data and the processes within their plants, so they have a better understanding of how their machines operate.” The company has worked with one customer, for instance, using its MIND (machine interactive database) to create a dashboard to access plant data from four different locations. “When you are able to collect and analyze this data, you understand the performance of your equipment. This allows the customer – and us – to see when we are at a point where we need to do some preventive maintenance on the equipment. We can step in, we can troubleshoot, we can make recommendations.” Wittmann is heavily invested in Industry 4.0, too, with technology that the company has dubbed “Wittmann 4.0” and which includes data collection as well as remote monitoring and maintenance. Wittman 4.0 integration includes “mold recipes” that specify and confirm that all auxiliary equipment

is in place for a particular production run, and also ties all alarms, performance and command logs, and software version confirmations directly though machine controllers. Conair’s Sam Rajkovich described his company’s next step in connected technology for auxiliary equipment as being a push toward proactive maintenance: alerting the maintenance crew and operators to equipment needs before a shut-down occurs. “Conair has dedicated itself and its products to the elimination of down time and to fast response service,” he said. “These goals have allowed Conair to focus on connected technologies like SmartServices™, Conair’s cloud-based Industry 4.0 solution.” This system collects machine data through a network of compact data hubs that transmit it into a secure, cloud-based database for processing and presentation in the user’s human machine interface (HMI), where it appears in a dashboard format. The system allows users to set up a series of key performance indicators (KPIs) that show machine performance over time, identify anomalies and display alarm status continually. page 22 u Powerful, Smart & Reliable Robots


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SOLUTIONS t page 21 “Because it is web-based,” said Rajkovich, “any authorized user can access this important information from any smart device anywhere at any time. Should a particular piece of equipment cause an alarm, service personnel can identify the cause and plan repairs without being anywhere near the machine.” In addition, set-up staff can track and adjust operating parameters from any location, using controls as if they were standing in front of the machine. “The cloud-based nature of the system,” he said, “means it operates separate from a company’s internal network and, thus, poses no IT-security issues.” As we turn the calendar page to 2021, plastics processors can look forward to a variety of new and improved technology from auxiliary equipment suppliers. Conair will be offering its latest generation of EnergySmart dryers, featuring a desiccant wheel and Optimizer™ Mode for automatically adjusting the variable frequency blower drives. Conair also will offer SmartServices™, the company’s cloudbased Industry 4.0 solution.

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The cloud-based nature of the system means it operates separate from a company’s internal network and, thus, poses no IT-security issues. From Frigel, expect more connectivity among equipment, an expansion of the company’s modular equipment designs and multi-stage chillers. Wittmann will incorporate variable frequency drives into more of its equipment and will offer data collection, remote monitoring and maintenance with its Wittmann 4.0 solution. These evolving solutions mean opportunities for improvement in plastics processing facilities. n

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2020 Innovation Award Winners: Technology on the Factory Floor At MAPP’s core lives the mission to connect and share innovative best practices. Every year, MAPP’s board of directors selects a relevant and topical “theme” for the Innovation Award. MAPP members are encouraged to submit their company’s best practice in this theme. Submissions are sent out to the MAPP membership, and winners are voted on and selected by their peers. Winners of the Innovation Award are recognized on stage at MAPP’s annual Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference each October – this year, virtually. Winners also receive a check, free registration to specific events and recognition in MAPP’s national publications. MAPP’s leadership team believes that being an innovator requires nothing more than owning what you do and having pride in it. Innovation isn’t something a company or an individual does separately from their everyday work. Instead, innovation is a means of taking a look at the work you and your colleagues do and seeing how you can do it better. Under $15M Annual Sales Winners: • 1st Place: Automation Plastics • 2nd Place: Noble Plastics • 3rd Place: Bamar Above $15M Annual Sales Winners: • 1st Place: Intertech Medical • 2nd Place: Falcon Plastics, Tennessee • 3rd Place: HPC This is the sixth year for the MAPP Innovation Award. Nearly 30 final submissions were submitted for voting, and more than 400 votes came in from industry peers to determine the winners. For more information on the award winners, visit www.mappinc.com. Above and Beyond Leadership Recognition Award 2020 was not a normal year for anyone, and individuals at companies across the United States have had to step up and take on new challenges like never before. This year, MAPP recognized those individuals who made a difference in a big way at their organizations. Leadership, innovation and ingenuity happen at all levels of an organization, and MAPP

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believes that it is more important than ever to celebrate those team members who heard opportunity knocking and answered the door. The recognition is given by nomination only, which means that these individuals have been recognized by co-workers at their organizations to be essential to success. The following individuals were recognized in front of 1,000 of their industry peers at the 2020 Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference in October. • Amanda Wiriya • Brian Dougall • Bryan Barrera • Danielle Truitt • Eric Berg • Suzie Thomas • Mike Hebert • Will Wilke New Members MAPP is proud to welcome the following plastics organizations into the MAPP network. • HMMI – Sparta, Tennessee • Nylacarb Corp. – Vero Beach, Florida • UPM Inc. – Baldwin Park, California • SWPC – Deep River, Connecticut • Profile Plastics, Inc. – Lake Bluff, Illinois • Tuf-Tite, Inc. – Lake Zurich, Illinois • B&D Manufacturing – Kokomo, Indiana • Placon Corporation – Madison, Wisconsin • CEW – Baldwyn, Mississippi Wage and Salary 2020 Now Available For the past 18 years, MAPP annually has published its Wage and Salary Report. The 2020 Wage and Salary Report includes comprehensive wage and salary data from over 200 plastics processors across the United States. Data includes 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 PTO 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 “Companies in the plastics industry rely on this data to help drive their compensation and remain competitive. As this data provided comes from actual payroll data from plastics companies, executives know they can use it to benchmark their compensation packages. By breaking down the information by company size and region, the report provides an easy guide to understanding how to best structure salary base and recruit talent in a competitive labor market,” stated Ashley Turrell, MAPP’s membership and analytics director. 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. MAPP Changes Membership Dues Structure Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, new members joining the MAPP

organization will see a new membership dues structure in place. Current MAPP members will not see any changes to their annual membership dues investment. This dues structure has been adjusted for the first time in 12 years. The new structure highlights key aspects of the changing industry and the mission of the MAPP organization, including the following: 1. A dues structure more reflective of current and growing company sizes 2. Increased value and opportunity offered through membership 3. Focus on investment and engagement in the industry and the association Companies current on their MAPP membership, or new companies joining the association prior to Jan. 1, 2021, will be grandfathered into the current dues structure for the upcoming year. More information on these changes and an outline of the new membership dues structure will be published on the MAPP website. If you have questions, contact the MAPP office at info@mappinc.com. n


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2020 and 2021: No End to Chaos in Sight by Chris Kuehl, managing director, Armada Corporate Intelligence Editor’s Note: Due to press deadlines, Chris Kuehl submitted this article on the morning after the election. Several states had not yet been called for either President Trump or former Vice President Biden.


t has been pointed out for years that business hates uncertainty more than anything – even certainty over bad news and crisis is preferable to not knowing what is happening. Planning is the essence of business – setting strategies that can be executed and evaluated in terms of whether they are reaching set goals. How does one set strategy in these times? Not only is there a global pandemic that worsens by the day, but the politics in the US have never been so tense, with real doubt regarding whether half the country will accept the outcome. As of this writing, we still are in doubt as regards both of these issues. It would be nice to assume that we have reached a turning point that allows us to put 2020 in the rear view mirror and look ahead to 2021 with a return of life to some semblance of normal… but that seems highly unlikely. We have had an election – and one that will rank as the angriest and most contentious in decades. Trump already has demonstrated a determination to declare himself the winner even before the race is decided and has stated that he will oppose efforts to count all the votes. It appears the Senate has not flipped, but that remains in some doubt as well, as many states still are undecided – and that will mean recounts and several weeks of uncertainty over which party will control Congress. The House of Representatives will remain in the hands of the Democrats. It appears there has not been anything close to a “blue wave” and, once again, the pollsters are revealed as completely out of touch with the voters. The state races are varied as well. In a normal year, the election would be the focal point for the business community and society in general, but this has been anything but a normal year as the pandemic continues to rage and the reaction to this virus will continue to dominate every political and economic decision well into the coming year. The question that will confront the political leaders will be the same one that confronted them before. To see what lies ahead for the US, one only has to look at Europe right now.

