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Plastics Business Summer 2016

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Clearing the Dust from Production Encouraging Employee Influence Evaluating Energy Efficiency

MAPP Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference Oct. 13-14, 2016

Official Publication of Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors


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director’s letter

The Answer is Right There! It’s real, and it happens every day. When humans are under pressure to solve critical problems, they sometimes experience “defective line of sight in which objects cannot be properly seen if not close to the center of the field of view.” It’s called tunnel vision, and it hinders the brain’s ability to process visual, auditory and other sensory input. The other day, I had a difficult problem to solve at home. Our refrigerator stopped working, and the cost of repair greatly exceeded the cost to buy a new unit. When the delivery crew arrived and attempted to remove the old refrigerator, they quickly discovered that the home builder had installed the appliances before the cabinets and countertops were mounted – and now, the refrigerator would not fit through the opening. Because of liability issues, the delivery professionals refused to lift the old refrigerator up and over the countertop, leaving me with the burden of doing it myself. For two days, I removed doors, trim and external hardware in order to get the refrigerator out of its space, but to no avail. I finally contacted a good friend with the plan of lifting the refrigerator above our heads to move it over the counter. Just before preparing for the herculean lift, my 22-year-old son arrived to watch the show and said, “Dad, why don’t you lay the refrigerator on its side and simply slide it under the counter?” To my dismay and embarrassment, the recommendation worked like a charm. I was left asking the question, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Over the course of the two-day period, a total of six people deeply involved in the problem were unsuccessful in finding the simplest of solutions. Because the solution of lifting the refrigerator above the countertop was provided to me by the delivery personnel – and I conveyed that solution to others who were trying to help me solve the problem – we experienced tunnel vision. When an outside person was introduced into the problem-solving equation without exposure to the “only” solution, a new and better answer was discovered. I share this story to illustrate a common problem. In most manufacturing companies, employees often are insulated from external influences, so finding the best solutions to problems becomes more and more difficult over time. Further complicating the problemsolving process is the fact that the more important the goal or the more threatening/stressful a situation is perceived to be, the more likely a person is to experience the phenomenon of tunnel vision. The longer one is encapsulated in the exact same environment or the more stress is applied, the more difficult it becomes to see and find creative solutions to critical problems. “Sometimes, it’s simply harder to see dirty carpet in your own house.” Although there are many ways to avoid tunnel vision, one of the best methods is to induce outside influence by obtaining ideas and input from people not familiar with your area, department or organization. Many plastics industry executives are working to reduce the tunnel vision phenomenon in their organizations as they find creative ways to continuously improve their companies and bring unique solutions to their own internal issues. As a resource, many executives now rely on MAPP’s Annual Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference to expose their employees to new ideas and thought processes while expanding networks with new contacts to reach out to in times of need. On Oct. 13 and 14, nearly 600 of the nation’s leading plastics industry executives will assemble in Indianapolis to find ways to become better leaders and better industry professionals. Many have been looking for solutions to their most critical problems and will discover, through peer engagements, that the obvious answers have been staring them directly in the face!

Executive Director, MAPP

4 | plastics business • summer 2016

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 Ben Harp, Polymer Conversions, Inc. Vice President Norm Forest, Dymotek Molding Technologies Secretary Ryan Richey, Precision Plastics, Inc. Bill Bartlett, First American Plastics/Quad, Inc. Craig Carrel, Team 1 Plastics, Inc. Michael Devereux II, Mueller Prost PC John Hoskins, Octex Holdings LLC James Krause, Microplastics, Inc. Bob MacIntosh, Nicolet Plastics, Inc. Terry Minnick, Molding Business Services Tom Nagler, Natech Plastics, Inc. Brian Oleson, Centro, Inc. Eric Paules, Crescent Industries Missy Rogers, Noble Plastics, Inc. Alan Rothenbuecher, Benesch Law Teresa Schell, Vive LLC Tom Tredway, Erie Molded Plastics, Inc. Mike Walter, MET Plastics, Inc.

Plastics Business

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Published by:

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 Brittany Willes Lara Copeland

Art Director Becky Arensdorf Graphic Designer Kelly Adams

Circulation Manager Brenda Schell


Plastics Business

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Contents Summer 2016

profile

8

maintenance

conference

38

14

features profile Viking Plastics: Lifting the Ceiling on Employee Influence.....................8 outlook Now What? Does Brexit Mean What We Thought It Would?................... 16 operations Compounding the Purge: Getting the Most out of Color and Resin Changeovers................................................. 22 solutions Opportunities for Energy Efficiency in the Plastics Molding Facility.... 26 strategies Don’t Forget About State Income Tax Incentives................................... 32 industry OSHA Update: Penalties and Drug Testing........................................... 34 maintenance Minimizing Dust and Fines in Granulation and Conveying................... 38 view from 30 Collaboration Strategies for Tool Launches.......................................... 44 A Multi-Tiered RFQ Process................................................................. 46 management Is Your Company the Next Blockbuster?............................................... 48

departments director’s letter................... 4 association.........................18 news..................................36 advertisers.........................58

MAPP Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference......... 14

Cover photo courtesy of Conair Group.

plasticsbusinessmag.com

training room 4 Variables, 7 Questions: How to Determine What Changed in Your Process.......................................................... 52 booklist Creating the Customer Experience..................................................... 56

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 5


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profile

Viking Plastics received the 2015 Supplier Quality Excellence Award from General Motors. Photos courtesy of Viking Plastics.

8 | plastics business • summer 2016


Viking Plastics: Lifting the Ceiling on Employee Influence by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business

In the last five years, Viking Plastics has undergone a radical shift, one employee at a time. It started at the top, with President and CEO Kelly Goodsel moving his office out of the main production building and empowering a strong management team to lead the company. It continued with daily meetings where all employees were asked to share their thoughts on making the company better. It expanded when Viking Academy was born, sharing financial and strategic planning information with those who committed to a series of classes. US sales have doubled in the same time period. Employment is up 50 percent. And, Goodsel knows it’s not a coincidence. Daily drumbeats shift the thought process Established in Corry, Pennsylvania, in 1972, Viking Plastics produces injection molded sealing solutions and custom products primarily for the automotive and HVAC markets. Volumes range from 200 pieces to several million, and 121 employees are on staff. Viking Plastics is located in the center of a heavy steel and plastics manufacturing region. Its customer mix is 80 percent automotive, but the Great Recession didn’t hit the company as hard as it could have, mostly because of the plant’s custom products line. Still, Goodsel wanted the company to achieve more, and a conference keynote speaker provided what Goodsel called “a cornerstone piece” to transformation. “I heard Paul Akers talking about ‘2 Second Lean’ at a Manufacturers Association of Plastics Processors (MAPP)

conference,” said Goodsel. Revolving around recognizing and eliminating eight forms of waste, “2 Second Lean” gives employees the tools to recognize opportunities for improvement and implement solutions immediately. However, empowerment can’t occur without education. “We started with teaching the eight forms of waste to our employees, because knowing and seeing the forms of waste is the first of three pillars in our ‘2 Second Lean’ process,” he explained. “The second pillar asks employees to fix what bugs them, and the third asks them to share what they fixed.” Goodsel pointed out that every company has a machine maintenance program or a capital investment plan, but most companies don’t have an employee maintenance program. “Every company says their employees are their best asset,” he continued, “but few put thought into how to ensure that’s really true. Here was a way to educate our employees and ask them to make our company better.” “As a management team, our goal was to have an engaged workforce,” said Rob Elchynski, operations manager. “We read Paul Akers’ book, and we liked the simplistic approach to what he was doing, although I think there were questions about how exactly it would work.” Viking Plastics began to hold daily drumbeat meetings for each shift, laying the foundation for employees to become educated not only about the business in which they worked, but also the page 10 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 9


profile t page 9 community in which they lived. “In the very beginning, there was little participation from the workforce,” said Elchynski. “It was new to them and to us – we didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do, other than share company information with our employees so they could make better decisions out on the floor. As we continued to meet for daily drumbeats, sharing information helped us build trust – it showed our employees that we trusted them to make good decisions with the data we were providing. In turn, they were willing to trust us enough to start to engage in the process.” Elchynski added, “We are continually learning how much more our employees can contribute beyond their job descriptions when we give them the ability to fix the issues that bother them without having to take it to a supervisor.” Viking Academy advances the mission “About a year into the process, Shawn Gross came to me and said, ‘We need to juice the process,’ ” said Goodsel. “He told me the drumbeat meetings were a great start, but we needed more people sharing the message and understanding the end goals.” Gross, engineering manager for Viking Plastics, explained, “In my career, I’ve observed that companies don’t do a great job of explaining the company to its people. If you want engaged employees, they need to understand why the business exists. I felt there needed to be a technique to bring people together who are interested in learning and then take steps to increase their knowledge, which would help them become better practitioners of the values Viking wanted to live.” Gross laid out an initial eight-week, eight-class curriculum, with information on everything from the sales prospects in the pipeline and budget projections to the IT department. Goodsel then wrote a letter to all employees as an invitation to Viking Academy. He asked those interested to submit a written letter of interest – whether typed or handwritten – expressing what the candidate could bring to Viking Academy and what the individual hoped to learn. Twenty-two employees submitted a letter, and each received a gift card for making the effort. Ten were selected for the first class. “We give that first class a lot of credit,” said Gross. “They were signing up, and no one knew exactly what this was going to be.” Employees in the first Viking Academy class were from diverse areas of operation, including the IT director, a customer service representative, an operator and a quality technician. “We threw people together who didn’t interact on a daily basis and asked them how we could get better. It was an opportunity to get different perspectives on how to create an atmosphere they wanted to come to every day.”

10 | plastics business • summer 2016

The drive for daily improvements led one employee to repaint a forklift.

Soon after the first class had been completed, Goodsel and Gross realized the cart had gotten ahead of the horse. “We had a class of 10 ready to hit the ground running and drive change,” said Gross, “but their supervisors hadn’t received the same training.” “We realized we needed the influencers,” Goodsel added. “We needed them to understand the company on a deeper level, because they were the go-betweens between the company’s message and the people on the floor.” Now, Viking Academy is on its eighth session, and 75 employees have gone through the training class. Initially, Gross led almost all of the classes in each session, but now other leadership team members are taking teaching roles, and the academy has expanded to 10 to 12 sessions that are completed over a 10- to 14-week time period. The impact of the academy is seen daily in the drumbeat meetings. “An assembly department operator asked what costs were associated with an expense line item and ended up sitting down with our controller to understand it on a deeper level,” said Gross. “The operator then came to a drumbeat meeting and talked to coworkers about keeping safety glasses at work and not throwing ear buds in the trash at the end of the day. When you start thinking like an owner, you have an appreciation for the little things that can add up to a big number.” Pulling back the curtain From the beginning of the daily drumbeats, Goodsel and Controller Cathy Pitts led conversations that delved into the company’s financials. “We want all of our employees to understand the basic financial statements – income statement, balance sheet and cash flow,”


explained Pitts. “By focusing on the line items they impact – things like supplies or tooling repair – we’re driving home the idea that each of their decisions on the floor makes a difference. Then, we show them how the numbers from the income statement affect net profit, and we have conversations about how net profit leads to reinvestment in the business.” This level of financial transparency can be difficult. First, the mix of educational levels in the workforce requires Pitts to teach employees to read sometimes complex financial data in simple ways. Second, it demands a great deal of openness from Goodsel and a willingness to answer questions about expenditures and investments. Rather than shaking the company from its path, however, Viking Plastics took another step forward three years ago. “I wanted our people engaged at a higher level,” said Goodsel. “I wanted them to understand our strategic plan – our overall intent for the business.” The management team came up with a plan to bring the Viking Academy graduates together to give them a three- to four-hour state-of-the-business presentation. The presentation includes

data on major customers, sales strategies, the sales pipeline, on-time delivery rates, scrap rates, labor costs – and then dives deeper by going into growth strategies and expansion planning. “Once the data is presented, we let them ask questions,” said Goodsel. “They become a board of directors.” The state-of-the-business presentation has been held three years in a row, and anyone who graduated from Viking Academy is invited. The management team presents to a full house. “If we truly want our employees to contribute to our success, they have to understand every aspect of the business,” Goodsel explained. “The growth we’ve experienced over the last five years tell us we’re doing something right, but it’s also daunting: How do we keep it going? The answer is that we trust our employees to help.” He continued, “While it’s difficult to directly connect a percentage of our growth as being attributed to the culture, we know that every customer, supplier and business interaction has improved because of our engaged workforce.” page 12 u

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profile t page 11 Preparing for greater success Significant growth calls for significant investment. Viking Plastics has a strategic plan that identifies capital needs each year, and recent purchases have included six new Haitian molding machines. “Last year, we replaced five older machines by buying three new machines,” said Goodsel. “Doing so freed up floor space, and we gained higher efficiencies, higher throughput and greater production output.”