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The “winter wave” of the pandemic has arrived there (as it has started to in the US). The number of cases, hospitalizations and fatalities have surged, and this has provoked a return to the lockdown strategy. In country after country, there have been decisions to shutter public places, ban gatherings, shift schools to virtual platforms and, in some cases, prohibit people from leaving their homes. The impact on the economy has been devastating already, with predictions of a return to fullon recession in the fourth quarter. The estimate now is that Europe will be in recession for at least the first half of 2021. Unemployment will be back to double-digit numbers, tens of thousands of businesses will shut down and governments will break debt and deficit records. This is the fate that awaits the US as the confident assertions begin to fade. The Conference Board was looking at two options for 2021 – an upside and a downside projection. The upside expected growth at the end of this year that carried into the first half of 2021 but then faded a little toward the end of the year. The downside saw anemic growth this year and into next but then expected an improvement as 2021 progressed. The good news was that both of these projections had the economy back to where it started 2020 by the end of 2021. The latest iteration of the analysis now has a third option, and it isn’t good. This is the real downside projection and is based on a renewed national lockdown that sends the economy back into a recession. That double dip means an economy that is worse off at the end of 2021 than it was in the second quarter of this year.

Economic Priority #1: Coronavirus

What can we expect as far as economic priorities? Obviously, the only thing that will matter in the next year will be dealing with the pandemic, and that will have profound economic implications. It is more likely there will be a national lockdown of some kind under a Democrat-led government, but it is not guaranteed. The best estimate is there will be an extension of the partial shutdown rather than the total approach taken last spring. The primary focus for the coming year will be rolling out the vaccine. Reports suggest that several versions already are in production and are waiting for the conclusion of the phase 3 trials. Thus far, these have been panning out as expected. What happens after this crisis has been addressed? This election has focused very little on issues other than the pandemic, and that creates a certain amount of anxiety as campaigns make a lot of promises that are not intended to be kept. There appear to be areas a Democratic administration will want to emphasize, and the first of these is climate change. This came up repeatedly in the campaign, and it is something that both moderates and progressives seem to be able to agree on. This would likely involve promotion of alternate energy and

efforts to reduce use of fossil fuel. The challenge is there is little room in the budget for incentives and promotion of alternatives, and there will be reluctance to return to the days when OPEC controlled the US energy destiny. Fracking is not popular, but it has been key to the US economic rejuvenation over the last several years. If the Republicans continue to hold the Senate, the chances for a shift in energy policy are minimal. Climate change has not been of interest to the GOP thus far, and there is powerful support for the fossil fuel industry in general.

Economic Priority #2: Tax Reform

A second priority will be tax reform. There will be a desire to hike taxes on the wealthy on the part of the Democrats, but there also is recognition that the upper 25% of the consuming public spends the majority of its disposable income on services – and this is the very sector of the economy that will need the most help to recover from the recession. The easiest step will be to allow the tax cuts instituted at the start of the Trump years to expire. There has even been some GOP support for this move, given the number of fiscal conservatives in the party that are concerned about the size of the debt and deficit. page 28 u

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ECONOMIC CORNER t page 27 There also will be talk of cuts in spending, but the reality is that over 65% of the budget is mandatory (social security, Medicare and Medicaid). Another 7% is interest paid to those that bought the government debt, and that leaves 28% as discretionary spending. Spending on defense accounts for over half of that 28%. That leaves about 15% for all other spending, and there is just not much that can be cut these days.

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A third priority is likely to be foreign policy and trade. Alliances with Europe and Latin America are in tatters, and the Biden camp would be far more hostile to Russia than Trump. Neither party is a fan of China, but the business community recognizes the country’s role in global trade. The fact is that foreign policy is the area a President was created to deal with by the founders. The US relies on trade for almost 20% of the GDP, and the last four years have been marked by reductions in export activity. Trump has pursued an isolationist and protectionist approach and Biden favors more traditional diplomacy, but every country in the world now will be favoring policies that benefit their own economies. The election has revealed an incredibly divided and angry electorate. The Trump support has been overwhelming in the rural areas, and Biden’s support has been in the urban areas. There had been some faint hope of a moderate middle emerging from among centrist Democrats and Republicans, but that has evaporated and what is left is hard right and hard left in Congress. With the Senate in GOP hands and the House in Democratic hands, the next four years will feature the kind of gridlock and animosity the last four years have featured. 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.

Sales R&D Quality Operations HR Engineering

Packaging Medical/Pharma Industrial Consumer Products Compounding Automotive

AJ Augur Group, LLC – Plastics Search & Recruitment Experts 5255 Deer Ridge Rd. Mentor, OH 44060

440-357-7600 | www.ajaugur.com

28 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

More information: www.armada-intel.com


NPE2021: Opportunities in Virtual and In-Person Formats by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business


nce every three years, the plastics industry gathers to attend the largest plastics tradeshow in the Americas. Scheduled for May 17 through 21, the 2021 edition was on track to bring more than 2,100 exhibitors to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, with equipment, machinery, consumables, processes and support technology convened within more than one million square feet of exhibit space. The pandemic has forced the event to change shape – to what extent is yet unknown – but opportunities exist within the combined virtual and in-person event being developed by The Plastics Industry Association, producers of NPE.

Photo courtesy of PLASTICS

Plastics verticals on display

Event organizers say every sector of the global plastics industry and its vertical markets will be represented at NPE. From automotive/transportation, consumer products and bottling/ containers to medtech and packaging, the Orange County Convention Center will provide opportunities for those looking to diversify their supply chain, explore new market opportunities or compare potential capital expenditure options. The event halls will feature 13 technology zones, including sectors that focus on innovation and offerings in the following areas: • 3D/4D printing • Bottling • Contract manufacturing • Decorating and secondary processes • Flexible packaging • Inspection and measurement • Medtech • Moldmaking • Polymers and additives • Product design and engineering services, • Recycling and sustainability • Rigid packaging • Robotics and automation

These technology zones have the advantage of bringing together those working within specific spaces, simplifying access for event attendees and providing opportunities for collaboration. “NPE2021 is the premier event for all sectors of the plastic industry to network, exchange ideas and see the latest innovations molding the future of plastics,” said President and CEO of PLASTICS, Tony Radoszewski, CAE, in a recent press release. “Attendees will be able to learn about emerging plastics trends; purchase the latest machinery, materials and equipment that are revolutionizing manufacturing; and connect with industry leaders.” In addition to the tradeshow floor exhibits, NPE offers education programs, with sessions featuring topics ranging from sustainability and recycling to additive manufacturing.

COVID-19 precautions on tap

Whether a COVID-19 vaccine is readily available or not, health and safety precautions while at the Orange County Convention Center will be a key consideration for attendees and exhibitors alike. page 31 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 29

Plastics improve peoples’ lives in transformative ways. With more than 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space, you’ll discover the latest technologies, materials, and processes that are revolutionizing medicine, packaging, consumer products, and sustainable manufacturing.

Register Today NPE.org | Orange County Convention Center May 17—21, 2021 | #NPE2021

PREVIEW t page 29 First, given the inability of some to travel to Orlando in May, event organizers will offer NPE2021 as a hybrid event. A digital component will provide access to the technology and education, although details have yet to be released.

“Given the challenges of the past six months, it is vitally important for the plastics community to come together and support each other with a positive outlook to the future,” said Radoszewski. n

The priority, according to show organizers, is the in-person event. Recent communication posted to the NPE2021 website explained, “The health and welfare of all NPE participants is, of course, our top priority. We have been closely monitoring the situation, including all guidance from governmental health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as information from the State of Florida and the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), and will take into consideration all current health guidelines necessary to create a safe and healthy environment for our show.”

Learn more about NPE2021 or register to attend: www.npe.org

Whether this includes face masks, pared-down exhibitor booths or other as-yet-unnamed precautions likely will depend on the United States’ ability to bring the spread of coronavirus under control prior to the May event. As of press time, the event still is six months in the future, and hope exists that the event can proceed as planned.

MAPP, Plastics Business at NPE2021

The Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) will once again host its MAPP Pavilion, an area of the tradeshow floor dedicated to plastics processing and supplier partners of the association. The pavilion will be located in the South Hall, and the MAPP team will be found in booth #S32122. Plastics Business also will be on site in booth # S15155. Watch for more event coverage of NPE2021 in the next issue of the magazine.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 31

Visit us at Booth #W961

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ANNUAL BUYERS GUIDE Products/Services Offered......................................................................................33 Supplier Directory..................................................................................................37

PRODUCTS/SERVICES OFFERED Additive Manufacturing Equipment 1. CDLP 2. CLIP 3. DLP 4. DLS 5. FDM 6. SLA 7. SLS 8. Other Carbon 4 M. Holland Company 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Automation Equipment 1. Cobots 2. End of Arm Tooling 3. Feed Systems 4. Integrator Services 5. Industrial Robots 6. Vision Inspection 7. Other Cincinnati Process Technologies 2 Plastic Process Equipment, Inc. 2, 5 Sepro America 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Wittmann Battenfeld 2, 3, 5, 6 Yushin America, Inc. 1, 2, 5

Blending Equipment 1. Gravimetric 2. Volumetric Cincinnati Process Technologies Colors For Plastics 1 Conair 1, 2 Novatec, Inc. 1, 2 Wittmann Battenfeld 1, 2

Data Monitoring/Control 1. ERP 2. MES Cincinnati Process Technologies DELMIAworks 1, 2 Novatec, Inc. Progressive Components 2 RJG, Inc.

Design Services A1 Tool Corporation B A Die Mold, Inc. Concept Molds Frigel North America

Drying Equipment Drying > Conveying > Blending > Downstream

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

Cincinnati Process Technologies Conair 1, 2 Novatec, Inc. 1, 2, 3 Plastic Process Equipment, Inc. 2 Wittmann Battenfeld

Employment Services AJ Augur Group, LLC MBS Advisors

Energy Strategy Cincinnati Process Technologies Novatec Inc.

1. Compressed Air 2. Hot Air 3. Vacuum

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 33


Hot Runner Systems

1. Blown Film 2. Sheet 3. Tubing


Conair 1, 2, 3 Novatec, Inc. 3

Foaming Agents Colors For Plastics iD Additives, Inc.

Granulators Cincinnati Process Technologies Conair Wittmann Battenfeld

Inventory Management Software

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

Benesch Ice Miller LLP

M&A Activity

1. Colorants 2. Lubricants 3. Stabilizers Chase Plastic Services, Inc. 1 Colors For Plastics 1, 2, 3 Plastic Process Equipment, Inc. 2 Slide Products, Inc. 2

Material Handling

INCOE Corporation Synventive Molding Solutions

Injection Molding Equipment

150 W. Second Street, Suite 400 Royal Oak, MI 48067

7201 N. 98th Street Lincoln, NE 68507

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

Phone: (402) 434-9102 Email: info@binmaster.com Website: www.binmaster.com

Heating & Cooling Equipment Conair Frigel North America Mokon Plastic Process Equipment, Inc.

Material Additives

4425 Appleton Street Cincinnati, OH 45209 Email: mgreen@cinprotech.com Website: www.cinprotech.com

1. Electric 2. Hybrid 3. Hydraulic Cincinnati Process Technologies Wittmann Battenfeld 1, 2, 3

Insurance Federated Mutual Insurance Company

34 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

Benesch Harbour Results, Inc. MBS Advisors Mueller Prost CPAs + Business Advisors Stout

Marketing Services Harbour Results, Inc. Vive Marketing WayPoint Marketing Communications

1. Conveying 2. Feed Systems 3. Level Control & Sensors 4. Storage BinMaster 1, 3, 4 Cincinnati Process Technologies Conair 1, 2, 3, 4 Nexeo Plastics 4 Novatec, Inc. 1, 2, 3, 4 Plastic Process Equipment, Inc. 1, 2, 4 Wittmann Battenfeld 1, 2, 4

Mold Cleaning 1. Bead Blasting 2. Dry Ice Blasting 3. Solvent Wipes 4. Ultrasonic Tank Chem-Trend iD Additives, Inc. Slide Products, Inc. 3

Mold Release Agents

MRO Supplies

1445 W. McPherson Park Drive Howell, MI 48843

Operations Assessment Consulting

29524 Southfield Road Southfield, MI 48076

590 Thompson Road PO Box 218 Thompson, CT 06277 Phone: (860) 923-9541 Email: Ivanhoe@IvanhoeTool.com 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 Company, Inc. 2 Progressive Components 2


iD Additives, Inc. Novatec, Inc. Plastic Process Equipment, Inc. Slide Products, Inc. W.W. Grainger

Chem-Trend Colors For Plastics Plastic Process Equipment, Inc. Slide Products, Inc.


Purging Compounds

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

Harbour Results, Inc. Mueller Prost CPAs + Business Advisors

Prototyping Services A1 Tool Corporation Concept Molds M. Holland Company

Phone: (517) 545-7980 Email: sales@chemtrend.com Website: www.chemtrend.com/ need/thermoplastics/

Aurora Plastics, LLC Chem-Trend Colors For Plastics iD Additives, Inc. Plastic Process Equipment, Inc. Purgex Purging Compounds RapidPurge Slide Products, Inc.

9280 Jefferson Street Streetsboro, OH 44241

DIN 30640 Std Neuzeit Grotesk Light

PMS 307 Blue PMS 423 Grey

Phone: (330) 422-0700 Email: sales@auroraplastics.com Website: www.auroraplastics.com

3730 S. Elizabeth Street, Suite B Independence, MO 64057 Phone: (816) 540-5300 Email: bob@polysource.net Website: www.PolySource.net

Repair Services Bear Industrial Group

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, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19 Americhem Engineered Compounds 6

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 35

ANNUAL BUYERS GUIDE PRODUCTS/SERVICES OFFERED Aurora Plastics LLC 3, 6, 15, 17, 18 Carbon Chase Plastic Services, Inc. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19 Chem-Trend 6 M. Holland Company 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 Nexeo Plastics 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 PolySource 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Shipping Services PartnerShip

Simulation Services INCOE Corporation RJG, Inc. SIGMA Plastic Services, Inc.