“Clearly, the ‘2 Second Lean’ culture has been a significant change for our company and drove some of the improvement,” he said. “I also had to get out of the way. I moved out of the building and made sure the right people were in place. Shawn Gross, Rob Elchynski, Cathy Pitts, Bob Senz (quality manager) and Rob Prindle (IT manager) took on the additional responsibilities of a true management team and set us on a different path from a culture standpoint.”

As sales have increased, customers have required additional processes. The company now offers two-shot molding and insert welding. Other investments have included a plant-wide material system, including centralized metal detection, mixing and drying; RJG eDART systems for several machines; and auxiliary equipment, including SRS grinders, Yushin pickers and Dri-Air driers.

More success for Viking Plastics is on the way, if the sales projections hold true. “From 2010 to today, we’ve doubled the amount of business we do in the US. We’ve quintupled the profit margin. We should finish 2016 with our sixth year in a row of record sales, and 2017 is already looking good for a seventh,” Goodsel said. “There are a lot of people who can run a small business the way I did. I needed to control every aspect of this business. But, lifting the ceiling and asking my employees to do more – allowing them to do more and giving them the right tools – they’ve blown the doors off the place.” n

Viking Plastics is on a steep upward trajectory, and culture has played an important role. For a guy like Goodsel, who likes quantifiable data and a solid hand on the wheel, it’s a little unbelievable.

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This year’s theme – PERSEVERANCE, THE SECRET OF ALL SUCCESS – is designed to inspire, motivate and educate processors on how to positively influence the people around them. Becoming better is not something that just happens – good leaders continually work to make themselves better, and the 2016 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference will help them do that!

Register MAPP MEMBERS: $775 NON-MAPP MEMBERS: $995 GROUPS OF FOUR OR MORE: $675 (per MAPP Member attendee)

Mobile App Connect with fellow attendees before, during and after the conference; check the agenda and learn about the speakers, programming, exhibitors and much more with the conference mobile app. Download the app at www.mappinc.com/ conference.

Game Changers These sessions are designed to provide attendees with the opportunity to increase their knowledge on a variety of industry/work-related topics! During these Game Changer Sessions (or Breakout Sessions), industry executives and leading experts will be on hand to share information and data while facilitating discussions, cross talk and question and answer sessions. Conference attendees will attend two 35-minute sessions. Topics may include: n Optimizing the Working Environment through Culture n Tax Incentive Programs n New Department of Labor Rules n Component Suppliers to System Suppliers – Adding Value to the Supply Chain n Training Best Practices n Using Metrics to Manage (OEE) n 4DX Execution n Internet of Things (IoT) n Best-in-Class Sales Processes n Impact of 3D Printing Technology


Oct. 13-14, 2016

Indianapolis, Indiana

Agenda A full schedule can be found at www.mappinc.com/conference. The schedule is subject to change.

Wednesday, Oct. 12 5:30 p.m.

Industry Welcome Reception

Thursday, Oct. 13 7 a.m. 8 a.m.

Speakers SHIFT YOUR BRILLIANCE – HARNESS THE POWER OF YOU Simon T. Bailey, MA, CSP, CPAE, Simon T. Bailey International, Inc. Business change is moving at the speed of light, and to keep pace, your organization needs you to be your own career architect. But what is driving this line of thinking? Technology clearly is playing the biggest role. McKinsey & Company forecasts by 2025, automation technology innovations will assume tasks now performed by 250 million knowledge workers worldwide, freeing the remaining workforce to devote time and energy to more creative pursuits. Repositioning yourself to revitalize your role within your current team or company is a powerful tool for professional development. In this highly interactive keynote presentation, each participant will emerge with an action plan to apply core principles for acquiring the “Shift Your Brilliance” mindset, uncover the insight needed to be a high performer and commit to being a “chief breakthrough officer” within the organization or department. EVERYDAY LEADERSHIP Bill Clement, two-time Stanley Cup champion If we can influence others, we can positively impact the cultures in which we work. Too often, people associate their values to their organizations with their job titles without exercising the powers of the EveryDay Leadership they possess. Similarly, managers and executives often lose sight of their immediate surroundings – their teammates – focusing intently on a bigger picture. Bill Clement’s presentation will leave you laughing, inspired and motivated to unlock this powerful ability to manage outcomes. As he takes you onto the ice and into the dressing rooms that were home to him for 11 years in the NHL, you will meet the EveryDay Leaders who most influenced his team’s championships. NEVER FLY SOLO Lt. Col. Rob Waldman (ret.), “The Wingman” Flying solo? You might think so. But take a good look around. You have support staff and managers. You have directors, suppliers and distributor partners. And you have colleagues and significant others. Today in our super-charged, highly competitive world of constant change, those who build trust and work as a team will dodge the missiles of adversity and win. By committing to excellence and placing trust in those around you, you can overcome obstacles, adapt to change and break performance barriers during adverse times, thereby maximizing your potential in all aspects of life. By placing trust in your wingmen and by being a wingman to others, there is no mission you can’t complete!

Registration and Breakfast Perseverance, The Secret of All Success Troy Nix, MAPP executive director 8:30 a.m. Keynote Address Shift Your Brilliance – Harness the Power of You Simon T. Bailey, Simon T. Bailey International, Inc. 9:45 a.m. Networking Break 10:15 a.m. Quick Fire Sessions Noon Lunch 1:15 p.m. Game Changers (Breakout Sessions) 2:40 p.m. Networking Break 3 p.m. MAPP Annual Meeting 3:20 p.m. Ignite Sessions 3:40 p.m. EveryDay Leadership Bill Clement, two-time Stanley Cup champion Member’s Choice reception 5 p.m. 7 p.m. Day One adjournment

Friday, Oct. 14 7 a.m. 8 a.m. 9 a.m. 9:15 a.m.

10 a.m. Noon

Breakfast Functional Area Groups Networking Break Why Millennials Matter: Top 10 Millennials Questions Answered Never Fly Solo Lt. Col. Rob Waldman (ret.) Conference ends

Thank you to this year’s key sponsors

www.mappinc.com /conference


outlook

Now What? Does Brexit Mean What We Thought It Would? by Chris Kuehl, managing director, Armada Corporate Intelligence

It has been more than a month, and the pundits from the various global think tanks have waited long enough for their opportunity to weigh in. The consensus view is that the Brexit has been a bad thing in the short term and likely in the medium term, but the long-term impact is much harder to estimate. The immediate impact of the Brexit has been a slowdown in the UK economy that will likely drag the overall GDP numbers down by at least one point – at least that is the assessment of the IMF in its latest analysis. That is consistent with what has been presented by the World Bank, the OECD and others. The EU is convinced the decline will be even steeper – closer to three points – and in the UK, the analysts are generally in the two-point drop category. The impact on the US was immediate and not quite as destructive as had been originally assumed. The most direct influence was from the change in the value of the currency. The British pound fell to a 40-year low, and the euro tumbled as well. This made the US dollar that much stronger, and this was assumed to be disastrous for the US exporter. The data that have come in since the Brexit showed that there was indeed a decline in demand for US goods – especially from the UK and Europe – but, not as much as had been assumed. It seems that there are other reasons to buy from another nation aside from the value of the currency. It is certainly a disincentive when one has to pay more for a product due to the fact one’s currency is weak, but the demand for the product may be great enough to offset the higher costs. Much of what the US manufacturer sells is unique and in demand. There are no ready substitutes and, therefore, no alternative to paying the higher costs. The US has simply not lost as much export momentum as assumed. The most significant impact on US sales abroad will be the result of a slowing British economy, as the country has been a big trade partner for years. The loss of economic momentum in Europe and the UK will likely hurt more than the strengthening of the dollar. German and French business confidence is down, and the EU in general still seems somewhat in shock. The US doesn’t expect much of an immediate impact, but is keeping an eye on the middle and later estimates. It may be to the benefit of the US if the British elect to trade more with the US, but that advantage could be lost if the Europeans get angry and, in response, shift

16 | plastics business • summer 2016

their emphasis more to Asia. That seems unlikely at this stage, given the importance of the US market, but all will depend on the way that negotiations proceed. The pro-Brexit forces in the UK asserted that all would be well because the US would step in and buy more from them. The problem is that the US mostly imports things the British do not sell. The US imports oil and commodities, such as industrial metals. The US makes the same things that British industry makes and that limits demand. The


Much of what the US manufacturer sells is unique and in demand. There are no ready substitutes and, therefore, no alternative to paying the higher costs. The US has simply not lost as much export momentum as assumed.

major trading partners for the US are Canada and Mexico, and that is not going to change. There are many moving parts here, and the key will be the extent to which emotions can be kept out of the talks. The British have placed pro-Brexit leaders in position as chief negotiators and that could be a bad move if they behave as pure ideologues and cooperate not at all with the Europeans. If they do so, they will be charged with the failure and any negative outcomes, so they will be better served by getting a decent agreement. As proBrexit, they will be less likely to be attacked by the UK voters for not trying. The Europeans also seem to be putting hard liners in charge. It is likely to be a set of talks that look extremely acrimonious on the outside while deals are cut quietly. The US wants to position itself as an arbitrator and has urged cooler heads to prevail. This may indeed be the case as many in Germany and France have backed down from their more strident positions, but the US is not seen as a real neutral in this situation. The US is very likely to play the role of dispassionate outsider willing to work with anybody and everybody, but the Europeans see the US as far closer to the UK. One very interesting theory going around asserts there will be a triumvirate of sorts by the end of the year. Will having female leaders in the UK (Theresa May), Germany (Angela Merkel) and possibly the US (Hillary Clinton) provide a unique opportunity? This puts far too much emphasis on cooperation based on gender when none of the three has been a champion of this approach. There are few leaders in the world more nationalistic than Merkel, and Theresa May is a devoted British Tory. Even Clinton has always kept her distance from “woman’s power,” except in the campaign moments. The bottom line is the Brexit process will take the full two years that are provided for in Article 50, and it now appears that negotiations will be careful and drawn out. The British will not lose access to Europe, as they will still have their membership in

the World Trade Organization. The major issues will be working out compromises that satisfy the EU and the British public. The impact on the US will depend on two factors – how long the dollar stays high relative to the other currencies and the extent to which trade patterns shift. The UK will be more reliant on the US, but that is not going to be a major issue in the US. For the moment, this can be seen as a European issue with only tangential relevance to the US. 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 advisors 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. For more information, visit www.armada-intel.com.