Temperature Control Systems Conair Frigel North America INCOE Corporation Wittmann Battenfeld

Tax & Advisory Testing Services Cincinnati Process Technologies M. Holland Company 7733 Forsyth Boulevard, Suite 1200 Clayton, MO 63105 Phone: (314) 862-2070 Email: mdevereux@ muellerprost.com Website: www.muellerprost.com

Benesch Mueller Prost CPAs + Business Advisors

Training Services Carbon Harbour Results, Inc. INCOE Corporation M. Holland Company Paulson Training Programs, Inc. Progressive Components RJG, Inc. Routsis Training Sepro America

ANNUAL BUYERS GUIDE Find the Buyers Guide online all year long at plasticsbusinessmag.com/buyersguide 36 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4


B A Die Mold, Inc.

A1 Tool Corporation

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

1425 Armitage Ave. Melrose Park, IL 60160 (708) 345-5000 www.a1toolcorp.com

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

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

Bear Industrial Group 155 Madison Ave. Mt. Clemens, MI 48043 (586) 792-2800 www.bearig.com


1445 W. McPherson Park Dr. Howell, MI 48843 (517) 545-7980 www.chemtrend.com/need/thermoplastics

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

Amco Polymers

1900 Summit Tower Blvd., Ste. 900 Orlando, FL 32810 (800) 262-6685 www.amcopolymers.com

Cincinnati Process Technologies BinMaster

7201 N. 98th St. Lincoln, NE 68507 (402) 434-9102 www.binmaster.com

Americhem Engineered Compounds 20 Progress Dr. Morrisville, PA 19067 (215) 736-1126 www.americhem.com

Carbon 1089 Mills Way Redwood City, CA 94063 (650) 285-6307 www.carbon3d.com Carson Tool & Mold 3070 Moon Station Rd. Kennesaw, GA 30144 (770) 427-3716 www.carsonmold.com

Aurora Plastics, LLC

9280 Jefferson St. Streetsboro, OH 44241 DIN 30640 Std (330) 422-0700 Neuzeit Grotesk Light www.auroraplastics.com

PMS 307 Blue PMS 423 Grey

4425 Appleton St. Cincinnati, OH 45209 mgreen@cinprotech.com www.cinprotech.com

Colors For Plastics 2245 Pratt Blvd. Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 (847) 462-6065 www.colorsforplastics.com


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

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 37

ANNUAL BUYERS GUIDE SUPPLIER DIRECTORY Concept Molds 12273 North US 131 Schoolcraft, MI 49087 (269) 679-2100 www.conceptmolds.com

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

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


2231 Wisteria Ln. Paso Robles, CA 93446 (805) 227-1122 www.3ds.com/delmiaworks Federated Mutual Insurance Company 121 E. Park Square Owatonna, MN 55060 (317) 432-3325 www.federatedinsurance.com Frigel North America 150 Prairie Lake Rd. East Dundee, IL 60118 (847) 540-0160 www.frigel.com

Harbour Results, Inc. 29524 Southfield Rd. Southfield, MI 48076 (248) 552-8400 www.harbourresults.com Ice Miller LLP 250 West St., Ste. 700 Columbus, OH 43215 (614) 462-2279 www.icemiller.com

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

Nexeo Plastics

1780 Hughes Landing Blvd., Ste. 1000 The Woodlands, TX 77380 (833) 446-3936 www.nexeoplastics.com

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

Novatec, Inc.

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

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

PartnerShip 528 E. Lorain St. Oberlin, OH 44074 (800) 599-2902 www.partnership.com


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

iD Additives, Inc.

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

38 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

Paulson Training Programs, Inc. 3 Inspiration Ln., PO Box 366 Chester, CT 06412 (860) 526-3099 www.paulsontraining.com

Stout Plastic Process Equipment, Inc.

RJG, Inc.

8303 Corporate Park Dr. Macedonia, OH 44056 (216) 367-7000 www.ppe.com

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


Routsis Training

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

PO Box 894 Dracut, MA 01826 (978) 957-0700 www.traininteractive.com Sepro America 765 Commonwealth Dr. Warrendale, PA 15086 (412) 459-0450 www.sepro-group.com

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

SIGMA Plastic Services, Inc. 10 N. Martingale Rd., Ste. 620 Schaumburg, IL 60173 (847) 252-1658 www.sigmasoftvm.com

Purgex Purging Compounds 11119 Jones Rd. W. Houston, TX 77065 (800) 803-6242 www.purgexonline.com RapidPurge 36A Plains Rd. Essex, CT 06426 (800) 243-4203 www.rapidpurge.com

Slide Products, Inc.

150 W. Second St., Ste. 400 Royal Oak, MI 48067 (248) 432-1229 www.stout.com Synventive Molding Solutions 10 Centennial Dr. Peabody, MA 01960 (800) 367-5662 www.synventive.com Vive Marketing 219 N. Milwaukee St. Milwaukee, WI 53202 (414) 292-1291 www.marketingformanufacturers.com

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 www.wittmann-group.com

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

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

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 39


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.

Containing the Threat: Viking Plastics Takes on Cybersecurity during the Coronavirus Pandemic by Lara Copeland, contributing writer, Plastics Business


hen the coronavirus crisis escalated last spring, many states issued shelter-in-place or stayat-home orders. Businesses not considered “essential” were required to close their physical offices and continue operations remotely. This created technology challenges for companies across the world. According to a survey of 1,000 global IT professionals from software company AppDynamics, the coronavirus pandemic reshaped tech priorities for 95% of companies. What’s more, digital transformation efforts that once were part of long-term projects only took a matter of weeks to be pushed through for 71% of organizations. However, Viking Plastics – with its corporate office in Corry, Pennsylvania, and other facilities in Indiana, Kentucky, China, Brazil and Mexico – had been set up to handle such a significant change for years.

“As long as I’ve been at Viking,” IT Manager Mike Hook explained, “it’s been a culture of continuous improvement, and that has benefited us since day one. We are continuously educating our employees, giving them the best practices and trying to get them to think like business owners and security professionals.” In the days before COVID-19, Viking Plastics IT professionals routinely kept employees abreast of the latest advancements in cybersecurity. The team held regular meetings during lunch-andlearn events. Employees signed up for these one-hour, voluntary training sessions to learn more about topics ranging from ERP

40 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

systems to email security issues while enjoying a lunch provided by the company. Additionally, the IT team sent out email updates every few months describing new tactics criminals were using in cyberattacks. “Our goal has always been to keep cybersecurity at the forefront of employees’ minds,” Hook said. Earlier this year, Viking Plastics set out to help its employees transition to working from home while maintaining safety practices, so the IT team put together and presented an internal webinar. “IT Director Rob Prindle and I were used to doing presentations,” Hook stated, “so when the majority of our workforce went remote last spring, we designed a webinar for cybersecurity.” The webinar was half an hour long, with 20 minutes of presenting and 10 minutes set aside for a Q&A for the employees in attendance. Hook said he was surprised by how many questions people asked in this format. “Typically, at in-person trainings,

we just get two or three questions, but this time we received a slew of questions – which is good and means the audience was attentive and thinking about the webinar.” The webinar did cover a couple of new topics, including how to report suspicious emails while working remotely. “Normally, when all of us are in the office, we just pick up the phone or walk down to the next cubicle and say, ‘come look at this,’” Hook said. “So, we wanted to be sure employees were aware of how to safely report suspicious emails.” Hook explained: “What’s the best thing that happens when you click on a link – you might see another cat video? The worst thing that happens is you take down the entire company. If you didn’t expect it, don’t click it. Valid emails have a phone number in the signature; pick up the phone and call to verify.” Red flags, like being addressed “dear customer” or emails with spelling and punctuation errors, should tip readers off that something is amiss and should be reported. The webinar was deemed successful, and there were zero technical issues reported. “Everyone who logged in did so with ease, and they could hear us and see us,” noted Hook. Furthermore, he thinks that the response from the audience was better than what usually is received during in-person training.