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association

MAPP’s 2016 Plastics Industry Wage and Salary Survey MAPP’s annual Wage and Salary Survey was released in early July. This survey has become one of the most widely recognized benchmarking practices on compensation in the US plastics industry. This year’s survey and subsequent report include new job titles and operational questions based on responses from previous years, as well as details on the new wage legislation’s impact on compensation for plastics processors. Distributed to plastics executives across the nation, hundreds of respondents provide wage and salary information on more than 55 job titles in the plastics industry. The data include benchmarks on starting and average wages, wage ranges, average tenure and salary trends for every job title, as well as statistical analysis of specific job titles. The final report will be available on the MAPP website in late August. 2016 EHS Summit: Prevention, Not Reaction – Nov. 2-3, 2016 To truly achieve a world-class level of safety in an operation, companies must establish a culture of safety – one that revolves around employee training, accountability and adapting to safety trends – with a focus on prevention, not reaction. It is this level of commitment to safety that will allow a company to grow, not only in building and employee protection, but in all regions of business. With new federal laws and regulations, and rising OSHA fines, adapting a business to stay in compliance should be a top priority. This year’s Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Summit will provide a framework for leaders to build their company’s safety profile. This learning and networking conference will focus on uniting manufacturing executives from across the United States. The summit promises to provide high-level safety professionals

18 | plastics business • summer 2016

with implementable ideas they can take back to their facilities to improve operations and achieve world-class safety. Registration now is open at http://www.mappinc.com/eventcalendar. MAPP Welcomes New Members • Carolina Technical Plastics, New Bern, North Carolina • Fresnel Tech, Fort Worth, Texas

The Power of Terms and Conditions Earlier this summer, MAPP conducted a survey focused on terms and conditions in the plastics industry. The subsequent report revealed important information and industry-specific trends that plastics processors may be able to use as leverage when negotiating terms and conditions. The 2016 Terms and Conditions report analyzes information from processors on important factors in terms and conditions such as mandated price downs, freight terms, use of legal counsel, payment terms, progressive payment policies, and tool and design property. The report details overall plastics industry trends, as well as trends based on customer size and industry served. With a special foreword from MAPP’s legal counsel, this report encourages processors to take a deeper look into their own terms and conditions, who negotiates these and where plastics companies may be able to save themselves time, money or risk. The report now is available for purchase on the MAPP website at www.mappinc.com/plastics-information. MAPP’s 2016 Innovation Award Thank you to all members who submitted entries for this year’s Innovation Award. In celebration of the innovation efforts within the MAPP membership, MAPP launched its second annual Innovation Award competition. This year’s competition was focused on innovative water manifold setups. The effective setup of water manifolds benefits mold changes and helps to mistake-proof mold installation – reducing waste and cost.


The winner of this year’s Innovation Award will be chosen by MAPP members’ voting and will be recognized at this year’s Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference, held Oct. 13-14, 2016. A booklet including information about the top eight finalists will be available to MAPP members on the MAPP website or by emailing info@mappinc.com. Two New Cost-Reduction Programs Introduced MAPP’s staff and board of directors continues to build strategic partnerships with key industry service providers. Two new sponsors are offering cost-reduction programs specifically to MAPP members to offer an additional return on investment: Engineering Resource Center and Plastic Molding Advisors. The Engineering Resource Center (ERC) is a comprehensive service provider that takes concepts from new product development and design through final production. The Engineering Resource Center provides expertise, prototype development and plastic injection molding solutions for a range of markets. The ERC works to be a one-stop service provider, allowing plastics professionals to get their products to the market faster.

The ERC offers MAPP members one of the following: free mold flow analysis, 10 percent off a prototype or 10 hours of virtual engineering. Plastic Molding Advisors (PMA) offers financial and operational guidance to investors and customer injection molding companies that want to improve their bottom lines. PMA is now offering MAPP members a 50 percent discount on the initial day of consulting services. If the member company engages PMA for further consulting services, the cost of the initial day of consulting services will be free. A full list of more than 40 cost-reduction programs offered by MAPP can be accessed by members at www.mappinc.com/ cost-reduction-programs. n

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www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 19


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operations

Compounding the Purge: Getting the Most out of Color and Resin Changeovers by Brittany Willes, contributing editor, Plastics Business

For molders, purging refers to the process of removing traces of old material and contaminants from molding equipment. With a plethora of purging compounds to work with, which compound is most efficient when it comes to color and resin changeovers? What are the benefits of using a purging compound at all? As with most things, the answer depends on the particular job or situation. Mechanical vs. chemical compounds The first step in reducing material waste is to identify which purging compound is most suitable to a given job or process. Many types of purging compounds are on the market today; however, they are not equal. Selecting the wrong compound can lead to a slew of problems, including inefficient cleaning and mold growth or damage to equipment. “Each process should determine which purge compound is right for each situation,” stated Corey Henley, senior technical service specialist for Chem-Trend, Howell, Michigan. “You would not want to use a standard polypropylene purge on a high-heat application, nor would you want to use a white, highly abrasive purge to clean the hot runners on a highly polished clear lens mold.” Mechanical purging compounds tend to work based on material affinity and viscosity differences, using the machine to perform the work. “All things being equal, you want to be more viscous than the material you’re trying to get out,” explained Eric Procunier, product development manager for Asaclean-Sun Plastech, Inc., Parsippany, New Jersey. “At the same time, if you can match the base resin in the purging compound with the material you are purging, you’re going to have much more success because the material will be attracted to the purging compound and you’ll be able to pull the material off the screw and barrel much more easily.” According to Procunier, typically there are scrubbing fillers in most compounds – whether mechanical or chemical – but they’re not such that they would do any damage. Mechanical compounds can differ on a wide range from a mild foaming agent to cracked acrylic or glass fillers. By contrast, chemical compounds call for a chemical reaction to take place inside the machine, reducing the viscosity of the material in the barrel and making it easier to move out. “A chemical purging compound creates a reaction within the

22 | plastics business • summer 2016

Photo courtesy of Asaclean-Sun Plastech, Inc.

contamination, breaking the molecular bonds that hold it to the metal surface,” stated Henley. “Once the bonds are broken, the contamination can be easily removed from the system.” Naturally, there are pros and cons to each type of compound. For instance, unlike mechanical purging compounds, chemical compounds tend to have foaming agents in them, which allow the purge to expand into areas that might be low-flow or poorly designed, reaching areas that a mechanical purge might not have access to. On the other hand, chemical compounds can result in greater downtime. “Chemical purging compounds have to soak under heat for a period of time in order for the chemical reactions to occur,” said Procunier. “This can take anywhere from five to 30 minutes. Mechanical compounds can just be put into the machine and run straight through. Using a mechanical purge cuts down on the time spent just waiting.”


Whether using a mechanical or chemical compound, the most important thing is to be sure to use each purging compound the way it was intended. All compounds are not the same and, therefore, will not work the same. Running a chemical purge like a mechanical purge runs the risk of damaging the machine or mold, resulting in lost time, lost profits and potential risks to employee safety. Greater efficiency As mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of purging compounds is reduced downtime. When used correctly, “purging compounds will clean a screw and barrel (as well as hot runners and dies) far faster than virgin or regrind resin will, while greatly reducing resin waste,” stated Procunier. “This allows for much faster color and job changes.” For instance, if purge is not being used on color changes then no cleaning – mechanical or chemical – has taken place. “The only thing that is taking place is trying to displace previous material and contaminant buildup with resin,” Henley affirmed. This is a highly ineffective method, as it can take up to 10 times the amount of natural resin for the system to be clean enough to make good parts. In addition, scrap will continue to build up. “Just the time it takes to process this material equates to a significant amount of downtime when viewed over every machine for the year,” he said. Machine maintenance also can be affected by the use of high-quality purging compounds. Carbon buildup and other contaminants will eventually require machines to be down for maintenance; however, a quality purging compound, used regularly, can help extend the amount of time that systems can run before tear-down becomes a necessity. Henley asserted, “A good chemical purge can keep carbon low and remove buildup from even hot runner systems. In this way, a purge compound is not something you just purge on the floor and throw away; it is an integral part of your process (by limiting downtime) and maintenance plan (by limiting frequency of tear-downs).” Overall, purge compounds enhance machine efficiency in several ways. “We see better labor utilization, scrap rate reduction, increased uptime and better response to changes in customer demand,” said Procunier. Savings benefits Mechanical or chemical, there are many benefits to using a high-quality purging compound, some of which tie directly into savings benefits. “There are three main areas in which the majority of cost savings are realized when using a high-quality purge compound: cost of usage, scrap and downtime,” stated Henley.

Carbon buildup and other contaminants will eventually require machines to be down for maintenance; however, a quality purging compound, used regularly, can help extend the amount of time that systems can run before teardown becomes a necessity. He went on to explain that the cost of usage is calculated by the cost of the purge multiplied by the amount of purge used. In most cases, the more expensive purge compounds will require less to do a better job. For example, Natural Resin: $0.95/lb x 50lbs (amount needed to do a color change) = $47.50 Purge 1: $1.95/lb x 20lbs (amount needed to do the same color change) = $39.00 Purge 2: $3.35/lb x 10lbs (amount needed to do the same color change) = $33.50 “In each of these, the cost per pound is increased, but the cost per use has reduced,” he explained. Purging compound also can help reduce the amount of material waste from scrap parts that are unable to be sold as a result of color change defects, such as color mix or black spot contamination. According to Henley, “A high-quality purging compound will reduce the amount of scrap parts produced between color changes. Using just a natural resin can run up to 20 to 30 scrap parts before good parts are produced. A cheap purge may reduce this to around 10 parts. A high-quality purge compound targets zero to two color-mix parts per color change. The cost of the scrap is determined by the cost of the no-good part. This cost has to include the cost of material to make the part, the machine time, the operator time and, if needed, the overtime cost to remold the parts. Assuming each part’s scrap cost is $5, then the natural resin running 20 scrap parts would cost $100 per color change vs. $0-$10 with a high-quality purge.” As mentioned earlier, purging compounds also can reduce the amount of downtime required between color or resin changeover. page 24 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 23


operations t page 23 This results in another type of cost savings, separate from that which is gained through material savings. Essentially, savings can be found in the time it takes to go from last part to first part, whether scrap or good (not counting purge parts if molding with purge compound). Every machine has a burden rate, and every operator has a cost. As Henley explained, each minute the machine is not producing parts and the operator is idle is costing the company money that otherwise would be passed on to the customer via the goods sold. Using the amount from the example above, it would take five times as long to process the natural resin as it would to process Purge 2. If it takes 10 minutes to process Purge 2, then it is easy to see that it would take 50 minutes to process five times the amount of material. This would equate to 40 minutes of downtime. If a company had 10 molding machines running, two color changes per day, five days per week, 48 weeks a year, this is 3,200 hours wasted per year. If the burden rate for the machine and operator combined is $60/hour, the result is $192,000 per year wasted in downtime. Keep in mind: If downtime is counted as the time from last sellable part to first sellable part, then the machine burden rate and operator cost must be removed from the scrap part cost or this cost is counted twice.

Using those numbers, a cost savings calculation from natural resin to a high-quality purge would look like this: Natural Resin

Purge 2

Cost per usage: ($47.50)

Cost per usage: ($33.50)

Scrap 20 parts: ($100)

Scrap 2 parts: ($10)

Downtime 50 min: ($50)

Downtime 10 min: ($10)

Total cost/purge: ($197.50)

Total cost/purge: ($53.50)

Total savings of a high-quality purge vs. the natural resin is $144. If there are two color changes per day on 10 machines, five days per week, 48 weeks per year, the annual cost savings is $691,200. “Of course, this is not an actual situation,” Henley remarked, “but it is a good estimation based on many processes from many injection molders.” Final advice for using purging compounds Over the last decade, purging compounds have improved dramatically. A lot of time and energy has been spent on research and the development of new technologies to make processors jobs easier, which is why suppliers like Chem-Trend and Asaclean encourage processors to take advantage of it. However, purges are not interchangeable. Therefore, it is especially important for processors to follow the appropriate procedures. “The biggest issue we see is when operators move away from the purging procedures created by the suppliers,” stated Procunier. “Always follow the advice of your purge supplier. You want to be mindful of the smallest restriction in the system – be it gate size, die orifice size, screen size, etc. When instructions are followed and grades are properly chosen for the application, there is no risk to equipment or molds.” “Before using any new material,” Henley added, “always be aware of potential hazards, either due to a chemical reaction or just as a danger to the machine or mold. If you have questions, ask. If your sales representative does not know, then ask to speak to a technical service representative. Get answers before processing a new material.” n

24 | plastics business • summer 2016


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solutions

Opportunities for Energy Efficiency in the Plastics Molding Facility Energy consumption is critical to molding operations, but efficient energy consumption can greatly increase profitability. Following the basic steps in transforming a raw material into a final product and then looking at these steps in terms of required energy input is helpful in determining where potential process energy savings can be realized. In the following sections, each process step will be examined for possible energy savings and potential process improvements. 1. Start with the Raw Material As with any recipe, the final product is only as good as the ingredients. The consistency of the plastic resins and their properties is absolutely critical to the

by Michael L. Stowe, P.E., senior energy engineer, Advanced Energy

successful downstream processes of extrusion or injection molding. Depending on the resin supplier, there may be variability between batches of resins and having a small lab to check such things as resin density, melt index, shear rate vs. viscosity and tensile strength can help ensure consistent, high-quality resins. Remember that scrap costs both money and energy to replace. Ensuring good raw material quality on the resins will help to ensure good quality extruded and injection molded parts downstream.

Mike Stowe is a senior energy engineer with Advanced Energy in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has more than 28 years of experience in manufacturing plants, including roles as production manager, maintenance manager and plant engineer. Currently, Stowe works with utilities, industrial equipment vendors and manufacturing plant teams to find the best technical and most energy-efficient solutions for industrial processes. For more information, call 919.857.9043 or visit www.advancedenergy.org.

Plastic Resin Storage: Moisture can be the enemy of plastic processing and can cause all kinds of quality issues with both extrusion and injection molding. Needless to say, the plastic resins and other ingredients must be stored in a dry location free from contamination and extreme ambient temperature variation. Compounding: Along with raw materials and storage, the mixing and compounding of the final recipes for extrusion or injection molding is critical for the stability and consistency of the final products. Again, good, consistent compounding helps reduce scrap. Drying: At all steps in the storage, mixing, compounding and transport of the plastic resins, prevention of moisture must be considered. Drying requires energy input in some form to drive the moisture out of the plastic resins. Controlling the drying and reducing the energy needed for drying can be a good source of cost savings.

26 | plastics business • summer 2016


2. Be Aware during Resin Transport At various points in the plastic resin delivery, storage, compounding, drying and delivery to the extruder or injection molding machine, the material must be transported. The methods and timing of this transport can offer energy saving opportunities. If the plastic resin, warm from drying, is directly delivered to the molding machine, less energy is required at the machine to raise the plastic temperature to the melting point. For example, if the plastic is fed into the equipment at room temperature, the specific energy to raise its temperature will be much more than if the plastic is delivered to the machine at say 150ºF. If operations allow, keeping the plastic warm from upstream processing will allow for better energy efficiency. If possible and practical, it may be an energy benefit to insulate hoppers and transport piping, especially if the transport piping runs outside the building. 3. Look at the Molding Process Extrusion Opportunities A lot of things need to go right to obtain efficient and consistent extrusion. Three key process parameters for extrusion are melt PTS_PlasticsBusinessAd_Fall2016_ForPrint.indd pressure, melt temperature and motor load. These three items need to be measured and monitored to ensure stable, consistent and steady-state extrusion, thereby minimizing scrap. Related to these three items are the main energy users for the pipe extruder and the extrusion die, which include the following: • • • •

extrusion screw main drive motor (typically the largest load) extrusion screw barrel heaters extrusion die heaters extrusion screw barrel cooling water and/or air

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Figure 1 on page 28 shows the typical equipment arrangement for a single screw plastic extruder. The larger energy loads are circled in red. Ideally, there will be just enough energy input to the barrel and screw to melt and extrude the plastic. If the screw is running too fast, it can overheat and require excessive cooling water as counterbalance. If too slow, it may not melt the plastic properly. Each resin has a specific energy consumption (SEC) for heating and melting. Ideally, the screw supplies 80 to 90 percent of page 28 u

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solutions t page 27 and die to hold in as much heat as possible. Also, having an enclosure or hood over the barrel and die can help prevent convective heat losses caused by air currents carrying heat away from the extrusion equipment. Figure 2 shows a graph of steady state (SS) power versus barrel temperature with and without insulation. As seen in Figure 2, energy savings with insulation on the barrel and the die can be significant. Also, the cost for this insulation is fairly low so the payback is fast. Figure 1. Typical single screw plastic extruder

the melt energy, with the barrel heaters supplying the balance of 10 to 20 percent. If the screw provides more than the SEC, then cooling is required to take away the excess heat, which is inefficient and potentially degrades the plastic. The optimum extrusion point is where the screw provides precisely 100 percent of the SEC for the specific plastic resin currently in use. Anything above that indicates a hyperactive screw and requires extra energy for extra cooling. Also, overheating can lead to degradation of the plastic resins, reduced melt strengths at the die exit and can make the extrusion more difficult to cool. Running an extruder barrel too hot and requiring cooling is like driving your car with your foot riding the brake. Careful optimization of barrel temperature is critical for efficient extrusion. It is a good practice to install insulation blankets around the barrel

Injection Molding and Mold Extraction Opportunities The main energy consumers for injection molding machines are typically: • hydraulic pump motors (approximately 80 percent of the total energy usage) • process cooling water (PCW) systems for cooling the hydraulic oil • chillers to supply chill water to the mold • barrel heating bands Figure 3, on page 29, shows the typical equipment arrangement for a plastic injection molding machine. The larger energy loads are circled in red. Hydraulic pump motors represent a large source of energy consumption in plastic injection molding machines. The injection molding process is essentially a batch system and has a varying hydraulic load demand during the cycle. The actual time of peak hydraulic demand is low, as the peak is only needed for the plastic injection. There are several opportunities for saving energy in the hydraulic system. Each is shown with some factors for consideration.

Figure 2. Energy-saving impact of insulating the extruder barrel

28 | plastics business • summer 2016

1) All electric injection molding machines, which use electric servo motors for both injection and clamping a. Energy savings from 25 to 60 percent. b. Repeatable, consistent and accurate performance. c. No hydraulic oil to leak or clean up. d. No hydraulic oil to cool, reducing PCW system load. e. Quieter operations. f. Higher initial equipment cost. g. Not good for retrofitting with existing molds; difficult to adapt. h. Better for new installations with new molds. i. Torque for long-time holds, as with PVC, may be an issue. j. Reliability of core pulls may be an issue.


Figure 3. Typical plastic injection molding machine

2) Hybrid injection molding machines, which use electric servo motors for injection and traditional hydraulics for clamping: a.  Offer an energy advantage over straight hydraulic machines. b.  Repeatable, consistent and accurate performance. c.  Fast clamp open and close speeds. d.  Less hydraulic oil to leak or clean up. e.  Less hydraulic oil to cool. f.  Somewhat quieter. g.  Initial cost is between all-electric and all-hydraulic equipment. h.  Good for use with existing molds. 3) Variable speed drive (VSD) hydraulics for both injection and clamping, optimizing hydraulic motor run time and speed: a.  Distinct energy improvement over straight hydraulic machines, with savings ranging from 25 to 55 percent, depending on machine size/cycle. b.  Good option for retrofit on existing machines. c.  Less costly than buying a new all-electric machine. d.  Reduced hydraulic heat load that must be cooled. As mentioned, the energy load on the PCW system is reduced with the reduction of hydraulic load on the injection molding machines. Going all-electric or hybrid, or adding a VSD to the hydraulic motor, will all reduce the PCW heat load. Additionally, for process cooling towers, the addition of a VSD to the cooling tower fan can also achieve good energy savings. Try to run the mold chill water temperature set point as high as possible without compromising mold operations. Just because the chillers are capable of producing 40ºF chill water does not mean that is where the set point needs to be. If the molds are sweating from condensate on a humid summer day, like a glass of tea on the back deck, chances are the chill water set point is too low. Overcooling the chill water is just spending energy money unnecessarily.

weight and dimensions on injected parts. Typically, electric resistance heater bands are used to accomplish this. Barrel insulation wraps are available specifically for plastic injection molding machines. This is certainly a good option, but two other energy-efficient technologies are available for barrel heating: 1) Induction Heaters a.  Faster heat-up time. b.  Use up to 75 percent less power versus electric resistance heater bands. c.  An average 50 percent reduction in part weight variability. d.  An average 25 percent reduction in part dimensional variability. e.  Induction technology uses a copper coil wrapped around the barrel and high-frequency AC to induce eddy currents to heat the barrel. f.  Frequency can be optimized to ensure the proper depth of heating in the barrel wall thickness. g.  With heat induced in the barrel, the barrel itself effectively becomes the heating element. 2) Infrared (IR) Radiant Heaters a.  Faster heat-up times with nearly instant on and off. b.  Use up to 50 percent less power than electric resistant heater bands. c.  IR heating elements are built into the insulation, creating a very tight and efficient thermal barrier. d.  More consistent and stable heating along the barrel length. e.  Barrel temperature stability of +/- 1ºF. f.  Estimated service life of five years. g.  Estimated payback of 12 to 18 months. Once the injection molding cycle is completed, the part is extracted from the mold and through conveyors or other material handling equipment sent downstream for final processing. Conclusion A variety of opportunities exist in any plastics molding or extrusion facility to reduce energy consumption and costs, including those discussed here. Others that could not be addressed include demand-side power management, motor management, lighting and compressed air systems. Reducing scrap also reduces energy usage: (1) energy has already been consumed to create the part that is scrapped, and (2) more energy must be consumed to create a replacement part. n

In opposition to the need for mold chill water, the barrel for the injection screw must stay hot. Consistency and stability in barrel temperature lead to better quality and more accurate, repeatable

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 29


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strategies

Don't Forget About State Income Tax Incentives by Michael J. Devereux, CPA, CMP, partner, Mueller Prost PC

If you aren’t paying attention to your state tax return, you may be paying too much. The federal income tax return usually gets the most attention. This may be a result of confusion, frustration or both, but once a taxpayer reviews the federal return, many people tend to skim or even skip over the state returns, whether they file in one state or many. Perhaps it is because the state tax has a lower tax rate. Since it is only five or six percent, is it worth the extra time and effort for a processor and the CPA to spend additional time identifying ways to reduce the state income tax

liabilities? This appears to be true for some CPAs, as well. Many times, when reviewing a state return for a new client, we find that the state income tax return was neglected. In this article, we will take a high-level look at a few potential state tax credits and incentives that could provide significant tax savings. Like the federal tax laws, states legislate tax incentives to encourage a specific behavior, such as investment, hiring or research. Generally, these incentives are there to encourage more

Tax Incentives Specific to Plastics Processors State

R&D Credit

Job Creation Tax Credit

Enterprise Zone Credit

Investment Tax Credit

State

R&D Credit

Job Creation Tax Credit

Enterprise Zone Credit

Investment Tax Credit

AK

No

Yes

No

Yes

MS

No

Yes

No

Yes

AL

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

MT

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

AR

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

NC

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes Yes

AZ

Yes

Yes

No

No

ND

CA

Yes

Yes

No

No

NE

Yes

Yes

No

CO

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

NH

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

CT

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

NJ

DC

No

Yes

Yes

No

NM

No

DE

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

NV

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

FL

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

NY

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

GA

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

OH

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes Yes

HI

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

OK

IA

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

OR

Yes

Yes

Yes

ID

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

PA

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

IL

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

RI

IN

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SC

Yes

KS

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SD

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

No

Yes

No

Yes

KY

No

Yes

No

Yes

TN

LA

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

TX

Yes

No

No

No

MA

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

UT

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

MD

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

VA

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

ME

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

VT

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

MI

No

Yes

No

Yes

WA

MN

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

WI

MO

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

WV

No

Yes

No

Yes

WY

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

© 2016 Thomson Reuters/Tax & Accounting. All Rights Reserved.