“Laying the groundwork prior has made this remote working a seamless process, and it’s made it easier on us,” Hook noted. The system held up well for having everyone on remote access, and there weren’t any major lags or slowdowns, according to Hook. “We’ve been complemented the whole time on how well everything has run from day one, and we are fortunate enough to have good end users from years of continuous training and stability of our users.” Hook also attributes Viking’s success to Kelly Goodsel, CEO and president of the company, who sees the value of investing in IT. Hook said that while manufacturing companies make their money selling parts, which makes it difficult for some organizations to justify the costs of the IT department, Goodsel’s viewpoint is more holistic. He said it’s helpful that Goodsel views the money spent as an investment as opposed to a burden on the company. “He sees the value of IT and has seen it the entire time I’ve worked for Viking,” Hook exclaimed. “This in turn benefits us because we are able to spend money on new technologies, which led us to the point where everyone had remote access at the flip of a switch last spring. You sure can see the return on investment there.” n

He explained: “When you’re sitting next to your peers, you are more likely to not ask questions for fear of looking silly. I feel like more people were comfortable during the webinar and that helped generate a better response when we asked for questions.” Additionally, peers can sometimes be distracted by questions shared in person but, during a webinar, the person talking is the only one who can be heard; thus, people feel more free to ask questions no matter how silly they may seem. “We’ve always thought trainings in the past were successful, but this webinar prompted much better questions because everyone was focused in on the speaker and nothing else,” he added. A follow-up survey confirmed Hook’s findings. “We wanted to know if employees took something away from the webinar, if they were interested in another webinar and if they would recommend it to others. Overwhelmingly, people’s responses were positive,” he said. The success of the internal webinar doesn’t mean these types of trainings will stop anytime soon, although much of the audience has heard the internet safety messages more than once over the years, since Viking Plastics experiences little turnover. This repetitiveness was an advantage, as employees entered into remote working with an understanding and expectation to report issues and keep the company safe.

Make the mark.

Assess the health of your business with comparative data from 200 competing plastics facilities. Take the 2020 North American Plastics Industry Study (NAPIS) survey

Greg Alonso plantemoran.com/napis

greg.alonso@plantemoran.com 248-223-3254

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 41


Plastics Manufacturers Face Four Priorities in 2021 by Louis Columbus, principal, DELMIAworks


n the wake of the pandemic, plastics manufacturers have innovated new ways to improve production run efficiency while keeping costs under control, relying on fewer on-site workers and protecting margins. In 2021, they’ll build on those strengths by pursuing four key initiatives: • Further improve time efficiencies across the shop floor by strengthening and fine-tuning real-time process and product monitoring. • Extend long-term planning horizons to 18 months. • Simultaneously rely on faster, more frequent insights into the business to keep pace with rapid changes. • Rethink the set-up of their factory floors to protect workers’ health while maximizing efficiency. Let’s look closer at each of these four key initiatives and how they will help to reshape plastics manufacturers’ strategies and operations in the next year.


Improve Time Efficiencies via Real-Time Monitoring

Unlocking new insights into saving time on the shop floor is the highest priority plastics manufacturers will have in 2021. However, the information they need is hidden in the massive amount of data their machinery and plant production processes produce every day. For this reason, having a real-time production monitoring system in place, supported with process monitoring data to the machine level, is the first step to improving production efficiency. Production data typically includes production cycle times, percentage of orders delivered on time, percentage completion times of jobs, scrap as a percentage of total production, validation that every production step is executed, cycle times by machine and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), among others. Combining

44 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

these production metrics with process data – such as temperatures, pressures, weights and measures, and event durations of each machine – helps to find how individual machines can be made more efficient, contributing to more saved time. Additionally, the need to understand how much time efficiencies are worth will drive more integration across production reporting, accounting and financial management systems. Getting in control of production labor hours, standard labor and material cost variances, and margins is possible when there’s a real-time link between accounting and production. Gaining time efficiencies starts on the shop floor by ensuring everyone associated with a given production run has the same visibility into scheduling, work center, team assignments and the delivery date. This requires the real-time monitoring data that serves as the pulse of the production floor to be integrated not just with accounting and finance systems but also the manufacturing execution system (MES) and quality management software. By giving everyone immediate access, plastics manufacturers can gain time efficiencies that translate into cost savings while delivering orders on time and within customers’ specifications. Knowing what their time is worth will further motivate plastics manufacturers to delve deeper into their data with advanced statistical analytics and Six Sigma techniques. The most successful companies in 2020 already are paying for smart manufacturing certifications, including statistical process control (SPC) training, and they are investing in the professional development of their engineering teams to have more Six Sigma Black Belts on staff. These strategies are enabling them to turn data into a differentiator with both prospects and customers.


Extend Long-Term Planning to 18 Months and Beyond

The need for longer-range business continuity plans – beyond the six- and 12-month time horizons many plastics manufacturers relied on in the past – crystallized this year. The most successful plastics manufacturers in 2020 had intentionally diversified their portfolios, so they could adjust their production based on spikes or reductions in demand across different sectors. Some also had plans in place for addressing disruptions in their supply chains. Others had the insights in place to swiftly convert warehousing to production facilities in response to unprecedented volumes of demand from the medical sector. At the same time, plastics manufacturers are seeking to make the temporary time efficiency gains they have achieved permanent, and the first step is ingraining lessons learned into an 18-month planning cycle. That means taking a data-driven approach to the business and understanding how trade-offs made daily on the shop floor impact long-term financial metrics, including accounts receivable, days sales outstanding (especially on custom orders) and other costs to collect. Every plastics manufacturer’s business is slightly different, so each roadmap to revenue will have different metrics values. However, for long-term planning to succeed and be measurable on a revenue roadmap, six steps need to be accomplished: • Improve the accuracy and availability of data to predict the short better- and intermediate-range implications

• • •

of production decisions today by combining real-time production and process monitoring with financial data. Using Six Sigma, look for ways to reduce data latency across all systems, starting by not allowing molding machines to be islands, if at all possible. Begin constructing a roadmap to revenue (shown below) that can anticipate and predict how long-term product decisions impact financial performance. Translate production efficiency gains into financial contributions by quantifying cost-per-labor-hour savings, reductions in waste or scrap, and improvements in machinery utilization rates. Build financial models that track how improving schedule accuracy and modifying in-plant workflows based on higher quality data lead to greater cost gains and margin improvement. Reduce the cost of bad product quality and increasing traceability for more real-time regulatory compliance and better inventory control, all leading to cost reductions.


Use Faster, More Frequent Insights to Keep Pace with Rapid Changes

Fast and frequent insights can mean the difference between catching a quality problem before a product leaves the plant, troubleshooting an errant machine generating high levels of scrap and making a tight delivery date a customer is waiting on. In 2020, “rapid” took on new meaning, page 46 u

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STRATEGIES t page 45 as many plastics manufacturers tightened their reporting from weeks to days and from days to hours. Now, companies are looking to make the agility provided by these timelier updates a regular part of their business in 2021 and beyond.


Rethink the Factory Floor for Safety and Efficiency

Despite the promise of a coronavirus vaccine, plastics manufacturers will need to continue restructuring their shop floors to protect employees while maximizing production capacity for at least the next year. At the same time, some changes to facilities in response to the pandemic are leading companies to rethink the long-term set-up of their facilities.