32 | plastics business • summer 2016


activity within the state, thereby increasing the number of jobs and revenue to the state coffers. It is important to note that all states have different, unique laws, so further work is necessary to determine whether your state(s) offer these incentives and, if so, how much benefit you could receive. For plastics processors, one of the most overlooked credits is the research credit. This is especially true for the state research credits. More than 30 states have some form of research credit. All state rules are different, but most plastics manufacturers should benefit from a state research credit if they are able to take advantage of the federal credit. Similar to the federal credit, qualifying activities may include, but are not limited to, the following: • Developing new product designs • Developing new mold designs or improving transfer molds • Experimenting with processing variables to improve processes • Improving manufacturing processes through automation • Experimenting with new resins • Performing PPAP or First Article inspections on new parts In addition, almost every state has some form of job creation tax credit. While some may resemble the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit, many states have credits that encourage hiring of workers in underdeveloped areas. These areas often are referred to as “enterprise zones,” which may have other benefits in addition to the hiring incentives. Some states try to attract a certain level of job. For example, you may receive a credit or other benefit for bringing or increasing jobs that pay over the average rate of the particular county in which you operate. Other states may have specific industry incentives, such as those for manufacturers. Many states also have an investment tax credit. These incentives are based upon capital investments that could include buildings,

Many states also have an investment tax credit. These incentives are based upon capital investments that could include buildings, building additions and equipment. building additions and equipment. Some states take a narrow approach by limiting the incentives to certain industries or levels of investment. Other credits may be available for education assistance and training costs. While this article has touched on the more common incentives, opportunities are available for tax breaks or other incentives by contacting the economic development agency in the area in which you are located or are looking to expand. States, counties and cities want to encourage businesses to either start or expand facilities in their area. One way to do that is by offering credits or other benefits that may include adjustments to sales tax or property tax. It is important to start these conversations early so you can identify all potential benefits or incentives that may be available. n Michael J. Devereux II, CPA, CMP, is a partner and director of Manufacturing, Distribution & Plastics Industry Services for Mueller Prost. Devereux’s primary focus is on tax incentives for the manufacturing sector. He serves on MAPP’s Board of Directors and has been a MAPP sponsor since 2006. Mueller Prost’s Tax Incentives Group is nationally recognized and has assisted numerous companies in the plastics industry capture these benefits. For more information, email mdevereux@ muellerprost.com or call 314.862.2070.

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Tel: 860 496-9603 www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 33


industry

OSHA Update: Penalties and Drug Testing Safety has to be one of the top concerns for all plastics processors. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has just made it more important from a financial perspective. On Aug. 1, 2016, OSHA started imposing financial penalties that are significantly higher than before. Penalties for serious citations have increased from $7,000 to $12,471. Penalties for willful or repeat citations have increased from $70,000 to $124,709. OSHA now is using the new maximum limits to address all safety standard violations occurring after Nov. 2, 2015. OSHA had not increased its penalties for 25 years. But, in November 2015 when President Obama signed that year’s budget bill, the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements of 2015 came into effect. That act permitted the Department of Labor to adjust its panoply

by Joseph N. Gross, Esq., partner, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP

of penalties to catch up with the past quarter-century’s worth of inflation – 78 percent – and to make future adjustments annually for the same reason without having to ask Congress. Processors whose operations are in states that have their own safety and health plans also will see their state agencies increase the maximum penalties to be at least as high as OSHA’s maximum penalties. I see a couple of immediate ramifications for plastics processors with regard to the increased penalty rates. First, the new penalties will force plants to take their safety obligations even more seriously because violations will have a bigger financial impact. That might mean a desired piece of equipment that did not quite have the required return on investment now can get over the threshold. It also might mean that safety engineers may find new job opportunities and safety consultants will be more difficult to schedule.

Joseph N. Gross, Esq. is a partner with Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP in its Cleveland, Ohio, office. He is certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a Labor and Employment Law Specialist and can be reached at 216.363.4163 or jgross@beneschlaw.com.

Second, processors will have an increased incentive to fight those penalties they feel are unwarranted. That might mean tougher negotiations with OSHA during informal settlement conferences and taking more cases to trial. Perhaps OSHA will be more lenient in combining violations into a single citation. Perhaps not. Now, to the unbelievable. OSHA promulgated a new rule, entitled “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” which was published in the Federal Register on May 12, 2016. Although it portends that the rule is an accident-tracking regulation, OSHA is, intentionally or not, going after employers’ drug testing programs. For example, the rule’s text contains the common sense requirement that, by Aug. 10, 2016, employers

34 | plastics business • summer 2016


establish “a reasonable procedure” for employees to report workrelated injuries. However, the comments to the rule make clear that “blanket” post-injury drug testing is at the center of OSHA’s crosshairs: Although drug testing of employees may be a reasonable workplace policy in some situations, it is often perceived as an invasion of privacy, so if an injury or illness is very unlikely to have been caused by employee drug use, or if the method of drug testing does not identify impairment but only use at some time in the recent past, requiring the employee to be drug tested may inappropriately deter reporting. Thus, OSHA reasons, “[t]o strike the appropriate balance here, drug testing policies should limit post-incident testing to situations in which employee drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident, and for which the drug test can accurately identify impairment caused by drug use.” OSHA advises that bee stings, repetitive strain injuries or injuries caused by a lack of machine guarding/machine or tool malfunction are instances in which a post-accident drug screen would “likely not be reasonable.”

Plastics processors should consider the following questions with regard to the rule: • Does my workplace have a “blanket” post-injury testing policy? MAPP members whose workplaces have “blanket” post-accident testing policies should consider including a “reasonable suspicion” element or beefing up their random drug testing to catch drug use before it causes an accident. • Is my workplace complying with other federal drug testing requirements? MAPP members whose workplaces employ over-the-road drivers or other employees required to be tested by federal law should continue to test for all required substances. A policy which is crafted within another agency’s requirements should have a defensible position against OSHA’s concern about employers encouraging employees not to report their injuries. n

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news

WITTMANN BATTENFELD Updates Control System The new UNILOG B8 control system from WITTMANN BATTENFELD, Kottingbrunn, Austria, distinguishes itself from its predecessor version by several additional features and greater operator comfort. Via a pivotable 21.5" full HD multi-touch screen, the process functions can be retrieved by gestures (zooming/wiping), while some selectable operating functions are triggered by tactile keys located in the machine’s central console. This makes it possible to address frequently used functions easily and directly. Visualization and operation of the machine run under the new Windows® 10 IoT operating system. A display screen can be partitioned to allow simultaneous visualization of two different functions. For more information, visit www.wittmannbattenfeld.com.

METTLER TOLEDO Develops Visual Guide METTLER TOLEDO, Greifensee, Switzerland, presented a new reference poster entitled “Moisture Matters: Tips & Tricks for Good Moisture Results” available for download and as a printed poster in A0 format (in selected countries) in multiple languages. This visual guide helps promote good instrument, sample and method handling protocols when performing moisture analysis across a broad range of laboratory and production applications. It is designed to encourage good moisture testing practices and thus ensure consistent high product quality. Helpful guidance is provided for key activities such as sample distribution, instrument calibration and creation of drying methods for challenging samples (e.g. volatile, melting or liquid substances). Reference to expert advice and competence tools is provided to ensure good performance of the moisture analyzer. This includes SOPs for routine testing (using a weight, temperature calibration kit and SmartCal reference substance), a white paper on replacing the drying oven method (LOD) with a halogen moisture analyzer and an eLearning course (with test and personalized certificate). For more information, visit www.mt.com/us.

Jomar Launches Next-Generation Injection Blow Molding Machine Jomar Corporation, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, announced the launch of a nextgeneration injection blow molding (IBM) machine series that incorporates a unique customdesigned servo-driven hydraulic system. The new Jomar IntelliDriveTM Series delivers major improvements in energy consumption, output and performance while also maintaining the machine’s footprint. The series features precise servo-driven hydraulics that reduce energy consumption by 40 to 50 percent and boasts a dry cycle time of 1.8 seconds. The IntelliDrive series offers a reinforced main platen, which reduces the possibility of deflection. The machine also features a closed-loop system for its clamping system, which delivers exact control over the clamp’s speed and position. This creates faster speeds for opening and closing while simultaneously reducing impact upon tooling, thus prolonging the lifespan of the molds. Overall, the IntelliDrive series has a higher degree of control over the machine’s internal functions, resulting in more efficient use of energy. For more information, visit www.jomarcorp.com.

36 | plastics business • summer 2016


EPS Targets Medical Device Industry

Maguire Products, Inc. Launches Vacuum Loading System Maguire Products, Inc., Aston, Pennsylvania, launched a new vacuum loading system, LoPro™, for conveying pellets and regrind from storage to single or multiple blenders. It is simpler to operate than standard systems and consists of autonomously controlled receivers that are fully 80 percent shorter than conventional material loaders and receivers. The low-profile receivers protrude only 200mm (8") above the lid of a blender, providing a low center of gravity that minimizes potential sway on fast-cycling processing machines. Each receiver is self-controlled, with no central control required. Connection and installation are simple, with plug-and-play cabling and sequential linking of components. Receivers load on a first-in/ first-out basis. Vacuum is supplied from a “mini-central” unit mounted on a portable floor stand or on the blender frame and is powered by a single-phase brushless motor that has been used in thousands of installed Maguire® GSL™ vacuum loaders. For more information, visit www.maguire.com.

RJG Unveils Remolded MCSG Adapter RJG, Inc., headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan, recently updated its Multi-Channel Strain Gage adapter, the SG/LX8-SID. This new high-resolution adapter allows for the use of higher force MCSG sensors with smaller pins, simplifying the sensor selection process. The enhanced adapter is fully compatible with all existing MCSG equipment; however, there is a smaller mounting hole pattern than in previous versions of the adapter. An eDART™ software update also is required for proper function. For more information, visit rjginc.com.