Some plastics manufacturers have taken a cue from biotech companies and are implementing color-coded shop floor zones. Team members wear a color-coded identifier for their work zone and remain within their zone for their entire shift, including breaks. This approach limits the risk of spreading COVID-19. Properly implemented, it also can improve workflow efficiency, minimize production errors and streamline onboarding – all helping to reduce costs over this time. For this reason, color-coded zones could become a long-term strategy at many manufacturing sites.

You take your business seriously. So we take plastics personally. 46 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

Plastics manufacturers also will increasingly adopt a manage-byexception approach, having a small team in place to ensure machinery is working properly and bringing in other workers as needed when issues arise. As plastics manufacturers have allowed many employees to work off-site, they also are beginning to consider whether every person needs to be on-site – or if facilities need to be staffed by certain workers at all. For example, some companies have begun to reevaluate whether they need a control center at each facility or whether multiple facilities can be managed and monitored from a single, central control center. Plastics manufacturers also will increasingly adopt a manage-by-exception approach, having a small team in place to ensure machinery is working properly and bringing in other workers as needed when issues arise.

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Despite the more isolated way of working on the shop floor, the new structure will enable the role of subject matter experts (SMEs) to flourish. SMEs already were taking on greater ownership of new products and their unique compliance, quality and safety requirements. Now, in a post-COVID-19 world, ongoing training and certifications to deep-skill every position on the production line are a necessity, as the combined effects of social distancing and improved automation make human judgment and decision-making more valuable than ever.


The four priorities plastics manufacturers pursue in 2021 are predicated on taking a more data-centric view to managing their operations and looking for ways to accelerate their roadmaps to revenue. Improving time efficiencies will be far and away the highest priority, followed by relying on faster, more frequent insights into the business to keep pace with rapid changes. SMEs will play an increasingly central role in data-driven decisions. And, once a data-driven culture is in place and manufacturers are progressing on their roadmap to revenue, long-term planning that looks 18-plus months ahead will be well positioned to ensure business continuity and grow their business. n

Louis Columbus currently is serving as principal of DELMIAworks. Previous positions include product management at Ingram Cloud, product marketing at iBASEt, Plex Systems, senior analyst at AMR Research (now Gartner), marketing and business development at Cincom Systems, Ingram Micro, a SaaS start-up and at hardware companies. Columbus also is a member of the Enterprise Irregulars. Professional experience includes marketing, product management, sales and industry analyst roles in the enterprise software and IT industries. His academic background includes an MBA from Pepperdine University and completion of the Strategic Marketing Management and Digital Marketing Programs at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Columbus teaches MBA courses in international business, global competitive strategies, international market research and capstone courses in strategic planning and market research. He has taught at California State University, Fullerton: University of California, Irvine; Marymount University and Webster University. He can be reached on Twitter at @LouisColumbus.

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Compensation Amid a Pandemic: Trends in the Plastics Industry by Ashley Turrell, membership & analytics director, MAPP


ages continue to increase for plastics industry employees, and processors still are looking to hire, according to the most recent data published in the 2020 Plastics Industry Wage & Salary Report by the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP). This year’s report reveals an average 3% increase in compensation, and about 80% of plastics companies are looking to hire in the next 12 months. The 2020 Plastics Industry Wage & Salary Report, now in its 18th year of publication, analyzes data on compensation and employment trends in the plastics industry. By examining 60 different job titles, the report breaks down compensation information from more than 200 US-based plastics processors and represents data for more about 40,000 full-time and part-time employees across 30 states. Amid the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, it was uncertain how the landscape for manufacturers and their employees would shift. During the peak of the pandemic, less than 50% of plastics companies were able to maintain their standard employment levels. However, at the time of this publication, two-thirds of companies had reported their employment had returned to pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, 56% of manufacturers are trying to add staff in the next one to three months, and 80% are adding staff over the next 12 months. To assist in recruiting and retaining employees, most plastics companies have continued to increase pay levels at or above current US inflation rates. Over half of the 60 positions included in the 2020 report showed an increase in pay above 1.3%, and 19% of jobs attained a compensation increase of more than 5%. The increases are not “across the board,” however. Most of the positions experiencing significant increases are those technical and direct labor jobs, such as machine operators, machinists, delivery drivers, electricians, mold/die setters and set-up technicians. Consistently, these are the positions that plastics leaders have the most trouble hiring or retaining. Having a competitive pay and benefits structure in place for these positions is necessary given the level of demand and competition for employees to fill these roles. Additionally, 19 states that

48 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

reported their data this year have mandatory annual minimum wage increases, further pushing up the compensation for many of these positions. For only the second time in 18 years, staff-level positions were the least likely to experience an increase in their compensation. page 51 u

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BENCHMARKING t page 48 Furthermore, this year saw a decline in the median annual compensation for nine staff-level positions (general manager, engineering manager, HR manager, information systems manager, maintenance manager, plant manager, purchasing manager, quality manager and sales manager). In 2020, the combined median compensation for these roles was reported to be $830,206 – down $14,500 or 2%, from last year. This is most likely due to many companies freezing compensation or cutting compensation for salaried employees at the height of the pandemic. Plastics companies responding to this survey indicate they are looking to fill more than 4,400 positions over the next year – that number is up about 5% from last year. With numerous open positions and increasing turnover rates – the average turnover rate for plastics companies is 19% – many plastics companies utilize temporary staff to fill current demands. Forty-three percent of participants indicate that their company does use temporary help to fill gaps in staffing. However, the average number of temporary workers per company has dropped since 2019 – down to 16 per company. While temporary workers still are semi-standard for manufacturers, many companies avoided

using temporary workers during the pandemic – either due to lack of access to workers or because of safety concerns involved with continuing to bring new people into the building. As companies have continued to learn, it takes more than competitive salary to attract workers of all levels. Companies also must offer intriguing benefits packages as well. While most companies (96%) indicate they offer insurance for employees, other benefits have helped to attract and retain their workforce. These include employee assistance programs, flexible work schedules, 401(k), childcare assistance, wellness programs, tuition reimbursement and profit sharing, to name a few. While companies are hoping to return to normal by 2021, it will be critical again to create a compensation and benefits package that helps to attract employees back to manufacturing, using the data included in this report as a way to understand how they compare and compete against other US manufacturers. n For more information or to access the latest 2020 Wage & Salary Report, visit www.mappinc.com.

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NEWS iD Additives Adds to Eco-Pro 360 Rust Removal and Cooling Channel Cleaning Product Line iD Additives, Inc., LaGrange, Illinois, a North American supplier of additives including foaming agents, purging compounds and rust remover, has announced it will now distribute products from Chemagineering Corporation to clean and maintain cooling lines in plastics extruders, thermoformers and other equipment. The Chemagineering products, marketed under the iD Eco-Pro 360 brand, are ecofriendly products designed to optimize closed-loop cooling water systems. CH-7:54 Industrial Cleaner is a water-based, all-organic, safe and effective scale and metal oxide corrosion product cleaner that replaces hazardous mineral acid descalers. Extrusion Performance Fluid (EPF) conditioning formula is an inhibited, all-organic, high-purity, water-based coolant designed to prevent cooling water system corrosion and mineral scale fouling. For more information, visit www.iDAdditives.com.

BinMaster Offers Compact Non-Contact Radar with Bluetooth Setup BinMaster, Lincoln, Nebraska, a manufacturer of level indicators and inventory management systems, offers a new line of compact noncontact radar – aka CNCR – level sensors to measure liquids. These sensors set up simply using Bluetooth and the Wireless Device Configurator app loaded on a smartphone or tablet. The app also can be used to diagnose and change display parameters from up to 80 feet away once the sensor is installed. The sensors have zero dead zone, measuring up to the sensor face, making them accurate for smaller vessels and simple applications. The CNCR’s 80 GHz technology measures through plastic vessel walls or lids, allowing it to be mounted unobtrusively and easily without cutting a hole in the vessel. CNCR sensors are not affected by fluctuations in temperature or condensation, allowing them to measure reliably through foam, vapor and steam. These compact sensors are versatile for use in many types of chemicals, colorants or adhesives stored in bulk storage tanks, industrial bulk containers (IBCs) or drums. For more information, visit www.binmaster.com.

52 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

Plante Moran Offers Mobility Intelligence Center Certified public accounting and business advisory firm Plante Moran, Southfield, Michigan, now offers the Plante Moran Mobility Intelligence Center. With the pace of technological advancement accelerating, the Plante Moran Mobility Intelligence Center offers market, financial, operational and strategic intelligence found nowhere else, delivered by seasoned automotive advisers. Plante Moran advisers assess market positions and build innovative, yet actionable, solutions based on the company’s proprietary market forecasts and benchmarking data. Plante Moran’s industry leaders will provide tailored solutions in strategy and operations, restructuring and transformation, cybersecurity and ERP implementation to help drive business to success in the future of mobility. For more information, visit www.plantemoran.com.

Revised WITTMANN Robot Model WX153 Offers New Options Austria-based WITTMANN, a provider of robots, automation systems and more, has redesigned WX153, a robot model typically used for the automation of injection molding machines with clamping forces ranging from 500 to 1,300 tons. The previous version was based on the W8 pro series of appliances, on the market since 2013. In the mechanical redesign of the WX153 robot, special attention was paid to maximum functionality and flexible application options. The vertical axis now is available with strokes of up to 2,600 mm. The horizontal Z-axis can be supplied with a stroke length of up to 18,000 mm. With a stroke from 4,000 mm upward, tandem solutions involving two independently moving robots can be implemented. For more information, visit www.wittmann-group.com.

Lynx™ Stroke/Velocity Sensor Now More Robust Tool and training provider RJG Inc., Traverse City, Michigan, has announced a redesign of the Lynx Stroke/Velocity Sensor (LE-R50), making it even more robust. The new model will function identically to the old version but will be less susceptible to noise and contamination. Some attributes have changed, including the Lynx connector position, the mounting hole locations and the overall size. However, there is an adapter plate available to utilize existing mounting holes. There will be no price changes associated with these improvements. Tracking injection velocity, shot volume, cushion and plasticizing rates is as simple as connecting a stroke/velocity sensor. The LE-R-50 is a molding machine mountable linear position/velocity sensor designed for use with RJG’s process control systems. For more information, visit www.rjginc.com.

New Coil Strapping System for Conair ATC Series Coilers Protects and Simplifies

PolySource to Grow Partnership with EMSGRIVORY America

A new coil strapping system, introduced by auxiliary equipment supplier Conair, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, was designed for Conair’s ATC Series tube coilers to strap finished coils of small-diameter extruded tubing. Handling coils up to 24 in (61 cm) in diameter, the system prevents tube damage or unraveling and makes the coils far easier to grasp, handle and move. It uses roll-fed PP and PET strapping and is FDA-compliant for medicaltube applications. The strapping system is available as a factory option for new ATC coilers or as a retrofit for existing units. The coiler fully automates transfer of tube winding when a coil is full, eliminating the need for operator involvement or process disruption. For more information, visit www.conairgroup.com.

PolySource, Independence, Missouri, a distributor of engineered resins solutions, has announced an expanded partnership with high-performance polymer manufacturer EMS-GRIVORY America, Sumter, South Carolina. The alignment will help both companies continue to grow in North America’s specialty nylon market. Customers now will be provided with more technical resources to assist in application developments and metal replacement with EMS specialty nylons. The specialty polyamides from EMS-GRIVORY include Grivory® GV partially aromatic nylon, Grivory® HT high-temperature PPA, Grilamid® TR transparent Nylon 12 and Grilamid® L semi-crystalline nylon 12. These specialty polyamides feature excellent chemical resistance, high stiffness, dimensional stability and transparency for applications requiring high clarity and ductility. For more information, visit www.polysource.net. n

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 53


Manufacturing Training and Jobs for the Reentry Population by Liz Stevens, contributing editor, Plastics Business


he skills gap in US manufacturing is a real hurdle for manufacturers looking to expand their workforces to meet increased business opportunities or to make up for the loss of retiring Baby Boomer workers. Enterprising manufacturers are beefing up their apprenticeship programs, connecting with high schools and colleges to help train a pipeline of skilled potential employees, and recognizing that the discipline and work ethic of former military personnel make them excellent employee material.

Some of those enterprising manufacturers have found an additional source of eager applicants with fresh manufacturing training – the state A program in Ohio brings together regional and national organizations to provide training and placements in prison systems and reentry support manufacturing jobs for former prison inmates. organizations that prepare soon-to-beparoled inmates and former inmates for work opportunities. To get an idea of the players collaborating role for an employer-led, employer-owned solution to the talent to prepare parolees to reenter society with marketable skills, we gap in manufacturing. Our role is to bring the manufacturing employers together, facilitate them setting their strategies around looked at programs in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. how they can close the skills/talent gap for manufacturing, and then help align the partners in the community that can contribute Ohio: MAGNET in Cuyahoga County An example of Ohio’s training programs for re- to those strategies – including education partners, workforce entering citizens is in Cuyahoga County, where development partners and public entities.” a collaboration among national and regional organizations supports manufacturing training In Cuyahoga County, where the program was created in 2019, the manufacturing employers set a strategy to create innovative and placement with interested employers. on-ramps into manufacturing for populations that have been A lead organization in the collaboration is MAGNET, a nonprofit historically underrepresented in the industry. “The primary focus,” consulting group with a mission to help small and midsized said Snyder, “was how do we recruit more African Americans, manufacturers succeed. In operation for 30 years, MAGNET more women and more young people into manufacturing?” recently has taken the lead in a sector partnership in Cuyahoga County to address the skills gap and create career pathways in The manufacturers became especially passionate about manufacturing. It added the Access to Manufacturing Careers reentry as a focus population because, as Snyder explained, “historically, African Americans are overrepresented in program to focus on the reentry population. the reentry population, so hiring them would help with the Adam Snyder, managing partner for Sector Partnership at employers’ diversity and inclusion efforts. Also, manufacturing MAGNET, has a background in plastics manufacturing. Snyder has a competitive advantage in that a lot of the healthcare and explained that the Sector Partnership plays “an intermediary financial employers here that are looking to hire entry-level

54 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

talent tend to not hire out of the reentry population or have limitations regarding employing folks who have a background with the criminal justice system.” Since people who have been in prison often struggle to get high-quality jobs that pay well and offer career advancement opportunities, the manufacturers stepped up to be part of the solution. “Manufacturers asked how to create opportunities for reentering citizens,” said Snyder, “in a way that prepares them and educates them and brings them to the top of the recruitment stack – to the top of the list of applicants.” The manufacturing employers collaborated with workforce and education partners, including Towards Employment, a nonprofit workforce agency, and PMA, the Precision Metalforming Association, which took the lead to deliver a training program. “The manufacturers,” said Snyder, “are a diverse group that ranges from a 30-person metalworking shop, to an 85-person stamping shop, to a 250-person machining and custom equipment builder, to a 5,000-person international manufacturing company.” Snyder was impressed by the collaborative spirit of the manufacturers who, theoretically, are competing for talent. “They set those agendas aside and asked, ‘How do we raise all boats?’ If we can build a pipeline like this with partners that can sustain it, we’ll all get the talent that we need in the long term.”