Engineered Printing Solutions, East Dorset, Vermont, announced its KP08 servo-driven catheter pad printer. This fully programmable, automated pad printer is designed primarily for medical device manufacturers interested in a single printer capable of marking multiple-sized catheters, syringes and various sized tubes. The KP08 Servo is capable of storing up to 100 programs for different product configurations and has the ability to maintain multiple artworks on a single cliché. It can be equipped with a single or dual cupslide cliché support of up to 1,800mm (1,600mm image area) for full-length printing. Speed and distance of the cupslide are adjustable, which is useful for printing different length artworks without any special (or time-consuming) setups. It comes complete with HMI touchscreen control and Ethernet-based Internet access for remote servicing. For more information, call 800.272.7764 or visit www.epsvt.com.

Chase Plastic Services, Inc., Forms Chase Plastics de Mexico Chase Plastic Services, Inc., Clarkston, Michigan, announced the formation of Chase Plastics de Mexico, a subsidiary located in Queretaro, Mexico. The new company is dedicated to delivering Chase Plastics’ “outrageous” level of customer service and a comprehensive product line of specialty, engineering and commodity thermoplastics to plastics processors and OEMs with operations in Mexico. Mexico City native and newly named Chase Plastics de Mexico Business Development Manager Gilberto Granados leads the new company, along with Chase Plastics’ veteran and Southwest Regional Sales Manager William Guenveur. Chase Plastics de Mexico also includes a network of warehouses in Mexico that work in concert with Chase Plastics’ new Central Distribution Center in South Bend, Indiana, to ensure prompt delivery of materials, in turn, allowing customers to meet competitive market demands. For more information, visit chaseplastics.com. n

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 37


maintenance

Minimizing Dust and Fines in Granulation and Conveying by Doug Brewster, product manager-conveying, and Vincent Carpentieri, product manager-size reduction, Conair Group Doug Brewster (dbrewster@ conairgroup.com) is conveying product manager for the Conair Group and the primary developer of the R-PRO slow-speed conveying system. He joined Conair in 1987 as a systems engineer. Vincent Carpentieri (vcarpentieri@ conairgroup.com) joined Conair in February 2014 as size-reduction sales manager. Prior to that, he spent 25 years with Cumberland Engineering, working first in assembly, then technical service and application engineering. The Conair R-PRO and Deduster C50 are new Conair product offerings referenced within the article. For more information, visit www.conairgroup.com.

Dust is a perennial problem in plastics processing plants and, today, when scrap is likely to be recycled in-house, the issue can be especially frustrating. The process of granulating material and then conveying it to storage or back to a molding machine or extruder presents many opportunities for dust creation and then for it to escape into the plant environment. There it becomes a housekeeping problem, can cause personnel-safety issues and even can affect the quality of finished products. So, how can you prevent the formation of dust and fines, or at least minimize the problems it can cause? In granulation, maintenance – or the lack thereof – is probably the most common factor. Granulators sometimes seem like outcasts in the auxiliary equipment world. They often are the last piece of equipment to be considered for purchase in a plastics processing operation and, more times than not, the first to be ignored when it comes to proper care. If you seem to be generating more dust and fines than seems reasonable, this is probably the reason why. The first question to ask is whether you have the right granulator. Different cutting chamber designs and rotor configurations are available to handle different kinds of scrap. Choosing the right granulator for a given application is the first step toward minimizing dust and fines. It is always a good idea to consult with a competent granulator and solicit a recommendation based on the following: If knife blade visual inspection is built into a regular preventative maintenance program, it will be evident how often the knives need to be sharpened. Photo courtesy of Conair Group.

38 | plastics business • summer 2016


• the size and shape of the scrap that will be processed, • the material(s) being processed, • the volume, • how it will be fed to the granulator and • what you will do with the regrind. Once the right granulator has been selected, maintenance becomes the critical factor in the effort to produce high-quality granulate with minimal dust and fines. The first rule is to keep the knife blades sharp. All blades will go dull eventually, but if regrind contains more dust and fines than normal, chances are this is why. In fact, dull knife blades are far and away the most common granulator problem. How fast will blades become dull? That depends on how much the granulator processes and what kind of material is being ground. Any glassfilled material will be harder on blades than acrylic or polyethylene. And, a machine that runs more or less constantly will have blades requiring sharpening long before a granulator that is run only a few hours each day. The worst case, of course, would be if a wrench or a bolt should happen to fall into the feed hopper. This can ruin blades in an instant.

If the blades are sharp and everything else appears to be in good repair, but regrind quality is not what it should be, chances are the all-important knife gap is out of tolerance. granulators, equipment selection, system design and operation are more important in conveying. Following are some tips that can help. If regrind – or any material for that matter – is conveyed using a conventional blower system, the impact of impeller blades could create additional fines. Consequently, it always is better to move material using a vacuum or negative-pressure system page 40 u

Check the blades regularly – both rotor blades and bed knives. A quick visual inspection is all it takes. If this practice is built into a regular preventive maintenance schedule, it soon will become clear how often the knives need to be sharpened. If the blades are dull, there are two options: replace or resharpen. Most suppliers provide either sharpening or replacement programs (or both), which should be clearly outlined in your operations manual. Also, if the blades are dull and especially if they’ve gone unattended for long periods of time, the screen and screen cradle may have suffered as well. Take a look at the screen holes: If they are beginning to appear pear-shaped, it’s probably time for a replacement. If the blades are sharp and everything else appears to be in good repair, but regrind quality is not what it should be, chances are the all-important knife gap is out of tolerance. The gap refers to the space between the rotating knives and the fixed bed knives – normally between 0.20 and 0.30 mm. Using a wrench, feeler gauge and a pair of gloves, adjusting the gap is a relatively simple process. Gap adjustment should be on every preventive maintenance schedule. Tips for conveying Whereas maintenance is probably the most critical issue with

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maintenance t page 39

A Conair R-PRO system conveys pellets in compact "slugs" at slow speeds, which reduces dust generation. Photo courtesy of Conair Group.

(in which the material never touches the impeller) with an oversized blower and large diameter conveying lines. A side benefit of a negative pressure system is that, even if there is a leak in the conveying tubing, dust cannot escape because the negative pressure is pulling air into the system and can’t blow dust out. Pressure conveying, on the other hand, would tend to push air and any suspended dust out into the plant environment. In a vacuum-conveying system (see illustration on page 42), it still is important to keep the circuit closed to the degree possible. When a vacuum receiver is above a machine hopper, it usually is mounted on a lid that covers the hopper around the receiver outlet, keeping dust inside the hopper. Quite often, however, when a receiver is loading a bin, Gaylord or drum for temporary storage, the space above is left open, and dust stirred up as the material falls into the container can easily escape. Various plastic or fabric covers are available for exactly these situations. They fit snugly around the box/bin and the receiver discharge to prevent dust from escaping. Inevitably, however, some dust will remain in the receiver, usually clinging to the screen at the top that prevents pellet carryover as conveying air is pulled toward the vacuum pump. The simplest solution is a valve that can be opened at the end of each load cycle. This breaks the vacuum seal, allowing air to rush into the receiver and dislodge the dust. Since the receiver is only returning to normal pressure, the chance of dust escaping is lower. Finally, at the end of the conveying line and just before the air enters the vacuum pump, it should pass through a central

40 | plastics business • summer 2016

dust collector that separates dust from conveying air so it can drop into a collection bin. The dust in the collection bin can be emptied manually or automatically at the end of each vacuum cycle. In the auto-dump mode, the dust collector is mounted on an elevated frame so the dust can fall into a drum or Gaylord for later disposal. However – as when a receiver dumps material – dust can escape if the container is not covered. Here, too, some kind of cover should enclose the discharge port of the dust collector and the container into which the dust falls. Processing considerations The prior recommendations are aimed at preventing dust from escaping into the processing plant and/or preventing damage to vacuum pumps. Recently, however, new products have been introduced to keep dust from getting into the processing machine, where the difference in melting characteristics between it and pellets can result in black spots and other product defects. Unlike conventional, high-speed or dilute-phase conveying, the new product offering moves pellets at slow speeds in compact slugs of material in a process known as dense-phase conveying. Material speeds can range from as slow as 230ft/ min (70m/min) up to 1,200ft/min (366m/min). Compare that to conventional high-speed conveying, where 4,500ft/min (1,372m/ min) is a typical low speed, and speeds up to 6,000ft/minute (1,829m/min) are not uncommon. The system uses many of the same components as a conventional high-speed system. Some special valves and other components page 42 u


still fighting fires?

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maintenance t page 40

This illustration shows the major components in an integrated scrap reclaim and material handling system. Illustration courtesy of Conair Group.

are required, but since it uses standard deep-vacuum pumps, conveying tubes and material receivers, the system can be easily retrofitted to existing systems. In customer testing, it was found that the amount of dust generated was negligible, even though conveying throughput rates were unchanged compared to the customer’s high-speed system. To remove dust at the machine feed throat, a compact machinemounted unit is available that uses the Venturi effect to maximize dust removal while minimizing carryover of good product. Inside the unit, the compressed air is split into two air streams for optimal removal of dust, fines and streamers, and an ionizer is used to release the electrostatic bond between the pellets and the dust. The cleaning air blows the removed dust and fines into

two mini-cyclones, which separate the materials from the air. The separated contaminants are collected in an integral dust container. The entire unit mounts on the machine between the hopper and machine throat, adding only about 10 inches to the height of the equipment. Clearly, it is possible to minimize the amount of dust and fines created when grinding and conveying plastic materials. However, even in systems that are designed, maintained and operated to the highest standards, some dust can be created and escape. By paying close attention to the details and problem areas mentioned in this article – and enlisting the help of an auxiliary equipment supplier – processors can operate (mostly) dust-free. n

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42 | plastics business • summer 2016


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view from 30

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

Collaboration Strategies for Tool Launches by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business

Talent and technology In November 2012, PCI opened the Engineering Resource Center (ERC), a prototype division that now has spun into an independently owned company located in a facility next door. The ERC and PCI work collaboratively with customers to design prototype tooling using science, technology, production-intent steels and gating schemes to learn as much as possible prior to the launch of a production tool. PCI espouses a four-pronged approach to production launch: design for manufacturability/toolability; design for functionality; design for assembly and design for sustainability.

44 | plastics business • summer 2016

Design for Assembly

Ü Ü Ü

Riesterer, PCI’s manager of business development, explained, “The complexity and component requirements, the materials selected and the assembly requirements continue to evolve. Our objective is to be involved as early in the development process as possible to avoid surprises later in the game. Our recent history shows that when there is a collaborative effort between all parties and a true understanding behind the science of tooling and molding each part and how it will affect the process, we have much better results and compressed timelines.”

Design for Functionality

Ü Ü Ü

While the processes and procedures detailed on the production checklist are still critical, it’s the work that happens early in the development cycle that now is the focus. The emphasis is on working to understand the objectives of the customer and the component to “engineer” the desired outcome long before the production launch process begins.

Design for Manufacturing

Ü Ü Ü

Seven years ago, Rick Riesterer stood in front of an audience of his peers at a MAPP Benchmarking Conference and shared Plastic Components, Inc.’s best practices for program launches. Today, the best practices for the Germantown, Wisconsin, plastics molding company have a completely different starting point.

Design for Sustainability “Any one of these facets, if not addressed in full, can take the program timeline and throw a wrench into it,” Riesterer said, “and those missteps can cost weeks and thousands of dollars if not addressed up front. Very early on in the process, we engage the ERC, the production toolmaker of choice, the resin suppliers, hot manifold manufacturer and any other supplier with a product or service that will directly affect the outcome of the new component. We want them to understand the requirements of the customer, and we want to understand theirs. And, who better to ask about those requirements than the suppliers?” PCI launches approximately 60 new production tools each year, and for each of those, the supplier partners are brought onsite during the development and/or sampling phase to make sure any potential issues are addressed. “Historical data and expertise can tell us a lot. But, our focus is on the science of the entire process,” he said. “Materials are getting more complex, which means we now need an understanding of what a material may do long-term to a tool or a hot manifold system. Customers are asking for parts that are much more involved. The technology and equipment today is able to do more than ever before, and the only way to manage all of these factors is to understand the science and the physics


The emphasis is on working to understand the objectives of the customer and the component to “engineer” the desired outcome long before the production launch process begins. behind each project. Our job is to make sure everyone is bringing their knowledge to the table.” Relationships from the start It isn’t always easy to convey the value of early involvement to the customer – until the customer can be shown proven results that have translated into faster times to market or reduced tooling costs. PCI strives to show its customers the value that could be missed if design, prototype and production are treated as separate processes, rather than integrated into one manufacturing chain. “We’re trying to change the trajectory of the conversation,” Riesterer explained. “We want to be involved early, from engineering and new product development through to the launch of production. Customers can be wary of that, until they are shown the value of the knowledge that could be incorporated from the beginning of the game.” Pursuing customer prospects that already show an understanding of the necessity of technology, automation and science is an integral part of the relationship-laden progression that PCI wants to build. “If we target appropriately, most organizations understand the message we’re bringing to them,” he said. In addition, each new product launch is carefully managed by a team that includes an account manager, an engineer, a quality manager and a program manager. Those four staff members are responsible for the effective launch of a product and for ensuring the potential surprises that occur in almost every manufacturing start-up process are discovered before they happen. “Of course, we have checklists,” Riesterer said. “The processes and procedures are important. But, if we don’t develop tooling from the very beginning with a clear understanding of the science and physics behind what we are doing and the customer’s objectives for the design, we are asking for a long road. The objective is to get products to market quickly, so let’s ‘engineer’ out the potential pitfalls first by involving all of the people involved who understand what could slow the process down.” page 46 u

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view from 30 t page 45

A Multi-Tiered RFQ Process by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Business Situated in a region steeped in manufacturing history, Team 1 Plastics, Albion, Michigan, is a plastic injection molding company for the automotive industry. This state-of-the-art business specializes in precision components, enclosures and housings, light assemblies and transparent plastic components. To increase its efficiency while continuing to supply its customers with highquality, cost-effective components, Team 1 Plastics recently implemented a change in its Request for Quotation (RFQ) process. Craig Carrel, Team 1 Plastics’ president, identified a challenge with the company’s previous RFQ process. “We were treating all RFQs the same and putting a tremendous amount of time in quoting by all parties involved,” Carrel said. Previously, if the company received an RFQ from an existing customer, Team 1 Plastics conducted a quick feasibility review. Then, virtually all (99 percent) of the requests would be delivered to the RFQ team. Comprised of several departments within Team 1 Plastics, the RFQ team gathered information from across the company to build the quotation. For example, the engineering department provided part weights and mold quotes, while the materials department presented information on material quotes. The RFQ team then forwarded its feedback to management, who developed a quote using the company’s activity-based costing (ABC) model. Because this process took a considerable amount of time and passed through the hands of so many departments, management decided to review and refocus its RFQ process. Team 1 Plastics cited improvement of its RFQ process as a key initiative during its strategic planning process with Harbour Results, the company’s longtime strategic planning partner. After investigating the issue and brainstorming possible solutions internally, a new process was developed. A set of guidelines was created to classify each new RFQ into one of two categories: estimates or official quotations. If an estimated quote is in order, the company provides a rough estimate for the customer so it can be used in the pricing on the customer’s projects. Typically, these estimates do not go out to mold or material suppliers; instead, Team 1 uses its own experience to estimate the mold and material pricing. This practice saves the RFQ team considerable time. Then, if the customer is awarded the project and is looking to source parts, the RFQ is reclassified as an official quote and Team 1 Plastics follows a process similar to the previous method, but including multiple mold and material quotes from approved suppliers. Transitioning from one RFQ process to another can be strenuous and time-consuming for a business, but Carrel did

46 | plastics business • summer 2016

A set of guidelines was created to classify each new RFQ into one of two categories: estimates or official quotations.

not identify any major complications in implementing the new strategy. When asked about putting the revised process into practice, Carrel said, “It has gone smoothly, and we recently met to evaluate the new process and refine the criteria used to evaluate whether a quote should be an estimate or official quote.” Employee feedback has been very positive; the change has helped the company accomplish its main objective of saving time while improving quote turnaround. This was done without sacrificing quote accuracy when it is important. Playing a role in this new RFQ process, Carrel says he strongly supports the change as well. He is pleased to see a reduction in the amount of time spent on quotes – especially estimates – and cites the initial classification of quotes as the key to success. The modification helps key teams – engineering, materials, sales and estimating – manage their limited resources while delivering pricing that meets customer expectations. In addition to positive employee response, customers also have been encouraged by the new process. Providing a customer the proper level of accuracy based upon its RFQ – whether an estimate or full quotation is needed – helps Team 1 Plastics achieve a higher level of customer satisfaction. The company’s goal is to be number one in customer satisfaction, and Carrel added, “This new RFQ process has improved our quote response time and allowed us to meet very tight customer deadlines, which had been slipping before implementation because of all the time required to develop our quotes in the past.” With these new quote designations, the company will be monitoring quote hit rates for estimates and official quotations to better project new business potential and opportunities, expecting its hit rates on official quotes to improve. Moving forward, Carrel says the company plans on completing another six-month review with the RFQ team to solicit input, gauge success, obtain suggestions for continuous improvement and to make sure it continues to meet customer needs. n


management

Is Your Company the Next Blockbuster? by Steve Blue, president and CEO, Miller Ingenuity

Store closing

a

In the article title, I’m not referring to a blockbuster hit – instead, I’m referencing Blockbuster, the company that owned the video rental market until it was upended by an innovative competitor, Netflix. One thing is for certain: If a company isn’t innovating, all of its products or services eventually become commodities … or the company is toppled by the next Netflix. When that happens, no margin is left to spend on research and development, new product initiatives or anything else that could provide a competitive advantage. Then, customers will start playing a company against the competition, and it’s just a race to the bottom for further price concessions. By that point, the company is left with reducing costs, overhead or profit – and now is in a death spiral toward that going-out-ofbusiness curve. So how, exactly, does a company spark innovation? What’s more, how can it be done at an already established business?

1

Make innovation part of everyone’s job description.

The first line item on every job description should state that a primary duty is to introduce innovative ideas into the company. This goes for job descriptions of all employees – not just a select few. From the plant floor to the executive door, mandate that the entire organization offer ideas to improve products and services. Innovation must be one of the company’s core values – so much so that it is tied to performance appraisals. Determine a means to best measure innovation in the company, and incentivize innovative thought by making it part of the performance review

48 | plastics business • summer 2016

process. By doing so, employees who innovate receive kudos and raises, and the company can say goodbye to the ones who don’t. Pretty harsh, isn’t it? However, so is what happened to Blockbuster... and Polaroid... and Woolworth’s... and the dozens of other industry icons that bit the dust.

2

Invest in innovation.

Contrary to popular belief, everyone is creative. The key is to understand how to unlock that creativity. Train every single employee in the principles of brainstorming and innovation by holding “innovation fairs,” similar to a science fair. Take employees on field trips to highly innovative companies outside of the industry in which the company operates.   Provide the time to innovate.

3

It isn’t always enough to set the expectation to innovate. A company also must provide the time – or at least the parameters – for innovation. To really push the innovation envelope, employees should be encouraged to spend 20 percent of their time innovating and brainstorming new ideas. But, it would be unfair to expect the team to accomplish the same amount of work in the remaining 80 percent and, in the end, would never work. Bite the bullet, and hire more people to cover that 20 percent. Set the expectation that “thinking about things” is just as important as “building things.”

4

Provide the space to innovate.

Asking employees to innovate and brainstorm without providing a space to do it in can squelch creativity. Once the practice of innovation is established, devote a location within the organization where employees can meet regularly and without interruption. This can be as simple as an empty cube dedicated for innovative practices or as involved as an offsite location where the roundthe-clock focus is on innovation. Above all else, make it abundantly clear that these spaces aren’t just for white collar employees but for all employees. Allotting space serves two purposes: It provides an assigned area in which to innovate, and it shows employees how serious the company is about the process. Keep in mind there is no magic in this space. The magic is in unlocking the creative genius in every employee. The innovation space only facilitates this. Before the space


is built, be sure the above steps have been taken to create the culture and provide people the tools and training to innovate.

5

Celebrate, recognize and reward innovation.

ahead of the innovation curve. The logistics may seem daunting, yet the biggest risk isn’t a technical one – it’s organizational. People fear what they don’t understand, and employees will kill a project they’re afraid of if they aren’t operating in an atmosphere of innovation.

Find ways to celebrate and recognize innovation: It has a way of changing workplace culture for the better and reinforcing positive behaviors. Potential rewards include significant cash awards for innovation, professional photos taken of the team marking the achievement or even taking out a half-page ad in the local newspaper detailing the innovation.

Innovation is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. As a business moves toward more innovative thought, be prepared for pushback. Also, be ready to restructure the organization and even cut people loose, if necessary. Surround new developments with people who believe in innovation. Otherwise, the company will be left with those who’ll do little more than look for flaws. n

Be creative in how people are recognized. Send innovative employees on hot air balloon rides. Hire a team of skydivers to land in the company parking lot. Hire an airplane skywriter. All of these crazy ideas further the process of getting a team to be more innovative.

Steve Blue is president and CEO of Miller Ingenuity and author of the forthcoming book “American Manufacturing 2.0: What Went Wrong and How to Make It Right.” As a nationally recognized business transformation expert and speaker, Blue has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur and The Wall Street Journal. He is founder and contributor to American City Business Journal’s “League of Extraordinary CEOs” series. To learn more about Blue, please visit www.MillerIngenuity.com.

6

Fight fear and resistance.

Regardless of how long a company has been around, it’s imperative to keep the creative wheels turning and staying

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 49


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4 Variables, 7 Questions: How to Determine What Changed in Your Process Anyone who has been through RJG training is familiar with the concept of the Four Plastics Variables. The Four Plastics Variables (4PVs) are a way of breaking the process down into four components to help understand what is actually affecting part quality, separate from machine settings. Our natural inclination is to look at the process from the perspective of machine settings. If you look at most setup sheets, you will see things such as barrel temperature, injection speed or mold heater temperature. Looking on page 54, you will see that our setup sheet is very different. What we want to focus on are the variables that actually affect the part. If we do that, we should be able to replicate that process on any machine on any day. Making one good part is relatively easy, but making thousands or millions is a bit more challenging. When things go wrong, we need to ask ourselves, “What changed?” To determine what's changed in our process, we are going to look at each of the 4PVs (see Chart 1).

by Chris Nomura, consultant/trainer, RJG, Inc.

Our first plastic variable is perhaps the simplest to understand – temperature. The question we are going to ask ourselves is, “How hot is it?” with “it” being the plastic. If it’s too hot, we will cool it down; if it’s too cold, we will heat it up. Several machine variables can be used to create that change, but as long as we get the temperature back to where it should be without changing the other three variables, we should be all right. Next comes flow. Flow is a bit trickier than temperature in that we have two questions we must answer.

Chris Nomura is an RJG consultant/ trainer. He is a certified Master MolderSM and is qualified to teach Scientific and DECOUPLED MOLDINGSM methodologies and techniques. For more information, visit www.rjginc.com. Chart 1.

52 | plastics business • summer 2016


The 7 Questions 1. How hot is the plastic? 2. How much plastic are we moving? 3. How fast are we moving it? 4. How hard are we packing and holding? 5. For how long? 6. How fast are we cooling it? 7. For how long? Chart 2.

1. How much plastic are we moving? 2. How fast are we moving it? To determine how much we are moving, first we will remove pack and hold and then weigh a short shot. This tells us how much plastic we are injecting into the mold during the flow portion of the process. If we are moving too much or too little, we can adjust the amount by changing our shot size and/or transfer position. Our actual speed is indicated by the fill time. Much like how a police officer doesn’t care what you read on your speedometer, we don’t focus on the injection speed setting – rather, we want to see how long it actually took to get from point A to point B. That’s the fill time. Once flow is over, the plastic begins to enter the packing or pressure part of the process. Notice a trend? The 4PVs are in the order that the plastic itself undergoes in the process. It is essential that we check the variables in this order so we do not affect earlier parts of the process as we go down the list of questions. Two questions should be asked regarding pressure: 1. How hard are we packing and holding? 2. For how long? Answering how long we are packing and holding is just a function of the pack and/or hold timer, but to determine how hard we are actually packing, we need to know the page 54 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 53


training room t page 53

If we come to the end of our seven questions and we have proven that the process is the same as before, but that the parts are still different, the problem must lie somewhere else: perhaps with the mold or the material itself.

Again, we have two questions to answer. 1. How fast are we cooling it? 2. For how long? As with pressure, “For how long?” is relatively straightforward to answer – we just look at actual cooling, take out and cycle times, and verify that they haven’t changed. Remember that from the plastic’s point of view, cooling continues until the entire part has reached room temperature. This may take hours for thick wall parts collected in a gaylord. The two variables that affect cooling rate are plastic temperature and mold temperature; the greater the distance between the two, the faster the plastic will cool. We’ve already verified our plastic temperature back in question number 1, but mold temperature also will have to be checked. A sample RJG setup sheet

intensification ratio of the machine – or the ratio between the hydraulic pressure setting on the machine – and the pressure the plastic actually experiences. Intensification ratios vary dramatically, and without knowing our particular machine’s intensification ratio, we have no idea how “hard” we are actually packing it out.

The best way of doing this is by measuring steel temperature directly from the mold or measuring part surface temperature after ejection and comparing these numbers to values that we recorded when we initially created the process. If we observe a change, it’s time to look at things like actual water temperature, mold cleanliness, condition of water lines and passages, etc.

Other variables that may affect actual plastic pressure include mold deflection or check-ring leakage. Without an instrumented mold, we are not able to confirm with absolute certainty that the pressure in the mold is the same. Helping to verify these kinds of questions is one of the major advantages of instrumented molding.

If we come to the end of our seven questions (see Chart 2) and we have proven that the process is the same as before, but that the parts are still different, the problem must lie somewhere else: perhaps with the mold or the material itself. At the very least, if we can answer these seven questions, then we've been able to systematically eliminate the process itself as the source of our variation.

Last, we come to cooling – ironically, often the most overlooked plastic variable. It is ironic because cooling typically makes up at least 60 percent of our total cycle time.

A systematic way of finding changes is the first step to moving away from the “finger-pointing” that plagues far too many shops and moving toward a focus on finding solutions. n

54 | plastics business • summer 2016


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booklist

Creating the Customer Experience Selections offered by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business

Providing service that creates customer loyalty is more than the responsibility of one department within a company. The customer experience winds through each and every department – from sales and quoting to engineering, billing and shipping. With competitors eager to move in, teaching the principles of customer service to every employee is not just smart; it’s a necessity. Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service Author: The Disney Institute, Theodore Kinni Release Date: Nov. 8, 2011 (revised)

Exceeding expectations rather than simply satisfying them is the cornerstone of the Disney approach to customer service. Now, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the original Be Our Guest, Disney Institute, which specializes in helping professionals see new possibilities through concepts not found in the typical workplace, is revealing even more of the business behind the magic of quality service. During the last 25 years, thousands of professionals from more than 35 countries and more than 40 industries have attended business programs at Disney Institute and learned how to adapt the Disney approach for their own organizations.

The Amazement Revolution: Seven Customer Service Strategies to Create an Amazing Customer (and Employee) Experience Author: Shep Hyken Release Date: April 5, 2011

Customer service isn’t a department – it’s a philosophy that includes every person and aspect of the best and brightest companies. In a tough, competitive and price-sensitive economy, customer service is one of the most essential tools to separate your business from the competition. In this sequel to the bestseller The Cult of the Customer, Shep Hyken delivers seven powerful strategies that any organization can implement to create greater customer and employee loyalty. 1.  Membership: What if you treated the people you serve like members instead of customers? 2.  Serious FUN: What if your employees felt a sense of

56 | plastics business • summer 2016

fulfillment and enjoyment that made them loyal to you and your customers? 3.  Partnership: What if your customers thought of you as a partner rather than just another vendor? 4.  Hiring: What if you could implement innovative hiring processes to support your customer-service mission? 5.  The After-Experience: What if you could create a memorable, positive experience after someone did business with you? 6.  Community: What if you could create a community of evangelists – loyal customers who brag about you to their friends and associates? 7.  Walking the Walk: What if every person in your company didn’t just deliver, but lived and breathed your vision for amazing customer service? Hyken shares more than 100 insightful examples from 50 role-model companies that prove these strategies can and should be implemented immediately by any organization, large or small.

Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business

Author: Harley Manning, Kerry Bodine Release Date: Aug. 28, 2012 What simple innovation brought billions in new investments to Fidelity? What basic misunderstanding was preventing Office Depot from achieving its growth potential? What surprising insights helped the Mayo Clinic better serve both doctors and patients? The solution in each case was a focus on customer experience, the most powerful – and misunderstood – element of corporate strategy today. Customer experience is, quite simply, how your customers perceive their every interaction with your company. In an age when customers have access to vast amounts of data about your company and its competitors, customer experience is the only


sustainable source of competitive advantage. But how to excel at it? Based on 14 years of research by the customer experience leaders at Forrester Research, Outside In offers a complete roadmap to attaining the experience advantage. It starts with the concept of the Customer Experience Ecosystem – proof that the roots of customer experience problems lie not just with customerfacing employees like your sales staff, but with behind-thescenes employees like accountants, lawyers and programmers, as well as the policies, processes and technologies that all your employees use every day. Identifying and solving these problems has the potential to dramatically increase sales and decrease costs.

The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty

Authors: Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, Rick DeLisi Release Date: Sept. 12, 2013

A focus on the

Left brain At Vive, the left hemisphere of the brain manages the project, while being quick with logic and facts. We create a marketing strategy with a calculative approach to brand development. www.vive4mfg.com | (414) 727-VIVE

Everyone knows that the best way to create customer loyalty is with service so good – so over the top – that it surprises and delights. But what if everyone is wrong? In their acclaimed bestseller The Challenger Sale, Matthew Dixon and his colleagues at CEB busted many longstanding myths about sales. Now they’ve turned their research and analysis to a new vital business subject – customer loyalty – with a new book that turns the conventional wisdom on its head. The Effortless Experience takes readers on a fascinating journey deep inside the customer experience to reveal what really makes customers loyal – and disloyal. The authors lay out the four key pillars of a low-effort customer experience, along the way delivering robust data, shocking insights and profiles of companies that are already using the principles revealed by CEB’s research, with great results. And they include many tools and templates you can start applying right away to improve service, reduce costs, decrease customer churn and ultimately generate the elusive loyalty that the “dazzle factor” fails to deliver. n Book summaries provided by the publishing entity.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 57


advertisers A-1 Tool Corporation...............................................................................................a1toolcorp.com................................................................................................................ 51 Amco Polymers.........................................................................................................amcopolymers.com......................................................................................................... 12 ASACLEAN/Sun Plastech Inc.................................................................................asaclean.com.........................................................................................Inside Front Cover B A Die Mold...........................................................................................................badiemold.com................................................................................................................ 51 Carson Tool & Mold.................................................................................................carsonmold.com.............................................................................................................. 51 Chase Plastics............................................................................................................chaseplastics.com............................................................................................................ 24 ChemTrend...............................................................................................................chemtrend.com.............................................................................................................. 6, 7 Conair........................................................................................................................conairgroup.com/support................................................................................. Back Cover Concept Molds, Inc...................................................................................................conceptmolds.com.......................................................................................................... 51 Crestcom...................................................................................................................crestcomleadership.com.................................................................................................. 49 Extreme Tool & Engineering....................................................................................extremetool.com.............................................................................................................. 50 Federated Insurance..................................................................................................federatedinsurance.com.................................................................................................. 55 Frigel.........................................................................................................................frigel.com........................................................................................................................ 45 Grainger....................................................................................................................grainger.com................................................................................................................... 59 Harbour Results, Inc.................................................................................................harbourresults.com.......................................................................................................... 55 Ice Miller LLP...........................................................................................................icemiller.com.................................................................................................................. 17 INCOE Corporation..................................................................................................incoe.com........................................................................................................................ 43 IQMS........................................................................................................................iqms.com........................................................................................................................... 3 Ivanhoe Tool & Die Company, Inc...........................................................................ivanhoetool.com.............................................................................................................. 50 Jade Group International...........................................................................................jademolds.com................................................................................................................ 57 M. Holland................................................................................................................mholland.com.................................................................................................................. 19 MAPP (Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors)........................................mappinc.com................................................................................................................... 58 MBS (Molding Business Services)...........................................................................moldingbusiness.com...................................................................................................... 27 Mold Craft.................................................................................................................mold-craft.com................................................................................................................ 50 Mueller Prost.............................................................................................................muellerprost.com............................................................................................................ 45 Novatec.....................................................................................................................novatec.com.............................................................................................................. 30, 31 OCTEX.....................................................................................................................octexlabs.com.................................................................................................................. 53 Paulson Training Programs, Inc................................................................................paulsonplasticsacademy.com/register............................................................................. 35 Polymer Technology & Services .............................................................................ptsllc.com........................................................................................................................ 27 RJG, Inc....................................................................................................................rjginc.com....................................................................................................................... 13 SIGMA Plastic Services, Inc....................................................................................3dsigma.com................................................................................................................... 25 SRR (Stout Risius Ross)...........................................................................................srr.com............................................................................................................................ 39 South Bend Lathe Co. ..............................................................................................southbendlathe.com.................................................................................................. 20, 21 Superior Tooling.......................................................................................................sti-nc.com........................................................................................................................ 51 Synventive Molding Solutions..................................................................................synventive.com............................................................................................................... 53 Tooling Docs ...........................................................................................................toolingdocs.com/tour...................................................................................................... 41 Ultra Purge/Moulds Plus International.....................................................................ultrapurge.com................................................................................................................ 47 VIVE – Marketing for Manufacturers......................................................................vive4mfg.com................................................................................................................. 57 Wittmann Battenfeld.................................................................................................wittmann-group.com....................................................................................................... 33 Yushin America, Inc.................................................................................................yushinamerica.com......................................................................................................... 11

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Plastics Business - Summer 2016  

Plastics Business - Summer 2016