Manufacturers asked how to create opportunities for reentering citizens in a way that prepares them and educates them and brings them to the top of the recruitment stack – to the top of the list of applicants. – Adam Snyder, MAGNET the job, each of the employers does competency validation with the employee to make sure that what they were taught in training is translated into how it applies in this job. That competency check is the final component toward the credential, which is a certificate issued by PMA.” This year, the program graduated its first cohort of nine participants. Recruitment for the next cohort is in the works, page 56 u

The recruitment process involves a number of community organizations and nonprofits in the area that serve the reentry population with support services and wraparound services. While some training programs reach out to the prisons, this program has been limited to former inmates. For the first cohort of trainees, the applicants outnumbered the available training slots almost three to one. The selected trainees were slated to attend the program for four weeks, five days a week, in Cleveland. The curriculum for the Access to Manufacturing Careers program is about 40% work readiness, with a local workforce agency doing training on core job readiness topics such as workplace behaviors, resume writing, interview skills, conflict resolution and time management. Another 40% of the curriculum is technical learning through PMA’s online learning platform. “The coursework that was selected was hand-picked by the manufacturers,” said Snyder, “to include a manufacturing process overview around stamping, machining and welding core processes that are good to be familiar with, and shop math, blueprint reading, quality systems and metrology.” The remaining 20% is hands-on engagement with the employers; employers visit the class to deliver lessons on safety, the use of quality instrumentation like calipers and micrometers, and process design and quality inspection. “The final component of the program,” said Snyder, “is an onthe-job training component. Over a candidate’s first 90 days on

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TALENT t page 55

with applications, screenings and recruitment for a target of 15 new trainees. Snyder noted that with the success of the program geared for reentry, the participating manufacturers have asked to use the curriculum for a similar program aimed at the young-adult population – 18- to 24-year-olds who are looking for a good job and a solid future. To learn more about the MAGNET and Access to Manufacturing Careers programs in Ohio, visit www.manufacturingsectorpartnership.org.

Indiana: Department of Correction Takes the Lead

The Indiana Department of Correction has a ReEntry Division that includes vocational training programs. In addition, the department has a program called HIRE, the Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry, which helps reentering citizens transition to the workforce and also offers assistance to employers in the community.

The Indiana Department of Correction offers four manufacturing training programs that award certifications for inmates who complete vocational training: MSSC Certified Production Technician, Welding, CNC Operator and Purdue University’s Skills for Success Program. In addition, web programming training is available through The Last Mile. The MSSC Certified Production Technician program covers core competencies of manufacturing production at the frontline level. Four modules make up the MSSC CPT training: Safety, Quality Practices and Measurement, Manufacturing Processes and Production, and Maintenance Awareness. These are geared to prepare participants for work as machine operators, material handlers, press helpers, production workers, assemblers, composite technicians, fabricators and more. The Purdue University Skills for Success Program helps wouldbe employees learn basic workplace skills to communicate effectively, think critically and work in teams, as well as basic technical skills. In courses led by facilitators with manufacturing experience, students learn a variety of manufacturing-oriented skills via discussion and hands-on activities. The program trains


56 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

participants for work as machine operators, material handlers, press helpers, production workers, assemblers, fabricators and more. Inmates who wish to prepare for work in welding participate in an American Welding Society program with nine certification categories – from inspectors, supervisors and educators to radiographic interpreters, welding engineers and fabricators. This program, offered at Madison Correctional Facility, is one of the first correctional welding programs in the US for women. The National Institute for Metal Working Skills program is geared for future CNC operators, training participants for future work as brake press operators, CNC lathe operators, CNC machine operators, CNC mill operators, machine setup and more. Participants in The Last Mile program learn programming languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Trainees also learn teamwork, as well as giving and receiving constructive criticism. This program trains participants for work as programmers, analysts and Java developers. The HIRE program helps participants prepare for employment with resume development, interviewing and job application assistance, and training in financial literacy, computer literacy and conflict resolution. Community employers can take advantage of HIRE’s virtual job fairs, as well as prerelease candidate reviews and interviews.

fabricate parts and also learn to use manual milling machines and lathes. These students may obtain nationally recognized credentials for the use of HAAS CNC mills and lathes. Prisoners in Vocational Village computer coding training learn coding and front-end web development through a program supported by Google.org and The Last Mile. CDL and forklift operation trainees receive virtual instruction via simulators for driving scenarios and road conditions. They also complete coursework and hands-on exercises in forklift training. Prisoner students complete their over-the-road training with a partnering truck company to become fully licensed. Those taking part in classes at Michigan’s Vocational Village sites put in full days of classroom instruction and training, and then receive state and nationally recognized certifications in their trades. For more information, corrections. n



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To learn more about the programs at the Indiana Department of Correction, visit https://www.in.gov/idoc/re-entry/.

Michigan: Two Sites Create Vocational Village

The Michigan Department of Corrections has a skilled trades training program for current prisoners called Vocational Village. There currently are two Vocational Village sites, at the Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia and at the Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson. A third Vocational Village was to be dedicated in 2020 at the women-only Huron Valley Correctional Facility near Ypsilanti, but the schedule has been delayed due to COVID-19 precautions. The site will train women prisoners in computer coding and 3D printing, among other fields.

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SUPPLIER DIRECTORY Employment Services

Hot Runners

AJ Augur Group, LLC www.ajaugur.com Page 28

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Equipment/ Auxiliary Suppliers

Synventive Molding Solutions www.synventive.com Page 14

Conair go.conairgroup.com/conveying Back cover


Frigel www.frigel.com Page 57 Plastic Process Equipment, Inc. www.ppe.com Inside back cover Progressive Components https://procomps.com/profile Page 7

Federated Insurance www.federatedinsurance.com Page 51

Legal Benesch www.beneschlaw.com Page 12

M&A Activity

Concept Molds www.conceptmolds.com Page 43 Ivanhoe Tool & Die Company, Inc. www.ivanhoetool.com Page 42

Operations Consulting Harbour Results, Inc. www.harbourresults.com/plastics Page 25

Process Monitoring

SIGMASOFT Virtual Molding www.sigmasoftvm.com Page 47

Yushin America, Inc. www.yushinamerica.com Page 21

Stout www.stout.com Page 13

Purging Compounds


MRO Supplies

Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) www.mappinc.com Page 56

Grainger www.grainger.com Page 50

Foaming Agents iD Additives www.idadditives.com Page 23

A-1 Tool Corporation www.a1toolcorp.com Page 43 B A Die Mold www.badiemold.com Page 42 Carson Tool & Mold www.carsonmold.com Page 43

Training Paulson Training Programs, Inc. www.paulsontraining.com Page 27

Chem-Trend www.ultrapurge.com Page 15 Purgex Purging Compounds www.purgexonline.com/ free-sample Inside front cover

Resins Amco Polymers www.amcopolymers.com Page 55 Chase Plastics www.chaseplastics.com Page 28 M. Holland www.mholland.com Page 46 PolySource www.polysource.net Page 22

58 | plastics business • 2020 Issue 4

Plante Moran www.plantemoran.com/napis Page 41

RJG, Inc. www.rjginc.com/copilot Page 49

MBS Advisors www.mbsadvisors.com Page 20


Mueller Prost www.muellerprost.com Page 31

DELMIAworks www.3ds.com/DELMIAworks Page 3

Wittmann Battenfeld www.wittmann-group.com Page 17

NPE2021 www.npe.org Page 30

Tax & Advisory

A guide to this issue’s Plastics Business advertisers.




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Plastics Business 2020 Issue 4  

Official Publication of the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors

Plastics Business 2020 Issue 4  

Official Publication of the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors