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Plastics Business 2018 Issue 1

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Best Practices from US Processors OEE Improvements Quality Metrics Cybersecurity

Official Publication of Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors


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Contents

2018 Issue 1

preview

12

benchmarking

features

8 12 17 20 22 26 34 38

production OEE Leads to SMART Solutions at PMC by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business preview NPE2018 Brings the Latest Technology to Orlando outlook Five Industry Trends Affecting Plastics Processors by Jay Smith, senior manager, and Scott Walton, COO, Harbour Results, Inc. benchmarking First Quarter Gaining Momentum: 2018 Plastics Industry Outlook by Ashley Turrell Burleson, membership and engagement manager, MAPP focus Collaboration Builds Business Relationships: ISO 13485 Standards Adoption by Nancy Cates, contributing writer, Plastics Business innovation The Path to Zero: Intertech Medical Develops Automated Work Cell by Brittany Willes, contributing writer, Plastics Business profile Focusing on the Future: Empire Precision Looks to Optics Manufacturing by Brittany Willes, contributing writer, Plastics Business strategies Best Practices in Mold Disposal: A Legal Viewpoint by H. Alan Rothenbuecher, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, LLP

4 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

20


39 46 54 56 60

view from 30 Fan Filters Reduce Dust at Toyota Material Handling Ransomware Attacks Kentucky’s Par 4 Plastics by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Business industry Tax Reform Implications for the Plastics Sector by Michael J. Devereux II, CPA, CMP, partner, Mueller Prost

innovation

26

economic corner The Good, Bad and Maybe Ugly Sides of the Tax Cut by Chris Kuehl, managing director, Armada Corporate Intelligence management Ten High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Drive Higher Levels of Employee Engagement by Curt Redden, Primal Success booklist A Nonfiction Brain Break by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business

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

association................................. 43

news.......................................... 30

supplier directory...................... 62

view from 30

39

Plastics Business

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Published by:

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

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

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

Editor in Chief Jeff Peterson

Advertising/Sales Janet Dunnichay

Managing Editor Dianna Brodine Art Director Becky Arensdorf

Contributing Editors Nancy Cates Brittany Willes Lara Copeland

Graphic Designer Kelly Adams

Circulation Manager Brenda Schell

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 5


VIEWPOINT

Employee Engagement – It Takes Solid Leadership It was 8:25 a.m. on December 22nd (just three days before Christmas). I was sitting in a banquet hall located 1,000 miles from home, where my wife was wondering why I had decided to travel and work all the way up to the holiday break. However, I was honored and excited to be the guest speaker at the end-of-year employee meeting at Dynamic Molding Technologies (Dymotek) in Ellington, Connecticut. I was waiting to take center stage to provide a leadership message and public service announcement about safety when I was totally taken by surprise and completely mesmerized by the opening remarks of Dymotek’s CEO, Norm Forest. He took me off guard and schooled me on how to correctly communicate, inspire and capture the hearts of a workforce – it was a leadership symposium for me personally, and I want to share what I learned. Norm kicked things off by sharing an inspiring, intimate story with his employees. It was his opening message – his ice breaker, so to speak – and it served to literally hook the emotions of every employee and meeting attendee. For me, this was a great lesson in leadership and a lesson in effective communication. Norm could have elected to dive directly into his meeting agenda, but instead, he shared a life experience that was bigger than the purpose of the meeting and even his company’s own mission. He began by talking about the lesson he received from losing a loved one 48 hours before the employee meeting. By starting with a story that made him vulnerable as a person, but shared an unbelievable lesson in gratitude, Norm was elevated as a true leader. The next thing he did left me nearly speechless because of his overall preparedness and genuine delivery. For nearly 25 minutes, he flawlessly focused on the “why” of Dymotek. He told his employees that he learned from studying Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” that helping people understand the “why” of any business is vital to a company’s long-term success. Dymotek’s owners created an innovative product to help industrial plumbers comply with the American with Disabilities Act, rolled out in 1990. The propriety product they created served to protect wheelchair-bound citizens in public restroom facilities. As Norm explained the “why” behind Dymotek, he concentrated on how Dymotek provided true solutions to customers, with integrity

6 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

being the cornerstone of every relationship, whether employees or customers. He called this “Dymotegrity.” I was at first puzzled during this part of his presentation. “Surely,” I thought, “everyone in the company already knew this stuff, right?” But, having met brand-new employees and understanding that the entire company (with multiple facilities) only assembled once a year, I quickly saw the point in his message. It was powerful, moving and appreciated by the employees as I later interviewed them.

When you tie an individual’s emotions directly into “why” you exist, it connects feelings linking the heart and soul to the brain and directly impacts employee engagement! These were my takeaways from the first 25 minutes of the meeting, and many more followed. The best leaders understand that the proven way to get others to buy into a cause is to help them understand the “why” behind what they do. The “why” portion of our brain controls behavior, which controls our emotions. When you tie an individual’s emotions directly into “why” you exist, it connects feelings linking the heart and soul to the brain and directly impacts employee engagement! The majority usually knows what they do, and most certainly understand how they do it. But, few understand “why” they do it! If you are looking to improve engagement, I encourage you to answer the question “why” before you do anything else, and don’t just do it once – do it regularly. Habitually communicating the reason you exist will directly elevate the commitment of your people to the “why” of your existence.

Executive Director, MAPP


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prevent mold damage C&J Industries saw others’ locks galling at less than 30,000 cycles, and after replacing with Progressive, “the locks look like new after cycling four times longer. We guarantee our molds for ten years, and only Progressive guarantees their locks for the life of the tool.” Progressive’s products are proven to go the distance: • No wear after cycling 500 times longer than “look-a-like” locks • Available in Bar Lock, Guide Lock, Side Lock and Top Lock styles Join C&J Industries and other MAPP members eliminating downtime. Contact Progressive’s Engineering Team at 1-800-269-6653 to secure unmatched productivity for the life of your tools.

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PRODUCTION

OEE Leads to SMART Solutions at PMC by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Business

O

verall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is – at its most simple – a measurement of manufacturing productivity. Developed as a tenet of lean manufacturing, the aim of OEE is to provide metrics that can be used to improve a manufacturing process.

Three components provide data when assessing OEE, as described at www.oee.com. The first is availability, which measures whether the process is running as scheduled. The second factor, performance, assesses whether maximum manufacturing speeds are reached. Quality, which counts defects, is the third component. According to www.oee.com: An OEE score of 100 percent means you are manufacturing only Good Parts, as fast as possible, with no Stop Time. In the language of OEE that means 100 percent Quality (only Good Parts), 100 percent Performance (as fast as possible) and 100 percent Availability (no Stop Time). In a manufacturing environment, where the smallest improvement can make a significant difference in profitability, OEE provides a basis for measuring important metrics and then tackling those metrics that don’t meet standards. Photos courtesy of PMC SMART Solutions

PMC SMART Solutions, located in Shelbyville, Indiana, had a measurement system in place, but the metrics didn’t match the bottom-line results. That wasn’t good enough

8 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1


for a company aiming to achieve perfection in its manufacturing processes.

efficiency, machine uptime, process time or quality expectations. That’s when we started gaining some traction.”

Values drive PMC to perfection

In 1929, Plastic Moldings Company was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over nearly nine decades, the precision plastics manufacturing firm has evolved into a leader in precision medical, electronic and automotive molding and assembly. PMC is a contract manufacturer for 10 of the top global Tier 1 automotive manufacturers, focused on safety-critical products in fuel, brake, steering, transmission, on-board electronics and other under-the-hood engine management system applications. In addition, the company prides itself on manufacturing products that save lives, including sterile-packaged disposable medical devices, injection molded assemblies, biomaterial implants and components.

Chart 1. 2009 OEE data at PMC SMART Solutions

One of the company’s core values – which are stated on its website as a commitment to employees, customers and stakeholders – is continuous innovation, defined as “personal, organizational and technological growth are a way of life.” That innovative spirit drives aggressive achievement goals for its customers as PMC channels a scientific, data-driven approach to manufacturing processes into zero PPM quality levels; on-time delivery; and first-time, on-time, 100 percent-to-customer-specification product launches. With such high internal standards, the company had a continuous improvement plan in place, but wanted to implement a 5S system. OEE was the tool chosen to assist with that – and then PMC realized there was potential for much more.

The beginning

“We wanted to maximize the use of the equipment in our plant, and we thought OEE would identify waste in our processes,” said Vern Nightenhelser, plant general manager for PMC SMART Solutions. “This was in 2006, when we decided to add 5S to our existing continuous improvement process. We weren’t going to use OEE as the savior – it was just another way to help eliminate waste in our manufacturing system.” Eventually, OEE would lead to significant changes in staffing, capacity planning and standards at PMC, but that wasn’t how it started. “It wasn’t meant to be the thing that drove our company,” said Nightenhelser, “because we already had a continuous improvement plan. But as we looked at the reports generated to reflect what OEE tracks – availability, performance and quality – at the end of the month, the profit/loss statement didn’t really match what we thought we were running in our plant. One thing that could cause that difference would be incorrect standards – the numbers had to be off somewhere, whether that was in labor

Chart 2. 2017 OEE data at PMC SMART Solutions

Setting the standards

Before the standards could be adjusted, more accurate data were needed. The processes used to generate the data were the first target. “We fixed the mold setup procedures,” Nightenhelser explained. “We rewrote our operator instructions to have baseline instructions across all three shifts – and then started holding people accountable.” Once standard operating procedures were in place, the reports became more consistent across shifts and PMC was better able to assess what its standards really were. This wasn’t accomplished quickly. “It took us about three years to get all of our expected numbers in line with what our actual performance on the floor really was,” he said. Today, PMC lays outs its standards in incredible detail. For instance, a bill of materials might have four levels and, for each one of the areas where the company has a cost, it also has a standard expectation – from molding to secondary operations to packing the product. page 10 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 9


PRODUCTION t page 9

“Once we had the layers of data provided by our standards, we started getting true numbers in our manufacturing efficiency,” said Nightenhelser. “Then we realized we weren’t as good as we thought we were, so we had to take the next step. In some cases, we were able to make process improvements, and in others we changed the standards to reflect what was actually happening on the production floor. The most important thing was to have realistic numbers to give us a baseline.”

Machine uptime plays a critical role

Maintaining machine uptime is crucial to achieving OEE goals, and Nightenhelser said preventative maintenance and tooling are the support systems that keep the manufacturing plant running the right way. “OEE is about eliminating waste,” he explained. “When the quality of the parts is predictable coming out of the mold because the mold and the equipment have been maintained the way they should be, we reduce the amount of reject waste. In our business, material costs are 45 percent of our cost structure, so when our owner put me in charge of the profit and loss statement for the plant, quality issues were the first thing I had to fix, and those were directly tied to uptime rates!” PMC already had a toolroom in place, which allowed the company to implement a preventive maintenance plan for its tooling. Three employees perform maintenance and minor repair functions.

uptime calculations. PMC runs hot tools, which means each mold has to have a cool-down time and a heat-up time built into the process. “We tried preheating the tooling before taking it to the press, but there were safety issues,” said Nightenhelser. “Instead of taking the hit to OEE for something that we cannot change, we measure changeover time separately. We attacked that part of the capacity issue in a different way, with a different metric.” For OEE calculations, time is tracked from the point the material manager schedules the mold in the press. Anything unplanned – such as a tool being down, a missing operator or material that isn’t ready – then is counted toward unplanned downtime.

Transparency and continuous evaluation

“We now have a very robust preventative and predictive maintenance system for both equipment and tooling,” he said. “We don’t run things until they break. As a result, our OEE score doesn’t take a hit from machine or mold breakdowns.”

At PMC, the metrics are published on the floor so all employees can see them. Clear goals are set and tied into a bonus plan. “Our people know their performance affects those goals and their bonus,” Nightenhelser explained. “That’s part of the culture – we want everyone to feel ownership for the parts we’re putting in the boxes.”

One area where PMC differs from traditional OEE tracking is that the company chooses not to use setup time as part of its machine

That ownership process starts before production even begins. An OEE analysis is run for four hours at the start when the

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manufacturing team takes over the process. That four-hour run data is then compared against the quote’s expectations. At that point, the standards can be adjusted to reflect actual manufacturing standards – or, if OEE is under 85 percent, the process can be sent back to the launch team to improve the performance of the process. “We’ve learned a lot about our quoting and have improved our process significantly,” said Nightenhelser. Once the initial OEE is approved, that becomes the process’s first set of standards. From that point forward, the manufacturing teams on the floor are evaluated off those numbers. “It puts pressure on the managers and the people upstream to deliver a product that makes the profit the owner wants, and it puts pressure on the manufacturing team to make it better than what they were given at the beginning,” he explained. “Everyone has a stake.” In November, as Nightenhelser begins the annual budget process, he evaluates each one of the standards, just as he did when the OEE process was first implemented. “We go through every job in here and evaluate where we are, creating new standards from

improvements that were made in cycle times, scrap rates – all of it. We inch the improvement along a little at a time, and that continuous improvement drives the OEE scores up.”

A passion to get better

“I’m not a genius,” Nightenhelser said. “I’m a manufacturing guy. To get better in your facility, you have to find the right tool. OEE is a tool: It’s a tracking system that highlights your shortcomings, and then you have to figure out how to fix them.” At PMC, the frontline leadership has a passion to get better. That passion is what drives OEE, pushing them to ask questions and identify processes that cause waste. “If you don’t have that passion, you may have to make some tough decisions,” he said. “Shops have employees who have been there 20 or 25 years, and change isn’t easy.” But, the reward is sweet. “When I come into the shop in the morning, I don’t have to run around fixing problems,” he said. “I can work on continuous improvement while the rest of the building runs as it should. That’s what happened here over the years, and our profits have gone up consistently since we implemented OEE.” n

Don’t let your energy costs cause a budget meltdown! There’s a better way to manage your energy. Take a more strategic approach with solutions that can impact your bottom line. See how Constellation is helping other MAPP members.

Constellation’s tools and resources to set targets based on your plastic processing needs. Jody Spaeth, Director, Regional Sales—jody.spaeth@constellation.com

and product names are trademarks or service marks of their respective holders. All rights reserved. Errors and omissions excepted.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 11


PREVIEW

NPE2018 Brings the Latest Technology to Orlando

M

ore than 65,000 professionals representing the entire plastics industry and its vertical markets will assemble in Orlando, Florida, May 7 to 11 to discover the latest trends and newest technology being used in the plastics industry. The companies listed here are of particular interest to readers of Plastics Business. For more information, visit www.npe.org.

Absolute Robot, Inc.

Booth W4182

Displaying cost-effective Well-Lih in-mold labeling (IML) automation in action. The system performs in the same league as industry-leading competitors but is available at a 20-30 percent lower cost. The IML system is available throughout the US, Canada and Mexico from Absolute Robot, Inc., and internationally through Well-Lih.

AMCO Polymers

Booth S26045

Providing peace of mind through genuine relationships, 24/7 customer service and industry-leading logistics. AMCO Polymers is a solution-focused distributor. A comprehensive, diverse line card plus its expert team allows the company to provide optimized solutions.

American Mold Builders Association

Booth S33058

Distributing membership information, the AMBA Sourcebook of US mold builders and The American Mold Builder magazine. AMBA is the competitive advantage for US mold builders,

12 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

providing workforce development resources, benchmarking metrics, cost-saving programs, peer exchange forums, plant tour workshops, conferences and more.

Asaclean - Sun Plastech, Inc.

Booth W3283

Featuring color-change demonstrations, exciting giveaways and free samples. Asaclean is #1 worldwide in purging compounds for injection molding, extrusion, blow molding and blown film. Benefits include faster changeovers, removal of color/carbon, fewer screw pulls, lower scrap rates and greater cost savings.

Aurora Plastics, LLC

Booth S11167

Specializing in high-quality rigid, flexible and foam PVC, thermoplastic polyolefins, thermoplastic elastomers, chlorinated polyethylene compounds, low-smoke zero halogen compounds and concentrates. These products are offered in either powder or pellet form, ensuring consistency and reliability in a variety of applications.


Carson Tool & Mold

Booth S19175

Engineering, manufacturing and repairing plastic injection molds and components to the highest quality. The company is celebrating its 73rd anniversary.

cable, and other applications, each equipped with a proprietary Navigator® control system for live demonstration of its accuracy and ease of use.

Gros Executive Recruiters

Chase Plastic Services, Inc.

Booth S21035

Cincinnati Process Technologies

Booth W8777 iD Additives, Inc.

Providing a free, full-service barista bar where up to 500 custom-brewed beverages will be served to customers, qualified leads and valued suppliers each day. Meet with any booth staff to learn how Chase Plastic Services can help turn new products from resin to reality. Featuring a single solution source for plastics manufacturers looking to improve quality, reduce costs, lower energy usage and increase the performance and efficiency of its operations. CPT sells, installs and services a new line of value-priced injection molding machines, robots and automation systems, parts, screws and barrels. Services include control system retrofits, machine calibration and repairs.

Conair

Booths W1845 and S14045

Leading global supplier of auxiliary equipment, Conair’s NPE focus will be on uptime, introducing smart manufacturing solutions that help customers devote more time to making quality products and less time installing and maintaining equipment. Also featuring new developments in resin drying, blending, feeding, storage and conveying, temperature control, scrap reclaim and extrusion.

Extreme Tool & Engineering

Booth W5391

Providing superior customer service while priding itself on delivering results, not excuses. Extreme is an injection molder with enthusiasm for innovation. Aiming to be as responsive and detailed as ever, its talented team members, with unique skill sets, drive the company's ability and willingness to tackle the most complex injection molding projects.

Frigel North America

Booths S14085 and W193

Displaying in the bottle zone will be high-performance Microgel and Turbogel units with enhancements designed for the blow molding industry. A second booth will showcase new Frigel MiND™ web interactive system for all Frigel cooling equipment to conform to Industry 4.0. New Microgel digital controls, Frigel Process Cooling Diamond Service presentation for the plastics industry and more.

Graham Engineering Corporation

Booth W2743

Displaying some of the company’s flagship extrusion-based systems for blow molding, sheet, medical tubing, wire and

Booth W4237

Assisting plastics and packaging manufacturers in successfully acquiring top talent since 1989. Using advanced sourcing tools, Gros delivers results quickly and at attractive rates. Whether it is a process engineer, tool room manager, salesperson or CEO, Gros Executive Recruiters can help find qualified candidates to fill the position.

Booth S28084

Providing unmatched technical support for innovative products. At iD Additives’ booth, learn more about how its foaming agents, purging and liquid color products save money and improve product quality for molders, extruders and other processors.

INCOE Corporation

Booths W4463 and S19023

Featuring technical hot runner solutions, peer networking and beverage hospitality at its main booth. Kick back and relax, network and enjoy a beverage at INCOE's Customer Appreciation Lounge at its second booth.

IQMS

Booth S20023

MachineSense LLC

Booth W3729

MAPP

Booth S31096

Mold Craft, Inc.

Booth W4207

Providing powerful enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solutions that enable manufacturers to operate more efficiently and profitably than ever before, since 1989. IQMS has developed the most comprehensive and effective ERP solution available – EnterpriseIQ®. Exhibiting at the same booth as its sister technology company, Novatec, MachineSense offers various industrial internet sensors particularly aimed at detecting and monitoring machinery and electrical systems. Retrofit versions of vacuum pump analyzers and electrical analyzers will be shown and demonstrated at the booth. Working to provide plastics processors with bottom-line impacting programs, superior networking, benchmarking and cutting-edge resources. MAPP members succeed and win, impacting industry sustainability. Designing and building micro molds for successful, highvolume, single- and multi-cavity, multi-mold projects for small, page 14 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 13


PREVIEW t page 13

intricate parts for perfection-driven customers since 1964. Mold Craft, Inc. will be molding a 100µm gear filter live, using leading-edge micro mold design and build. Mold Craft offers complete and true interchangeability of components at tolerances to ±.0001".

Molding Business Services (MBS)

Booth W150

Offering merger/acquisition advisory, recruiting and specialty consulting services for injection molders, plastics processors and other engineered component manufacturers. MBS has advised on nearly 90 M&A transactions and recruits about 100 professionals per year for molders and processors around the world.

Mueller Prost CPAs & Business Advisors Booth S31094

Helping manufacturers for more than 30 years. Mueller Prost’s expertise has helped its clients develop dynamic companies that expect and anticipate changes in the marketplace. The company strives to provide business solutions and opportunities to its clients so they can reach a level of excellence. Mueller Prost specializes in the identification and substantiation of tax incentives for the plastics industry.

Novatec, Inc.

Booth W3729

Displaying its complete line of plastic resin dryers, conveying systems and downstream profile extrusion products. Additionally, multiple new mobile beside-the-press dryers will be introduced at the show, including a nitrogen-generating dryer and dryers equipped with thermal and moisture overload protection, both keyed at avoiding yellowing and oxidation of specialty resins.

OCTEX Group

distribution, each magazine issue shares information on operational challenges, industry benchmarks and production efficiencies.

Polymer Technology & Services, LLC

Booth S26045

PolySource

Booth S30097

Announcing it now is a part of Amco Polymers. As a leader in customer service, OEM application development and product technology, PTS is a natural and strategic fit for Amco. Providing engineered plastic resin solutions, with focus on customers and application development. Using its superior list of suppliers and technical expertise and support to provide solutions to OEMs and molders all over the globe. Offering 25 years of experience and investment in every step of success.

Progressive Components

Booths S33004 and W4871

Introducing advancements in mold monitoring and maintenance technology, and new mold components and mechanisms for optimal injection mold performance. Progressive Components is the only American-owned, independently operated developer and distributor of proprietary mold mechanisms, and maintenance and monitoring software for the injection molding industry.

RJG, Inc.

Booth W3383

Removing the frustrations that often stem from mold rework, lack of processing knowledge, long cycle times, high scrap rates and high costs of manual inspection. Providing networkable process control systems, cavity pressure-sensing technology, process training, and process and design consulting.

Booths S31137 and S31090 SIGMASOFT Virtual Molding (SIGMA Plastic Services) Booth S30023

Manufacturing solution for medical, aerospace, commercial and technology markets. With ISO cleanroom and whiteroom production floors, a hybrid automation and prototyping center, metrology institute and a tooling and machining facility, the grounds contain each block and division for the complete product development life cycle and launch. The portal will livestream its main attraction and direct visitors.

Paulson Training Programs, Inc.

Booth W5073

Delivering dynamic technical training, the company teaches the fundamentals and advanced topics of scientific injection molding, extrusion, thermoforming and more for the plastics industry. For decades, Paulson has empowered individuals, companies and academic organizations with proven, expert, vendor-neutral knowledge and skills that ensure lasting and profitable success.

Plastics Business

Booth S32089

Reaching a targeted audience of plastics executives involved with all types of plastics processing. Through print, digital and mobile

14 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

Exhibiting SIGMASOFT® virtual molding technology, SIGMA's software was created to evaluate and optimize processes and molds, increasing efficiency, productivity and part quality.

Star Plastics, Inc.

Booth S19205

Stout

Booth S30093

Compounding engineering-grade thermoplastics, Star Plastics is headquartered in Ravenswood, West Virginia. With an accomplished full-service laboratory to develop, test and process materials, Star Plastics offers high-quality custom color compounding (known for lot-to-lot consistency), tolling services and material marketing. Specializing in investment banking, valuation advisory, dispute consulting and management consulting, Stout is an independent advisory firm. Its Investment Banking Group focuses on mergers, acquisitions and capital raising for privately-held businesses and page 16 u


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Hands-on optimization of the mold design, part design, and injection molding process

ConSultation

Evaluation Evaluation of polymer and resin selections, in-mold sensors, and current process procedures Visit us in booth #3383

optimization

Real-world consultation, including process monitoring and control strategies, research and development, and training and workshops

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PREVIEW t page 14

companies. Its plastics industry practice has experience with companies in medical, packaging, industrial and automotive markets.

sales efforts. The Vive team works on delivering tailored brand identities to illustrate a distinct brand perception.

Synventive Molding Solutions

Displaying the latest technologies in robots and automation, injection molding machines and material handling/auxiliary equipment. Also, experience the leading edge in Smart Factory technology with Wittmann 4.0 demonstrations. While the industry standards are still developing, Wittmann-Battenfeld has a solution now that will support the pathway to true 4.0.

Booth W643

Providing the highest quality hot runner products and enabling technologies, Synventive is expanding what’s possible in injection molding. Synventive Molding Solutions is one of the world's leading manufacturers of hot runner systems for the plastics industry.

Syscon International, Inc.

Booth W4844

Launching PlantStar 4.0 in 2018. New features include upgraded user interfaces and customizable reporting in real time. New industrial shop floor tablets, along with the best data collection system available, offer real-time data exchange for improved ERP, TPM and QMS integration, along with providing Big Data to the cloud for analytics to meet Industry 4.0 needs.

Vive Marketing

Wittmann-Battenfeld, Inc.

Booth W3742

Yushin America, Inc.

Booth W2173

Introducing its brand-new FRA robot. It features the all new Intuline – IoT System and E Touch V Controller. Yushin also will display a new collaborative robot, new servo wrists, end-of-arm tooling design software and a fully-automated work cell featuring the company's newest space-saving CT2 model robot. n

Booth S30091

Providing marketing services for manufacturing companies, especially in the plastics industry. Its focus is on strategic marketing and communications initiatives that complement

Learn more at www.plasticsbusinessmag.com/ NPE2018/. Select exhibitor videos are available, showing the latest technology and service offerings.

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16 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1


OUTLOOK

Five Industry Trends Affecting Plastics Processors by Jay Smith, senior manager, and Scott Walton, COO, Harbour Results, Inc.

A

s plastics processors look to develop a strategic plan for 2018 and beyond, it’s important to be aware of industry changes that may impact operations. Following are five industry trends that are affecting or will affect plastics processors in the near future.

the integration of automation. Leadership needs to have a shortand long-term integration plan that includes having the capital available for investment, the technical expertise to launch and maintain automation and a strategy to leverage automation to help differentiate products and processes.

1. Automation

2. 3D printing and additive manufacturing

If plastics processors are not integrating automation into their entire manufacturing process, they already may be behind. It is becoming the norm for successful shops to leverage technology to improve efficiency and maximize capacity. Automation is just one tool in the tool kit, so processors should automate where appropriate and consider integrating systems – such as quality control, packaging and vision systems – into the shop’s overall infrastructure. In the not so distant future, the industry can expect to see virtual work instructions, drone services, AR assembly and buyoff, and more throughout every plastics processing facility. It is critical that every tool supplier leverages today’s technology and takes meaningful steps toward automation use across the entire value stream. Additionally, it is critically important for manufacturers to ensure they have the correct infrastructure in place to support

Additive manufacturing and 3D printing are predicted to be highly disruptive forces within the manufacturing industry. Between 2016 and 2030, the global additive manufacturing market is set to shift from prototyping to mass production of parts and accessories. Consumers are demanding new technology faster than ever before, and industries are working to meet the increased evolution of products. This cycle of technology is driving the need to increase the speed of product development across the plastics industry, from consumer goods to automotive to medical devices. And, these new processes are speeding up the pace of manufacturing. Technology now is in place to make four-dimensional prototyping a possibility: A prototype mold can be built in four to five days, page 18 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 17


OUTLOOK t page 17 where in the past it would take three to four weeks. Additionally, new valuation, modeling and scanning technologies have condensed development time, all driving the industry to become faster and more efficient.

3. Materials science

Materials are being developed to meet the necessary requirements for plastic products – strength, flexibility, etc. – but at a lower price than traditional raw materials. Researchers have discovered a new class of synthetic polymers that are strong, cheap, flexible, recyclable and self-healing. These are the world’s first family of materials that are strong and solvent-resistant, while being completely recyclable back to their original material. In the future, these materials could have a significant impact on nearly every engineering and product design category, as they can be used in a variety of manufacturing industries, including aerospace, airline and automotive. Material strategies, including the use of automotive composites, will be critical for taking weight out of vehicles. The promise of lightweighting vehicles will be fully realized only if automakers adopt innovative manufacturing and engineering tools and

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This cycle of technology is driving the need to increase the speed of product development across the plastics industry, from consumer goods to automotive to medical devices. processes that enable them to take full advantage of mixed materials, including composites. Finally, carbon fiber, typically reserved for high-end products, is gaining increased acceptance because the material is nearly 50 percent cheaper than before. Manufacturers are expected to take advantage of this strong, lightweight material more frequently.

4. Environmental sustainability

Today’s manufacturers need to have a strategy throughout the company’s ecosystem for environmental sustainability. The best plastics processors are looking at every aspect of the business to determine how things can be done in a more efficient and sustainable way. The global recycled plastics market reached a value of $37 billion in 2017. Increasing prices of conventional plastics, along with the growing concern for the environment, represent key factors driving the market. Recycling plastics reduces the amount of energy and natural resources needed to create virgin plastic. Therefore, shifting focus toward sustainability is boosting the demand for recycled plastics across the globe. In fact, the recycled plastics market is expected to reach a value of $51 billion by 2022.

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Specifically, greater sustainability is a primary focus of the automotive industry. Plastics processors are committed to developing materials that are renewably sourced. For instance, Sorona® EP thermoplastic polymer contains 20 to 37 percent renewably sourced material (by weight) derived from non-food, plant-based material. Another high-performance solution is Hytrel® RS renewably sourced thermoplastic polyester elastomer, which contains 35 to 65 percent renewably sourced material derived from non-food, plant feedstocks. Many processors are developing polymers that use less petroleum than conventional polymers, which helps reduce carbon dioxide even further.

5. Changing role of product design frigel.com

18 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

The gradually changing role of engineering service providers from being third-party vendors to gradually becoming key stakeholders in


product development is driving the industry’s growth substantially. Previously, outsourced design services were limited to a lower degree of complexity, such as CAD drawing and designing. However, growing client confidence in plastics processors has led to the increasing complexity of outsourced activities, including the delivery of end-to-end solutions for a product. Plastics processors that have the technology and capability to support product design have a competitive advantage and oftentimes provide a more cost-competitive solution. Outside of these five trends, one of the top challenges plastics processors face – and will continue to face – is the skilled trades gap. This is a real issue affecting the entire manufacturing industry, not just plastic processors. Shop leadership must proactively address this issue and develop a strategy to secure talent. Linking the labor shortage to automating the right processes and ensuring that the entire value stream is connected are critical moves. Shops that approach talent retention with innovation at the forefront will be more effective in presenting manufacturing as an attractive career for the next generation – an efficient strategy in this competitive environment.

You take your business seriously. So we take plastics personally.

Last year was a strong year for plastics processors and, in the near-term, the industry will likely continue to be extremely busy – heavily influenced by the automotive industry. However, the North American economy is predicted to experience a slight dip, so it’s critical that plastics processors focus on making smart investments in technology, implementing a strategic plan and developing a workforce to remain competitive during the dip. n As a senior manager at Harbour Results, Inc., Jay Smith leads the assessment of cultural and operational issues impacting client performance and strategic execution. Scott Walton is chief operating officer at Harbour Results, Inc. With more than 30 years of experience in strategic planning, operations management, lean manufacturing and supply chain management, he has assisted multinational companies, government entities and business professionals worldwide. Harbour Results, Inc., is a business and operational consulting firm for the manufacturing industry, offering operational and strategic advisory expertise, as well as proprietary assessment programs, to help optimize a business’s performance. More information: www.harbourresults.com.

The plastics industry is playing a bigger role in the world economy than ever. And at the pace of today’s business, trusting relationships are just as critical. M. Holland is committed to both sides of the equation, providing a reliable channel for plastic resins while offering the expertise and personal touch that our clients and suppliers demand. Because our work is more than business. It’s personal. Learn more at mholland.com.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 19


BENCHMARKING

First Quarter Gaining Momentum: 2018 Plastics Industry Outlook by Ashley Turrell Burleson, membership, engagement and analytics manager, MAPP

S

eventy-one percent of plastics processors are reporting increased sales today vs. one year ago (Chart 1), and 81 percent anticipate their companies’ sales to continue to grow over the next 12 months, according to the recent State of the Plastics Industry Report from the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP). In its 18th year, MAPP’s annual State of the Plastics Industry shows that executives are predicting optimistic trends for their plastics organizations. Data for this report were collected from more than 160 senior-level executives representing companies of a variety of sizes and across an array of processing disciplines. This report helps company leaders benchmark how their companies stack up in comparison to industry norms and aids in calibrating the intuitive “gut feel” that most executives seek to validate. Multiple indicators in this year’s report suggest a positive climate for plastics processors. Strong first-quarter predictions, capital expenditure plans, new opportunities in medical and automotive markets, and trends in reshoring all point to a healthy 12-month outlook. MAPP’s leadership team examined key questions from this year’s study to develop an overall forecast for the 2018 plastics industry.

Chart 1. Current sales vs. one year ago

20 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

Only 50 percent of processors indicated that their companies’ fourth-quarter sales had risen from the previous quarter – a drop of about eight percent from last year’s study. Processors attributed new programs or volume increases with current customers as the main reason for fourth-quarter sales bumps. However, many plastics companies cite the cyclical nature of business to slow sales numbers in the last quarter of 2017. More plastics executives are hopeful for what the first quarter of 2018 holds, with 66 percent anticipating first-quarter sales this year to be higher than in Q1 2017. Processors that are anticipating a sales increase in the first few months of the new year are predicting an average of a nine percent increase. Processors remain even more optimistic about the rest of 2018, with an average 11 percent increase in sales anticipated over last year. While there is not as much momentum from the fourth quarter as last year, with fewer processors citing increases in fourthquarter sales and profits, several key data points suggest that 2018 will quickly ramp up to meet or exceed 2017. Ninety-three percent of companies expect increased or steady work weeks for production employees in Q1, and 48 percent plan to increase the number of production employees in the first three months of the year.


customers relocating work from off-shore back to the United States. Forty-three percent of plastics executives indicated that customers are no longer looking for offshore suppliers, but instead are reshoring work to the US. This figure is up 10 percent from last year and nearly 40 percent from 2008 (Chart 3). This outlook is especially prevalent in processors serving the consumer goods market, with more than half of these processors experiencing customers reshoring their plastics programs.

Chart 2. Actions taken to increase competitiveness

Chart 3. Customers relocating work to the US

As with previous years, processors continue to report challenges in recruiting and retaining employees. With new programs and increasing volume orders, finding ways to meet customer expectations without human capital means processors must begin relying more heavily on automation, robotics and continuous improvement initiatives to maintain quality and ontime delivery. To that end, it is not surprising that when asked what major activity was planned to increase competitiveness in 2018, 30 percent of processors indicated automation/robotics investments and implementation and 16 percent reported continuous improvement initiatives (Chart 2). As one MAPP sponsor explained, “Automation has gone from a luxury to a necessity” for plastics processors to remain competitive.

While sales and profits for plastics companies look positive for 2018, processors are noticing new or increasing barriers to their business. Once again, customer demands top the list of hurdles experienced by plastics executives. Sixtyfive percent of processors report that customer demands range from more demanding than usual to downright unreasonable. Escalating quality requirements, speed-to-market expectations, additional standards and an uncertain and changing regulatory environment are all placing burdens on plastics companies. Some executives report putting new processes in place and dedicating additional time to educating customers on opportunities and the realistic limitations of plastics to manage these demands. To top it off, new cybersecurity rules and regulations are now becoming a large concern with the continued expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT). While plastics executives and their teams face both new and continued challenges over the course of the next 12 months, outlooks for most markets appear positive. Processors that are able to successfully implement and manage the changing work environment while also managing customer expectations should experience a healthy 2018. Additionally, this year MAPP’s report includes new data based on responses from previous studies, such as customer demands for financials, trends by industry served, plans to improve overall competitiveness and insights from industry experts. n More information or to purchase a copy of the report: www. mappinc.com.

New opportunities also may be available soon for plastics companies, as this year’s data show a record-high report of

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 21


FOCUS

Collaboration Builds Business Relationships: ISO 13485 Standards Adoption by Nancy Cates, contributing writer, Plastics Business

W

hen Currier Plastics started looking for help in understanding the pros and cons associated with adopting current ISO 13485 standards and registration, company managers sought assistance from MAPP. The company, founded by Raymond Currier in 1982, has grown to provide design, blow and injection molding operations for its customers. It has been named the Atlantic Region Winner by the Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME). Currier’s interest in becoming compliant with ISO 13485 stemmed from a decision to expand the company’s business focus, according to Sriraj Patel, director of research and development at the Auburn, New York, company. “We decided we wanted to take operations Representatives of Currier Plastics visit managers from Cook Group in Bloomington, Indiana, to discuss to the next level and expand into the implementation of ISO 13485. packaging realm of manufacturing in the medical market,” Patel said. “Not all consumable users in the healthcare market require ISO 13485 it knew were certified but found only limited interest in a registration – and we’ve actually been working with some collaborative relationship. businesses that didn’t require it – but it was determined by the executive committee that it was in our best interest to have that “Time was ticking,” Patel continued, “so we reached out to the registration.” larger group through the MAPP website forums and got some feedback. Then John Currier ended up reaching out directly According to the website of the International Organization to Troy Nix at MAPP. We knew there were several companies for Standardization (ISO), the worldwide federation uses the associated with MAPP that were 13485-registered and that we work of technical committees to create standards – in the were not in the same form of processing, so John asked if Troy case of 13485:2016, quality management for medical devices. would help make the connection.” It sets standards for quality management and documentation, management responsibility, resource management, product Nix, executive director at MAPP, approached several member realization and, finally, measurement, analysis and improvement. companies, and most were responsive, Patel said, but were limited in terms of opening their doors to a visit. After some Patel, whose team is responsible for maintaining quality initial conversations, Nate Myers, general manager of Cook assurance, was tasked with preparing for ISO 13485 certification page 24 u and registration. The team contacted other local businesses

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They opened their doors as they were going through their own transition last year, updating ISO 13485:2008 standards to 2016 standards, and the timing was just right. Group, responded positively, with the understanding that Currier was not a competitor. Cook Group, based in Bloomington, Indiana, began in 1963 as a small company that manufactured simple medical devices. From there it has grown into a corporation with global reach, offering a host of medical devices, as well as life sciences products and such diverse services as property and resort management. The groups from Currier and Cook had an initial phone meeting to discuss what each hoped to learn and share, and to provide background. “Cook is a proprietary company,” Patel explained, “and within the Cook Group they have their own molding division, which is where we visited. That began the collaboration. They opened their doors as they were going through their own transition last year, updating ISO 13485:2008 standards to 2016 standards, and the timing was just right. Visiting from our group were Plant Manager Steve Salls, Technical Manager Dustin Dreese and Quality Manager Tim Walawender. “Our goal was to get a deeper understanding of how the regulations of ISO 13485 differed from ISO 9001 and what that would mean to our organization,” Patel said. “We wanted to get through their facility and see what they were doing differently, based on what the new standard required. We wanted to get a deeper understanding of not only how they complied with the standard but also how they showed evidence of compliance.” Cook does injection molding as well as extrusion of tubing. “For us, that part aligns,” Patel said. “We do injection molding as well as extrusion and injection stretch blow molding. There was no threat of direct competition, but the comparison was apples to apples in that respect – with the exception that their parent company does design. In the manufacturing group, they were design-excluded, and we also were looking for the design exclusion in our 13485 registration. Most OEMs own

24 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

the design and rely on the contract manufacturer for input related to design for manufacturability, which is one of our core competencies. “They were very open to continual help if we need it,” he continued. “I know they were going through re-registration and updating compliance to 2016 from the previous version of ISO 13485, and they also are working on implementation of a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. We talked about the differences in our businesses: They are a proprietary molder vs. us being a custom molder. Our businesses definitely operate differently in terms of demands: external vs. internal customers. Although we were doing similar things, we were doing them for different types of customers, with a different impact on our business models.” After the meeting, Currier determined it would be best to consider either hiring another resource to manage implementation or contract it out. After meeting with consultants, Currier executives were uncomfortable with using a consultancy contract for such a large endeavor, so they decided to add resources to do it internally. “We had a couple of follow-up conversations with Nate,” Patel said, “touching base to see how their implementation was going and how he felt about managing it internally vs. contracting it out. That helped us decide to stay with the path of doing it on our own.” The two groups kept in touch after the initial meeting. “We went over things like software validation and some questions as to the depth of what was required … things that needed to be done to satisfy the certification,” Patel said. “Some elements don’t have a real impact on our business, but the standard calls for it, so we do it. The questions sometimes related to how far we should go with a particular requirement: The nth degree? Or leave it as simple as possible?” Feedback included sharing some of the Cook Group’s experiences with implementation as well as some more extensive and deeper approaches that Cook had taken because they worked better for their business, but weren’t necessarily required by the standard. They also discussed the plusses and minuses of diving right in and getting straight into the process vs. attempting to plan a “perfect” system. Patel said, “We were interested in the ways they communicated the information and the documentation with the evidence that complies with the standards: forms, management of records, signatures, things like that.”


Currier had been ISO 9001:2008 registered until 2015, and had continued operating under that system, but without continuing the registration. Because of that, Patel said, Currier’s gap and change wasn’t a significant one. “After an extensive search, we hired a key individual to train as an auditor for 13485, and we selected a party to handle our registration. We had done our own gap analysis but wanted to see how that compared with a third-party analysis. “We’ve been working at the process since then,” Patel continued. “Our Phase 1 audit is coming up soon. From there, we will be working to implement procedural changes and undergo our minimum 90day evaluation before we go into our registration audit.” Currier executives are pleased with progress made as a result of collaborating with Cook Group, and Nix was happy that MAPP helped make the connection. “Nate reported to me that it (their meeting) was a very good day, and that both organizations had great takeaways,” Nix said. “I’m pumped about this small but powerful story, as this is MAPP in action.”

as many people as possible involved in the process from the beginning so they understood their part. Sometimes I wish we could have brought in someone who had already done it, but I don’t know if that would have benefited the organization as much as what we ended up having to do. It did require the involvement of many more people, and it means we have a much better understanding throughout the organization than we would have if we had hired one person who knew exactly what to do to satisfy the requirement, as each auditor is different. From a timing perspective, hiring someone with experience in implementation of this standard might have been faster, but I don’t think it would have been as effective as what we are doing.” What advice would Patel give others interested in implementing updated standards? “Network as much as you possibly can,” he advised. “Some of our customers are 13485-registered themselves. They have been of great help in moving this forward. While our customers didn’t demand compliance, it was in the best interest of our business and our customers’ businesses to make it standard practice for us.” n

In terms of lessons learned, Patel said, “If anything, I think that a greater reach of understanding would have helped – having

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INNOVATION

The Path to Zero: Intertech Medical Develops Automated Work Cell by Brittany Willes, contributing writer, Plastics Business

I

ntegrated process control, automated quality inspection and reduction of bio-burden – that is what injection molder and contract manufacturer Intertech Medical, Denver, Colorado, set out to accomplish with the development of its latest machineside, automated work cell. “We incurred three customer complaints within six months,” stated Intertech President Jim Kepler. “We knew something had to change.” Three defects within six months may not sound like much, but when the defective part is used for retractable needle design for intervascular delivery of critical medications, even such a small number is too big. According to Kepler, the problem was due to undetectable “micro-shorts.” “The part itself is very intricate, with incredibly tight dimensions, including five living hinges,” said Kepler. “When the molten plastic flowed through the part, it went through a lot of different high- and low-pressure scenarios. This created a very narrow process window.” Intertech operators were visually inspecting 100 percent of the parts as they were packaged while a QA department performed dimensional and visual inspections every two hours. A Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) performed tight-tolerance dimensional evaluation of statistically sampled parts. Yet, it wasn’t enough. The micro-short defects were undetectable except during final assembly at the customer’s facility. Throwing more operators at the machines, doing more visual inspections and using more labor were not effective ways to go about solving the issue. Instead, Intertech reached out to Wittmann Automation, as well as Keyence Vision Systems, to work with Intertech’s team to design a camera system supported by automation capable of detecting micro-shorts. “The system was programmed to look at the number of pixels that represented a good part vs. the number of pixels on a camera image that represented a bad part,” stated Kepler, “then we would inspect the cavities with that criteria.”

Photos courtesy of Intertech Medical

26 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

In addition to the camera inspection, Intertech chose to implement increased process control. According to Kepler, because the process had such a tight window, Intertech set low and high limits that were exceedingly tight on machine positions, page 28 u


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INNOVATION t page 26

temperatures, pressures and speeds – essentially everything that went into making a good part. Next, Intertech utilized a watchdog software system.

and counted out – exactly 1,000 parts per bag – eliminating any future counting issues. Furthermore, repetitive injury risks to operators were eliminated.

“Basically, we programmed the machine software to look at the process and monitor it 100 percent,” said Kepler. “Every single shot was monitored and, if anything exceeded the high or low limits, it tied that logic into the robotics, and the robot would reject the part.”

“The gate trimming was being done 100 percent of the time by operators,” explained Kepler. “Going forward, the automated system has eliminated the risk of repetitive injuries and reduced bioburden-associated contaminants that come from having operators handling the parts.” With the work-cell, the robot has control of the part from the time it leaves the mold until it is packaged. “Simply put, biological-burden by humans is never introduced to the parts,” he said.

However, once the part was molded, a risk of micro-shorts remained. It was critical to implement a vision system. “Once molded, we presented the parts to the vision system, which looked for micro-shorts or any type of twist or deformation of the part,” explained Kepler. “We’re talking about looking for a flaw less than one-thousandth of an inch, something incredibly difficult to see with the naked eye, even with the assistance of magnification.” If the part passed the visual inspection from the cameras, it would then be presented to a surgical steel gate trimming station. Finally, the parts were segregated, sorted, auto-bagged My accountant found a way to get tax credits for research and experimentation. That’s more than accounting.

that’s innovation

In designing the work cell, Intertech took an FMEA approach – Failure, Mode, Effect and Analysis. “We had representation from every department, whether it was tooling, engineering or production,” said Kepler. “Everyone worked together to create a risk analysis of all the different ways the work cell could possibly fail.” For instance, process engineers determined that micro-shorts were most likely to occur at start-up. By conducting temperature studies, it was found that temperatures were stable after 10 shots. “We programmed the robot to reject the first 10 shots at start-up, no matter what,” said Kepler. “It wasn’t worth taking the risk of even presenting to the camera a part that might be sub-quality. “Everyone gave their perspective of what risk or failure would look like, and we designed the entire cell to make sure that we handled or covered that issue,” Kepler continued. “I think the approach the team took to outline every possible failure or risk and address it was wholly successful, and they did an amazing job.” As a result, Intertech’s operational and labor efficiencies have increased substantially. “Increasing trust, confidence and overall customer satisfaction through our ability to deliver zero defects has been the real win,” Kepler affirmed. “We haven’t had a single supply interruption or delay with shipping, and we’ve provided our customers with 100 percent quality parts.”

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

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

Customers aren’t the only ones who are impressed. Intertech received the 2017 MAPP Innovation Award for its automated work cell utilizing integrated process and quality control. According to Kepler, the award validates Intertech’s customerfocused strategy of providing zero defects through integrated, quality compliance solutions. n


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NEWS

OCTEX Unveils Metrology Institute, Launch Process

Maguire Products Develops Software for VBD Vacuum Dryers

The Octex Group of companies (OCTEX), Sarasota, Florida, unveiled its newest operating company, OMNIA Scientific, and released the first scale-out, reconfigurable manufacturing process, LAUNCHPAD™. OMNIA Scientific is a metrology institute and innovation consortium that combines ultrametrology and next-generation analysis capabilities with scientific process development for tooling, high-level engineering solutions and strategic project launch gateways. It provides real-time, first-article inspection, industrial CT scanning, dimensional analysis, reverse engineering, scientific process development, enhanced tooling qualification and intelligent automation. LAUNCHPAD offers multi-pathway solutions to partners in medical and medical device design, aerospace, defense, automotive and technology markets. With LAUNCHPAD, customers experience a streamlined, time-sensitive launch process; prototype tooling and proof of concept; testing and verification; continuous improvement and process optimization; and up to 65 percent reduction in critical pathway schedules. For more information, visit www. omniascientific.com.

Maguire Products, Inc., Aston, Pennsylvania, developed software for its VBD™ vacuum dryer that constantly monitors the changing conditions of dryer operation and automatically adjusts to ensure that power consumption remains low. If operated at full capacity of 300lb (136kg) per hour, the VBD300 dryer typically exhibits an energy consumption of 46 watts/kg/hr when drying polycarbonate at 250°F (121°C). Now, the same dryer can operate at nearly the same low level of energy consumption at throughputs of only 25lb (11kg) per hour with no operator intervention. In addition, all controllers for VBD dryers now include a standard onboard energy consumption display and logging capability. The controller shows both real-time and time-averaged values in the industry standard of watts/kg/hr. In comparison with desiccant dryers, the VBD vacuum dryer consumes 60 percent less energy, dries resin in one-sixth the time and substantially reduces the heat history to which polymer is exposed. For more information, visit www.maguire.com.

Ravago Americas Announces Acquisition of PTS Ravago Americas, LLC, Orlando, Florida, announced the acquisition of Polymer Technology & Services, LLC (PTS) of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. PTS will become part of Ravago’s Amco Polymers’ business, a North American distributor of commodity, engineering and specialty polymers. PTS will continue to operate in its current business model until full integration into Amco Polymers occurs during 2018. For more information, visit www.amcopolymers.com.

30 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

Synventive Announces New Technology and Facility Expansion Synventive Molding Solutions, a business of Barnes Group Inc. and headquartered in the US in Peabody, Massachusetts, introduced its new synflow3® technology, which gives molders all the abilities of previous versions of synflow® with additional advanced features, such as the ability to stop the pin and hold it at any position mid-stroke. This allows for individual flow rate control of each nozzle to balance family molds or fill complex multi-gated geometries. Alternating opening profiles can be programmed, offering the ability to pre-fill cold runners or create differential packing within complex multi-gated parts. For more information, visit www.synventive.com or www.BGInc.com.


Dilute Phase

Wave Conveying

Pulse Wave

Injection Molding Training Now Available in French

Conair Advances the Science of Material Handling

Routsis Training, Dracut, Massachusetts, announced the release of 32 online courses in French. Six of the courses comprise Routsis’ Scientific Molding 101 grouping, which lays the foundational knowledge base necessary for the success of any injection molding employee. The other 26 are Scientific SkillSet™ courses that provide a unique learning experience that combines detailed, step-by-step online instruction with practical hands-on labs and worksheets. Each course/worksheet combination focuses on developing important processing-related skills that translate directly to troubleshooting, optimizing and documenting any injection molding process. The new online courses and all existing Routsis Training courses are cross-platform and can be played using any web browser on any tablet or smartphone. For more information, visit www.traininteractive.com.

Conair, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, announced new developments in the operation and application of the Wave Conveying™ material-handling system. It now gives processors a wide range of options to achieve – and unprecedented level of controls over – the vacuum conveying process. The patented system makes it possible to move any resin, at virtually any speed and with higher throughputs, over longer distances without the damage to materials and equipment normally associated with conventional, dilute-phase vacuum conveying. For more information, visit www.conairgroup.com.

MBS Acquires Gros Executive Recruiters Molding Business Services (MBS) of Florence, Massachusetts, has acquired Gros Executive Recruiters (Gros). Both firms provide recruiting and executive search services to the plastics industry. MBS brings a deeper injection molding network to Gros, while Gros provides MBS with penetration into the packaging and plastics machinery markets. Additionally, merging the two industry databases produces a network of talent that will benefit the combined firms’ clients. Together, MBS and Gros have recruiting staff located across the US. Gros Executive Recruiters will become the sole recruiting brand of the combined entity and will operate as a Molding Business Services company. For more information, visit www. moldingbusiness.com or www.grosrecruiters.com.

RJG Offers Training Options in California RJG, Traverse City, Michigan, has partnered with Engel Machinery West in Corona, California, to offer an array of RJG training classes. This is RJG’s latest training location and part of a plan to expand the variety of classes it offers on the West Coast. New course dates will be added soon. The company also offers Autodesk® / Moldflow® training as an online or inplant option. This training provides attendees with the knowledge to become efficient at creating digital prototypes, running analyses and interpreting the results. Attendees also learn how to do fill, pack, cooling and warpage analyses, evaluate an injection molded part for manufacturability, interpret CAD geometry for runners and cooling lines, and how to evaluate simulation results to ensure they are reliable. The classes will be available in English and Spanish. For more information, visit www.rjginc.com. n

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PROFILE

Focusing on the Future: Empire Precision Looks to Optics Manufacturing by Brittany Willes, contributing writer, Plastics Business

“M

y passion in this business has always been on the product development side,” stated Empire Precision Plastics President Neal Elli. “I always felt that was where we could provide the greatest level of value to customers.” That passion has allowed Empire to expand its customer base while branching out into different market segments. Investments in automated technology and an evolving company culture have allowed Empire to remain competitive in an industry that is growing at an ever-increasing pace. “It’s a very dynamic time in manufacturing,” said Elli. “My goal is to have a team at Empire that will take us through the ebb and flow of the marketplace.”

Investing in optics

One of the ways Empire remains Empire Precision has invested in optics manufacturing and created cell structures to streamline processing. competitive is by expanding its reach. A precision plastic injection molder located in Rochester, New York, Empire’s investment in optics began and/or full-scale manufacturing. “Having SPDT technology for with the purchase of a small optics company. “One of our areas optical parts allows us to help customers increase performance of focus is medical manufacturing,” stated Keith Bradt, business quality of their optical part,” Bradt said. “Using SPDT on the development manager. “By concentrating on optics processing, surface of the mold cavity makes for better performance and our customers receive the message that we are capable of critical quality than polishing alone.” attention to detail, working on products that are highly technical and have tight design tolerances.” The Idea Factory Offering services such as SPDT is just one way Empire strives Because optics often are the most complicated and risky part of to assist customers with developing products. “Our levels of an assembly, Empire specializes in single point diamond turning technical knowledge and knowledge of the industry as a whole (SPDT). “When it comes to optics,” said Bradt, “we utilize SPDT are things we value highly,” stated Bradt, “and it shows. We’re to help with initial prototyping, which can be less costly when able to help customers come in with a napkin sketch and then compared with traditional prototyping methods.” Allowing for work with them on the development of the product. When it small-volume runs, optical designs can be created using SPDT comes to the tool build, we are able to help guide them through without first creating an expensive injection mold. This translates the process validation according to whatever industry standards into saved time and reduced costs for both Empire and its customers. they need. We’re able to act as a partner to our customers and offer support at all stages of product development.” In terms of prototyping, SPDT can be especially helpful in that technicians can utilize it to manufacture prototype optics that That partnership begins in Empire’s Idea Factory – “where ideas then can be used to test the functionality of a part prior to molding take shape,” said Bradt. The Idea Factory consists of an advanced

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development team anchored by a project manager and supported by tool engineering, quality assurance and process engineering departments. Each department serves to help the customer develop products and enables Empire to design the appropriate tooling for that product to take shape. “The Idea Factory is all about developing an understanding of the customer’s needs and engaging customers early on, so we can help them through those initial stages of development,” said Bradt. Designing for manufacturability, mold flow consultation, understanding requirements for quality and more are the basis for understanding customer needs and for the Idea Factory itself. “The whole concept is based around the idea of helping people develop their products,” said Bradt. In some cases, customers may not necessarily know exactly what they need, or they only know how they need the final product to look. “In that case, we can offer our knowledge base and perform a needs assessment so that together we can shape what they have as a concept into a quality moldable part,” he stated. Acting as a partner to its customers is a core value for Empire. “We’re not a commodity molder,” remarked Bradt. “We’re more about the process and higher quality. We don’t just look at a part print and tell customers ‘This is what you’re going to need.’ We strive to be more engaged.” Engaging customers early in the production process allows Empire to eliminate unneeded costs and improve quality, thereby improving customer relationships. When looking at part designs, Empire often is able to advise customers on better methods for production. “For instance, we might find that it’s possible to have less complex tooling if we’re able to do X with the customer’s design, or we might advise an alternate material,” he said. For Empire, the ability to influence design means being able to influence costs. “As with the SPDT, we can help develop a tooling strategy that’s going to better suit their needs,” Bradt continued. Relying on its vast knowledge base, Empire is able to avoid designing tooling the customer may not necessarily need or designing something that’s more than is actually needed. Through the Idea Factory, Empire helps customers understand that their part may need to be more or less complex than originally imagined to satisfy the design requirements.

As the company moved toward its future as an optics molder, Elli recognized the need for an overhaul of the shop floor itself to better keep up with the rapidly changing industry. To this end, Empire upgraded its fleet of presses and replaced some of its utility-grade hydraulic machines with high-end, all-electric machines. “We added servo-driven robotics on some of the molding machines,” said Elli. “This allows us to better control some of the labor and keep better control of the parts, which allows us to mold more.” Additionally, the plant floor itself received an upgrade. “To create a more efficient set-up, we arranged the production floor into cell structures,” explained Bradt. Each cell structure has a dedicated operator who manages a specific area. These operators are the ones responsible for job set-up and monitoring in-process quality specs. “The products that flow through each cell are managed by that cell team. This helps with quality control,” he stated. “Along with creating a culture of continuous improvement, we’re dedicated to zero defects on the shop floor.” page 37 u

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PROFILE t page 35

A great deal of the success of the Idea Factory can be attributed to the company’s evolving culture. “I’m really proud of our management team and the effort they’ve put into growing the company,” said Elli. “Just as we have our slogan for the Idea Factory, ‘Where Ideas Take Shape,’ we developed a slogan for our company culture: Do it with Pride.” As Elli explained, pride, drive, optimism, integrity and technology are the winning forces in creating a culture of growth and continuous improvement. Given Elli’s passion for product and process development, it should come as little surprise that the company’s continuous improvements focus on process improvements. As Bradt stated, “We’ve invested heavily in automation as a means of reducing labor and cutting down on unnecessary tooling costs. That success has led us to look at areas where we can continue to improve in terms of collaborative robotics. We’ve been looking at some of the technology that’s afforded to us in those areas that might help us continually evolve as a manufacturer.” Of course, automation is not the only area where Empire focuses its efforts for continuous improvement. When it comes to manufacturing, continued improvement and growth begin and end with dedicated, knowledgeable employees. “Like every other molder, one of the things we struggle with is recruiting and retaining talented people,” said Bradt. “People don’t graduate with degrees in what we do, which means we have to do our best to grow from within.” For Empire, the struggle of finding the right talent has meant implementing methodologies for cross training its employees. “We’ve started working to elevate the employees, getting people certified as operators for multiple machines.” Finding and training dedicated employees isn’t the only challenge for molders such as Empire. “There’s no shortage of challenges for US manufacturing companies,” said Elli. “I think

The Idea Factory consists of an advanced development team anchored by a project manager and supported by tool engineering, quality assurance and process engineering departments. the biggest challenge overall is the North American market and having a healthy manufacturing base in the US.” He went on to explain how the US market was a contributing factor in how the company molded its culture. “If we have the right culture, we can be an employer of choice for a lot of employees,” said Elli. “We just have to have faith in our training and have the right corporate culture. “We have a lot of room to grow,” he continued. “As we continue to evolve and expand, areas like bio-optics and lighting will be exciting areas to look at. Those are the fun spots to be in for optics.” In addition to its continued expanse into the world of optics, Empire plans to add more machines and automation to its plant. It also is in the process of creating a white room for medical parts processing. “These days, it’s all about efficiency and keeping up with automation,” said Elli. “You must have a plan to keep up with technology and for moving forward in the changing world of manufacturing. It’s a challenge, but those who are willing and able will always be prosperous.” n

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STRATEGIES

Best Practices in Mold Disposal: A Legal Viewpoint by H. Alan Rothenbuecher, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP

I

t is a familiar story: Your company has accumulated many inactive molds over time. You have tried to contact the owner of the molds to pick them up or give you permission to scrap them. In some cases, you cannot find the owner. In others, the owner refuses to provide any instructions on what you can do with those molds. What can you do that will allow you to dispose of the molds AND minimize the risk of any blowback from the owner of the molds? A simple solution is to advise the owner of the molds that you will begin charging a storage fee for the inactive molds. Doing so is easy if your terms and conditions already provide you the ability to do so. You simply exercise a contractual right that allows you to start charging interest for inactive molds. If your terms and conditions do not provide for such ability to charge interest, you should to revise them to include that right. If your terms and conditions are silent on the issue, then write the owner of the mold and inform the owner that you will now start charging interest. The presumption for your agreement to hold the mold for the customer is that it will remain active. So long as your supply agreement does not obligate you to hold such molds indefinitely, there is nothing that prevents you from charging a storage fee. Whether you decide to collect on that storage fee is up to you. Further, accrued storage fees can be used as a cost to often justify maintaining a molder’s lien on the molds, thereby preventing other molds from being removed from your facility without prior full payment of all amounts due you. In the instance in which the owner of the mold either cannot be found or does not provide you with any insight (such as never responding to your request for guidance), you should look to your state’s particular laws on this topic. In general, if you own the mold, you can scrap it, sell it or dispose of it at your leisure, assuming your contract or purchase order with the customer does not restrict such action. If the customer owns the mold, but you are still owed money by the customer, most states allow you to sell the mold and apply the sale proceeds to the debt the customer owes you after you provide notice to the customer. Alternatively, certain states allow you to sell the mold as scrap and apply any money you receive to the debt. In such cases, send a letter to the last known address you have for the customer, telling the customer you are going to scrap or sell the mold and

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apply the money you receive to the debt the customer owes. Keep a copy of the letter in your file – even if it is returned because the customer is now out of business. If the customer owns the mold but does not owe you any money, then just write a letter – again to the last known address – stating something along the following: “We have in our possession several molds owned by you. These molds [identify the molds by part number or name] have been inactive for some time. If we do not hear from you within thirty (30) days, we will make arrangements to dispose of the molds and invoice you for the cost associated with such disposal.” By sending such a letter, you provide ample notice to the customer to act before you either scrap or sell the molds. If you do not hear from the customer, then go ahead and get rid of the molds as you deem most economical to you. If you sell them, deduct from the sale proceeds a reasonable fee for past storage and send the excess, if any, to the customer. But, if the customer no longer exists, keep the sale proceeds. Although many states have particular nuances that must be observed, such as how many days of advanced notice must be provided or where the notice must be published (such as in a paper of general circulation in the city of the customer), the preceding procedure is generally allowed and avoids risk of blowback. And, don’t forget: if you don’t address this issue proactively, your customer never will. n Alan Rothenbuecher regularly assists plastics industry companies with their daily challenges. His specialty is helping companies build and protect their assets and business. Rothenbuecher is actively involved in trade associations and has developed significant industry experience in the plastics industry, in general, and additive manufacturing (3D printing), in particular. He is a member of the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors and the American Mold Builders Association, where he is a member of the board of directors and serves as general counsel of these national associations. More information: arothenbuecher@beneschlaw.com or www. beneschlaw.com.


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.

Fan Filters Reduce Dust at Toyota Material Handling by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Business

A

typical Midwestern town, Columbus, Indiana, is known not only for its unique architecture throughout the downtown area, but also as the hometown of basketball player turned shoe salesman Chuck Taylor and Vice President Mike Pence. It also is the location of Toyota Material Handling USA, Inc., a forklift manufacturing company employing 1,500 associates that was recently named as the number one forklift brand for the 15th straight year. In Columbus, as the temperatures outside begin to increase as the seasons change, the 1.3 million-square-foot Toyota plant starts to get warmer as well. To combat the heat, the facility has 36" fans in place to help move and cool the air. However, during the colder months when the fans are not used, dust and dirt accumulate on them, causing complications when they are turned on in the spring. National Training and Customer Center Manager at Toyota Material Handling USA Tom Lego explained, “We have 500 fans and when they are turned on, some dirt could become dislodged or other dust and dirt could blow into the associates’ faces, causing foreign bodies to get into their eyes.” Additionally, blowing dust can start a chain of events that could lead to an industrial fire. Though combustible dust is a major cause of fire affecting nearly every industry – whether plastics or metal fabrication, food processing or grain handling, forest products or a number of other industries – it is often overlooked. Almost everything, even materials that are not typically fire risks in larger pieces, can page 40 u A simple fan filter has significantly improved air quality and reduced combustible dust fire risks.

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become combustible once reduced to dust form. Fine particles, fibers, chips, chunks or flakes are all forms of combustible dust that have the potential to cause a fire or explosion when suspended in the air. In many cases, a small fire will start after combustible material makes contact with an ignition source. The dust in the area will become airborne after the primary explosion, and then the dust cloud itself can ignite, resulting in a secondary explosion. Since dust is the key ingredient in combustible dust fires and explosions, preventing it from accumulating to a dangerous level can be life-saving. According to the most recent fire statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of 37,000 fires occur at industrial and manufacturing properties every year. In addition to loss of life and injuries, which cannot be described in monetary terms, fires cost more than $1 billion in direct property damage. Of the five most common causes of industrial fires and explosions, combustible dust is ranked number one.

The filters take seconds to slip on the fans and are changed out every few months.

In every Toyota production facility, employees are encouraged to suggest ideas in an effort to improve safety and quality. These ideas are referred to as “kaizen,” a Japanese word that means constant improvement. Lego explained, “Simple ideas have some very positive impacts, and we are always looking for small daily improvements.” When Toyota associates searched for an idea to reduce particles in the air when fans are blowing, someone suggested putting a filter on each fan. “We tested the fan filter idea a few years ago, and they have been a success since,” Lego stated. The company made threeinch-thick filters in-house out of filter media it had on hand for another project. Once this concept was proved, Toyota worked with a company to custom manufacture replacement filters. “They are round with a slit, so they just slide over the back of the fans,” he said. Each filter only takes a matter of seconds to slip on and, depending upon the area of the facility the fan is in, these filters are changed out every few months. However, these filters are not used in areas where sparks are created, such as welding. Lego reported that the associates have been pleased with the reduction of foreign bodies in their eyes, as well as the decrease in time they spend cleaning the fans. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Chemical Safety Board (CSB) statistics show that combustible dust events have killed many employees and injured others in recent years. According to OSHA, since 1980, nearly 150 workers have been killed, while more than 850 have been injured in combustible dust explosions. Not only are the fan filters at Toyota Material Handling USA helping employees to breathe easier and see more clearly, they also are helping to ensure fire safety.

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Ransomware Attacks Kentucky’s Par 4 Plastics by Lara Copeland, contributing editor, Plastics Business

R

eveton. Bad Rabbit. Fusob. Petya. WannaCry. While some of these words seem nonsensical and others may read like a bad Hollywood movie title, they are names of notorious ransomware attacks that have spread across the globe since the beginning of this decade. Ransomware is just one type – albeit the most popular – of malware. According to researchers from Malwarebytes Corporation, an anti-malware software company, roughly 60 percent of malware payloads were ransomware. Unfortunately, no industry is immune to a ransomware attack, and all sizes of organizations are susceptible. For Par 4 Plastics, Inc., a plastics manufacturer in Marion, Kentucky, with more than 200,000 square feet at its two facilities, an attack on November 1, 2017, instantly locked its files. “I got a call in the middle of the night that we'd been hacked and that all of our files were locked,” President Tim Capps said. He then was notified that the hackers were demanding a $200,000 ransom be paid in Bitcoins in exchange for unlocking the files. “I knew we weren’t going to pay the ransom,” he continued, “so our first response was to go manual.” To stop the spread of the virus, Capps made the decision to pull all computers and servers offline immediately. “We shut down our ERP system (IQMS) and Wi-Fi, and email was taken offline,” he said. He then contacted Gov. Matt Bevins’ office. “They were instrumental in getting us in touch with the Department of Homeland Security for consultation,” he added. The state police and FBI also were contacted. The inability to access its own files can be catastrophic for any company. Not only is there a potential loss of proprietary information and an interruption of normal procedures, but the business also is subjected to possible financial losses to restore systems and files – not to mention the harm its reputation may suffer. Though he understood these risks, Capps did not want to enter into negotiations with the hackers. “We were told that many times the ransom goes to bad people who do bad things, so there was no way we were willing to pay,” Capps said. From there, the company took proactive measures to regain its files and protect itself from potential future attacks. In the initial week after the attack, when Par 4 Plastics made the decision to “go manual,” the company managed to continue meeting customers’ needs. “We did everything by paper, which was harder on our staff but still manageable,” Capps said. He

also prioritized company-wide communication. For the first three weeks after the incident, he held strategic team meetings to keep the lines of communication open. “At the same time, we cleaned and checked all computers and servers and used our backup to restore our files ourselves.” By the second week, systems were put back online as everything normalized. “During the third week, we reviewed some additional software that could have been infected, but thankfully it wasn’t,” Capps explained. Once all systems were reverified, the company was “pretty much 100 percent back to normal, yet we remained very cautious,” he said. Capps was thankful Par 4 had enough manual systems in place to get the job done. “The page 42 u

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first week was the toughest, and operating manually was like going back in time – but things pulled together well.” Once a series of checks was completed, “we went beyond to make sure we were very safe,” Capps explained. Additional malware protection was installed to detect and contain the virus. The company also hired a third-party administrator to aid the IT department in checking and verifying everything that had been put in place. From there, 24/7 advance performance monitoring and phishing security tests were implemented, and hourly backups of servers and files were conducted. Office 365 Cloud email was installed for additional protection. “This thirdparty server adds a layer of protection,” Capps said, “because everything goes through it before coming to us.” Par 4 Plastics also blocked certain countries from sending it email, since Homeland Security determined the hackers were foreign. “We're in good shape now and everything is back to normal, and much of this has to do with our incredible IT team – Chuck Beavers and Harley Watson – in addition to the entire organization’s flexibility in overcoming adversity,” Capps said. “We didn’t lose any sales, and we didn’t have any quality issues.”

Furthermore, no shipments were missed, IT is business as usual and, to top it off, Par 4 even brought in two new customers during this process. The attack did impact Par 4’s customers slightly “because we were not using their systems through automation for ordering and receiving orders,” but Capps said his customers were very patient. “We explained to them that we had a virus and had to shut things down, but we kept the line of communication open and made sure they had their parts.” Capps feels fortunate to have made it through this trial without losing any business or paying the hackers. “If you have your backups in place, you will not have to pay the ransom,” he said. He urged other companies to learn from his experience and emphasized becoming self-reliant. “Due to the large volume of attacks, the state police, Homeland Security and the FBI are only able to offer guidance and suggestions in recovering from these incidents.” He added that having layers of protection and a contingency plan are imperative. “You need to educate yourself to the fullest on any issue – whether it’s safety, quality or cybersecurity. You need to know every aspect of your business.” n

The Advantage in the Clear Choice Polymer Technology & Services, LLC (PTS) will now become a successful part of Amco Polymers in 2018. With more than 25 years as a leader in customer service, OEM application development, and product technology, PTS is a natural and strategic fit for the Amco brand. To read the official press release and explore Amco’s offering, visit AmcoPolymers.com/news.

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association

Small Companies Doing Big Things – MAPP CH3 Plant Tour Dalton, Georgia | March 15, 2018 MAPP’s first tour in 2018 will be held at CH3 Solutions, a two-year-old company in Dalton, Georgia, that has grown 250 percent in sales since its inception. Originally founded as a solution to a problem – its sister company couldn’t get quality products from its supplier – CH3 has made a name for itself as a world-class processor. CH3’s team prides itself on being adaptable and product-focused – caring about its products and earning trust from customers. The company adapted its processes to match the quality needed for its main product – basketball and tennis court floors! All assembly work is done in-house, including product-testing, quality and tool maintenance. The organization puts an emphasis on technology and environmental responsibility. From the machinery it uses to the manufacturing process, CH3 consistently tries to reduce overall waste and energy consumption every day. Learn more about CH3 and join other MAPP members at the event by visiting www.mappinc. com/events/plant-tour-event-ch3-solutions. Innovation in Plastics: A MAPP Young Professionals Event Noble Plastics | March 29, 2018 MAPP’s Young Professionals network recently announced its first event of 2018: Innovation in Plastics. This takes place at Noble Plastics, Grand Coteau, Louisiana, and focuses on new technology in the plastics industry, including automation, co-bots and mold simulation. Attendees will join MAPP, the Noble team and other plastics industry young professionals for a day focused on understanding and benchmarking innovative practices in the industry. Attendees will network with one another, discuss opportunities to improve the innovative practices in their own facilities and hear from the team at Noble about the company’s experience in enhanced product quality, production efficiency and throughput, as well as have a chance to tour Noble’s 100,000-square-foot facility. Young professionals interested in attending can learn more at www.mappinc.com. Welcome New MAPP Members MAPP is proud to welcome the following plastics organizations into the MAPP network: • Allegheny Performance Plastics, Leetsdale, Pennsylvania • Matrix 4, Woodstock, Illinois • Onward Manufacturing Company, Dickson, Tennessee

Now Available: 2018 State of the Plastics Industry Report MAPP recently released its 2018 State of the Plastics Industry Report. Now in its eighteenth year, this annual report takes an in-depth look at more than 33 economic indicators and their anticipated impact on the plastics industry over the next 12 months. With input from nearly 200 plastics company executives, the report gives a detailed analysis of historic trends, offers market-specific outlooks and breaks down data by company size. This report now is available on the MAPP website for purchase and download. To learn more, visit www.mappinc.com/plastics-information. New MAPP Sponsors Expand Cost-Reduction Program Offerings to Members MAPP welcomes the following industry-service providers into the MAPP organization. For more information on MAPP sponsors and their offerings, members can visit www. mappinc.com. • Absolute Robot: ARI provides solutions to plastics processors’ automation needs. ARI serves all of North and Central America with equipment ranging from pneumatic pickers to full servo robots that can be equipped on machines up to 3,300 tons. This partnership also allows ARI to provide new and pre-owned machinery to customers. • Molding Professionals LLC: Molding Professionals is a renowned national recruiting, headhunting, business development and search firm serving a wide variety of plastic injection molding companies across the US. • 5 Folds: An industrial marketing agency with more than 30 years of plastics industry experience, providing clients with the most effective and latest marketing strategies and tactics: Web Design and SEO – LinkedIn Marketing – LinkedIn Advertising – Content Marketing – Brand Collateral – Google AdWords. • Crestcom: This leadership training series is a monthly business incubator where leaders grow their skills, exchange ideas and share what’s working now. Participants can join the Bullet Proof Manager course at any time and attend one monthly session for 12 consecutive months. At the completion of the training, participating managers will have spent 48 hours in a structured learning environment, exchanging ideas with managers from different fields, backgrounds and experiences.

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• • • • • • New MAPP Website Launched Launching in February, MAPP is excited to unveil the new MAPP website. The new site features an improved user experience, allowing members to improve their connections and elevate the awareness of our members’ capabilities and much more. MAPP’s website also will be mobile friendly, allowing members to access all the MAPP resources from their phones. MAPP Announces 2018 Benchmarking Topics As MAPP strives to be the plastics industry’s information hub, it has announced its 2018 benchmarking topics. MAPP members with specific benchmarking topic ideas or needs are encouraged to reach out to MAPP’s staff at info@mappinc.com.

2018 State of the Plastics Industry Drugs in the Workplace Molding Machine Maintenance Tuition Reimbursement Wage and Salary Marketing in Manufacturing

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Dare to Engage: One of the Best Investments I’ve Made It’s an absolute honor to serve as the president of MAPP’s board of directors. I am in awe of the past MAPP presidents, and I am inspired by the leadership and guidance they’ve provided over the years. I am now personally excited about our future and the direction of our current leadership as I take my turn at the helm!

My company, Dymotek, became a member of MAPP 10 years ago to take advantage of some sponsor discounts. Our level of involvement changed significantly when, in 2008, I attended my first Benchmarking Conference in Indianapolis. Never before had I ever been so inspired to develop myself and improve my own company after attending one single event. I will never forget the embarrassment I felt for not having key members of my team participate in such a motivating, inspiring and overall educational event – and I vowed not to make the same mistake twice. Forest

I immediately engaged myself after the conference by implementing what I had learned from speakers like Jack Daly, a successful business leader from outside of our industry, who said he personally signed more than 2,000 birthday cards to his employees annually. How could I possibly not find time to write out a mere 50? It was at a later conference that six of my staff members and I learned about the power of gratitude. We often focused so hard on our business challenges that we did not actually recognize our achievements. Since that conference, we now take time at the beginning of our meetings to be grateful for those successes. As another way to engage, our company took a giant step forward by opening our doors to other members of the MAPP community for MAPP’s signature quarterly tour event. MAPP is the only organization I know that ensures its members have professional development opportunities regularly throughout the year. While hosting our tour, we set up stations highlighting what we believed to be interesting and potentially a best practice to share with other members. We had over 50 visiting executives representing some of the most successful in the US plastics industry. In addition to the value I hope we provided for the attendees – I’ve had the privilege of touring over a dozen MAPP member

companies and have taken away and implemented best practices in my own plant that were shared with me – my team was given incredible feedback on opportunities for improvement. My team also has become engaged with MAPP’s peer networking webinars – basically, a value-packed 60 minutes of sharing among your peers (human resources, sales and marketing, quality, IT…) in the industry to solve problems and find proven resources. This activity is so simple, but one of the most effective ways to enhance the knowledge and skill sets of every staff member. We engage by working with the community of MAPP sponsors, which provide a variety of important services from strategy to marketing to training and financial. I feel they represent the best in class for our industry, and my company is better for having utilized their products and services. Dymotek has been the recipient of many regional and national accolades year after year for excellence in culture as well as performance. These humbling awards are directly tied to having a MAPP-engaged team of associates. I’ve shared the success of my journey with you because I’m grateful that I made the investment to become active in MAPP. As I take the reins from Ben Harp, who has been a phenomenal board president, I hope to continue his incredible leadership of the organization. At present, MAPP is at an all-time high with membership and retention levels. We now offer development for next-generation executives through our Young Professionals Group and have moved our Benchmarking conference, by far the best event in our industry, to a larger venue to handle the increased attendance. More members of our plastics processing community are seeing the benefits in MAPP than ever before. So now I will simply encourage you not to wait. Take the next step to engage (or join, if you haven’t), I promise the return is ten-fold – and this is testimony from someone who has experienced it repeatedly. I dare you to engage! Norm Forest, MAPP president Dymotek Industries

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 45


INDUSTRY

Tax Reform Implications for the Plastics Sector by Michael J. Devereux II, CPA, CMP, partner, Mueller Prost

A

gainst the odds, the Republican-led Congress and President Trump were able to pass the Tax Reform & Jobs Act of 2017 (The “Act”). As such, most plastics processors will see a drop in their tax bills, beginning in 2018. Many of the provisions plastics processors rely upon to compute their federal tax liability were changed, ushering in new tax rates and new deductions, while eliminating some deductions and incentives. The following describes the changes made by the Act that are most likely to impact MAPP members.

The Act permanently reduces the corporate tax rate to a flat 21 percent, replacing the graduated rates of 15 percent to 35 percent. The new tax rate went into effect Jan. 1, 2018. For taxpayers with non-calendar year-ends, the IRS will have to apply the different tax rates on a pro-rata basis, based upon the number of days before Jan. 1, 2018, and the number of days after Dec. 31, 2017. In addition, the Act eliminates the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for tax years beginning after 2017. The Act also makes the AMT credit refundable for any tax year beginning after 2017 and before 2022 in an amount equal to 50 percent of the excess of AMT credit carryforwards for the tax year over the amount of AMT credits allowable for the tax year against the regular tax liability. Any AMT credits remaining in 2021 will be refunded to the taxpayer. Flow-through entities, such as S corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships, are taxed at the owner level. That is, the entity does not pay income tax. Rather, the income, deductions and credits “flow-through” to the owners of the company, and those owners pay the federal income tax on the profits of the business. Most MAPP members are likely organized as flowthrough entities. Rather than reduce the tax rate that individuals or trusts pay on their business income, the Act allows for a new 20 percent deduction of domestic qualified business income from a partnership, S corporation or sole proprietorship for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2026. However, this new pass through deduction can be limited. The deduction is equal to the lesser of the combined qualified business income of the taxpayer or 20 percent of the taxable income. The deduction reduces taxable income, not adjusted gross income, and

46 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

Processors are eligible for the 100 percent bonus depreciation for both new and used qualified property, a change from past bonus depreciation regimes. eligible owners are entitled to the deduction whether they itemize their deductions or claim the new, greater standard deduction. The deduction is limited to the greater of a) 50 percent of the W-2 wages paid by the company, or b) the sum of 25 percent of the W-2 wages paid by the company, plus 2.5 percent of the unadjusted basis, immediately after purchase, of all qualified property. In addition to the new flow-through deduction, the Act temporarily reduces individual tax rates for all income levels. The Act has seven tax brackets: 10 percent, 12 percent, 22 percent, 24 percent, 32 percent, 25 percent and 37 percent; and they all apply to tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2026. The Act allows for 100 percent bonus depreciation for eligible property placed into service after Sept. 27, 2017, through Dec. 31, 2022. This provision is one of the few retroactive provisions. As such, plastics processors that purchased and placed in service equipment after Sept. 27, 2017, will be able to deduct 100 percent of the cost of the asset. The benefit phases out, however, over the following five years: • 80 percent bonus depreciation for property placed in service during 2023; • 60 percent bonus depreciation for property placed in service during 2024; • 40 percent bonus depreciation for property placed in service during 2025; • 20 percent bonus depreciation for property placed in service during 2026; page 49 u


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INDUSTRY t page 46

Processors are eligible for the 100 percent bonus depreciation for both new and used qualified property, a change from past bonus depreciation regimes. Therefore, processors will be able to claim bonus depreciation on used equipment that they have purchased, as long as it is new to them. The Act also increases the ยง179 depreciation limit from $510,000 to $1 million for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017. IRC ยง179 is a provision that allows processors to deduct the cost of qualifying property placed in service during the tax year rather than to recover the costs through depreciation deductions. The IRC ยง179 limit is phased-out, dollar-for-dollar, for purchases exceeding a threshold amount of $2.5 million (up from the prior $2 million threshold). The Act keeps the R&D tax credit in its current state, a credit that most plastics processors utilize to reduce their tax liabilities. In fact, the credit became more beneficial with the passage of the Act due to the decreased corporate tax rate. While the credit was preserved, plastics processors must begin to capitalize their research expenditures that are paid or incurred in

tax year 2022 and thereafter, amortize them over a period of five years (15 years for research performed outside the United States). For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, the Act limits the deduction for net interest expense incurred by a taxpayer with average annual gross receipts greater than $25 million to the sum of the business interest income and 30 percent of the adjusted taxable income. Any amounts exceeding this limitation may be carried forward indefinitely. In addition, the Act limits the net operating loss (NOL) deduction for NOLs arising in tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, to 80 percent of the taxable income, with any excess NOLs carried forward indefinitely. Further, NOLs will no longer be allowed to be carried back. Moreover, most plastics processors have been required to use the accrual method of accounting in reporting their revenue and related deductions. However, for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, taxpayers with average annual gross receipts of page 50 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 49


INDUSTRY t page 49

$25 million or less for the prior three tax years may use the cash method of accounting, regardless of the company’s entity structure. That is, the processor will recognize revenue when it receives the cash and claim deductions when the expense is paid. Further, taxpayers with less than $25 million of average annual gross receipts for the prior three tax years are exempt from the requirement to account for inventories in a traditional manufacturing sense. Thus, processors will be able to treat their inventory as incidental supplies and deduct the inventory when it is used in the manufacturing process. In addition, plastics processors falling under the $25 million threshold will be exempt from the UNICAP rules, and therefore not required to capitalize their indirect expenditures and overhead into the cost of their inventory. The Act eliminates the deduction for entertainment expenses, while preserving the limited deduction for business meals. Further, the Act eliminates the domestic production activities deduction for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017. Many of the provisions of the Act are favorable to plastics processors, and processors’ federal tax liabilities should

New Individual Tax Rates Married Filing Jointly and Surviving Spouses n 10% (Taxable income not over $19,050) n 12% (Over $19,050 but not over $77,400) n 22% (Over $77,400 but not over $165,000) n 24% (Over $165,000 but not over $315,000) n 32% (Over $315,000 but not over $400,000) n 35% (Over $400,000 but not over 600,000) n 37% (over $600,000) Single Individuals & Married Filing Separately n 10% (Taxable income not over $9,525) n 12% (Over $9,525 but not over $38,700) n 22% (Over $38,700 but not over $82,500) n 24% (Over $82,500 but not over $157,500) n 32% (Over $157,500 but not over $200,000) n 35% (Over $200,000 but not over $300,000) n 37% (Over $300,000) Head of Household n 10% (Taxable income not over $13,600) n 12% (Over $13,600 but not over $51,800) n 22% (Over $51,800 but not over $82,500) n 24% (Over $82,500 but not over $157,500) n 32% (Over $157,500 but not over $200,000) n 35% (Over $200,000 but not over $500,000) n 37% (Over $500,000) decrease. Careful planning, however, may be necessary to ensure all benefits and incentives are recognized. n

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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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ECONOMIC CORNER

The Good, Bad and Maybe Ugly Sides of the Tax Cut by Chris Kuehl, managing director, Armada Corporate Intelligence

A

s readers must be aware, it is the job of the economist to point out the dark cloud that accompanies every silver lining. No good deed goes unpunished, and they don’t call us dismal scientists for nothing. Now that I have set the tone, we can discuss the impact of the tax cut and what the various phases will look like through the year and beyond. We can start with the good news.

The Good

The tax cut has definitely stimulated the economy in a variety of ways. Consumers have more money to spend, as many saw their tax burden reduced and many also happened to work for companies that chose to share their tax reduction through bonuses and pay hikes. Businesses saw a reduction in their taxes as well – generally reducing rates from around 37 percent to around 25 percent. Some of the tax breaks that certain businesses had relied on have been eliminated – but not all that many. This leaves a lot more in the corporate coffers than before, and the money will be directed in a variety of ways – some more productive than others. There will be investment in new equipment, and there will be hiring (provided people can be found who are worth hiring). There also will be bigger payouts to owners and investors and money sunk into stock buyback, investments and purchases in foreign markets. These latter options are not as useful for the economy as a whole. It is true that a stimulative tax cut like this would have been more effective when the economy was moribund, but there will be reasons to celebrate the windfall for the first half of the year in any case.

The Bad

The timing of the tax cuts is what creates the bad scenario. The economy already was growing at a nice pace before the cuts, and now it is adding gasoline to a fire that already exists. This rapid influx of corporate and consumer cash can overheat an economy quickly. Here is how a tax cut fuels inflation. The business community decides to use this money to expand. They start to buy machines, hire people and use more of the inputs they depend on – fuel, metals and the like. This new demand for these products is coming at a time when most suppliers have been ratcheting down output, and now they will struggle to keep pace with that demand and, almost inevitably, the price of all these inputs, machines and workers will rise. The faster the growth, the more

54 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

urgency there is not to be left behind – and that pushes those prices even higher. Consumers play their part as well. They have money, and they will spend it. Right now, the savings rate for the US consumer is as low as it was at the start of the recession, and people are no longer reluctant to haul out their plastic. As they create demand, the producers have a reason to hike prices and the consumer starts to feel an inflationary pang. This propels them to spend even more – and faster – as they fear that the things they want will be even more expensive in the future. The natural reaction to inflation by a consumer is exactly the opposite of what would be preferred for the economy as a whole, but it happens every time. So, now we have inflation. What is so bad about that? In the first place, it makes everything more expensive and creates a cycle that is hard to end. The person seeing higher prices for their basic needs and wants will try to get paid more, and the company that has to pay more will raise prices to cover these costs, and then people will want to be paid more so they can afford the price hikes.


Beyond that, inflation is the scourge of the financial community, and banks get very cautious. They do not want to lend money that inflation will rob of its value in the future, so access to capital is suddenly restricted. The big attitude change will be at the Federal Reserve as they will swing into action to blunt that inflation surge. Interest rates will climb quickly and consistently in an effort to shut off the advancing threat of inflation. We have been living through an extraordinarily long period of loose monetary policy as the Fed has been pulling out all the stops to goose the economy forward. That ends and is replaced by an equally aggressive attempt to slow things down. This shift in strategy could start as soon as the middle part of the year, as it often takes several months for a restrictive Fed policy to start working – especially if the economy is flush with cash. Much of the gain made at the start of the year could be lost at the end of the year if these rates ratchet up far and fast enough.

The Ugly

This brings us to the ugly part. These tax cuts are going to balloon an already inflated deficit and debt. Somewhere along the way, the fiscal hawks all seem to have migrated elsewhere, and even the GOP seems more than cavalier about the threat of debt. The estimates hold that these tax cuts will add another $1.5 trillion to the debt and deficit – and both of these are already far too high for any sense of fiscal comfort. Our national debt is close to 104 percent of the national GDP and, bear in mind, the US GDP is the largest in the world at just over $19 trillion. China is second, with a GDP of just over $12 trillion. We have states that have GDP numbers as large as major countries (France has a GDP roughly the size of California’s, and Texas compares to Canada). Adding to the debt burden is not a good thing and neither is adding to the deficit, which now is sitting at over three percent of the national GDP. This is considered well past acceptable levels. In order for the US to handle these debt burdens now, annual growth of between five and seven percent will be required – and the US simply doesn’t grow that fast. We are getting very excited about three percent growth and are not sure we can even maintain that pace. If we can’t grow fast enough to reduce the burdens, there are not very palatable alternatives, such as massive budget cuts and significant increases in revenue. Given that there was just a big tax cut, the likelihood of revenue enhancement is nil. That leaves those big cuts and that means taking a knife to the biggest US budget items. These are Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and the Defense Department. Don’t hold your breath on changing any of these. What happens if there are no cuts, no hike in revenues and not enough growth? We will keep doing what we have been doing for the last decade or longer. We will borrow more and more to be able to make the budget, which makes the problem larger

later. This is the fundamental issue with economics as ruled by political expedience. As long as the crisis occurs on the next leader’s watch, it is all just fine. What should the US be doing right now? The growth that we have experienced should be channeled into reducing our obligations and setting us up to handle future issues. Any businessman will tell you that having a rainy-day fund is crucial and that spending every dime from a good quarter or year is the height of folly. Consumers even know to save, but that message always seems to be lost on those that ostensibly lead. n Chris Kuehl is managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence. Founded by Keith Prather and Chris Kuehl in January 2001, Armada began as a competitive intelligence firm, grounded in the discipline of gathering, analyzing and disseminating intelligence. Today, Armada executives function as trusted strategic advisers to business executives, merging fundamental roots in corporate intelligence gathering, economic forecasting and strategy development. Armada focuses on the market forces bearing down on organizations. For more information, visit www.armada-intel.com.

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MANAGEMENT

Ten High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Drive Higher Levels of Employee Engagement by Curt Redden, Primal Success

1

Embrace and adopt a strengths-focused culture. People excel in their areas of talent and strengths. You can find many assessments to help you in this area. But the key is focusing on people’s strengths first. Identify them, and then figure out how you can stretch them in those areas. Once it takes hold, it impacts decision-making, structuring project teams, and the particular talents required for a specific project. It does not mean you ignore their weaknesses, but your people become more engaged when doing what they naturally do best.

2

Promote volunteerism and company support from the top down. It’s important to help the communities in which you serve. You cannot underestimate the impact of allowing your people to volunteer (yes, even on company time). It is beyond giving back, it is team building, networking and uniting around a common problem to overcome obstacles. In regard to engagement levels, this is one of the highest-rated items on many employee engagement surveys, and it is a multiplier in terms of return on happier and more satisfied employees.

W

e all seem to get it by now – more engaged employees perform at a higher level. The organizations that get their strategy right in this area provide a superior customer experience, have lower levels of employee churn, higher morale and, ultimately, much higher financial performance. Their customers love them more! What are some things you can easily implement that will give you big lift in your levels of employee engagement with the lowest investment? First, hire right. Making the right hire is well over half of the battle in your employee engagement levels. Hire people who believe what you believe and have the attitude you want. Get that right, and the following 10 ideas can help them thrive.

56 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

3

Make friends at work. Some of you may be skeptical, but according to the 2017 Gallup Study of the American Workplace, having a best friend at work has a high correlation with engagement and higher productivity. But how can your organizations help support this? Formally, you can embrace deeper mentoring programs and relationships. This should be aligned in initial onboarding so the mentor can assist and facilitate introductions, networking and group activities. Informally, the more in and out of work activities that you can schedule aids in bonding, networking and ultimately friendships.

4

Establish “fun” committees! Whatever you call or brand your internal efforts to schedule fun stuff, give it to the people who are passionate, and let them run. page 58 u


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MANAGEMENT t page 56

Never underestimate the impact of happy hours, food trucks, bowling and other fun activities to help your people get to know each other better on a personal level – and perform better in teams.

5

Support flexibility. Wherever possible, err on the side of providing more flexibility for your people. You hired them, so you trust them – and if you don’t, you probably should not keep paying them. It is about the “job to be done” and not where it gets done. Working from home a day or two a week or extending flex time goes a long way in helping people better balance their lives.

6

Offer contact with senior management. Leadership by simply walking around is a really big deal. Have your senior staff pop in on random employees to just see what they’re most excited about working on. Top organizations in engagement consistently show that access and informality with senior staff drives employees to feel more comfortable, enjoy their work more and provide more discretionary effort.

7

Really celebrate successes and wins. When someone does something awesome, find ways to recognize and reward the behavior you want. It is amazing how many employees still only get feedback primarily when they have done something wrong. So many leaders simply expect great performance – then think they are providing fantastic coaching and leadership when they rip apart the performance of someone who screwed up. That management style is already going the way of the dinosaur for companies that are really seeking to attract and retain the top employees of tomorrow.

8

Extend trust to get trust. Play a game of “What Rule or Outdated Process Can We Kill?” Once a quarter, include in any regular scheduled meetings, “Keep it, or Kill it” as an exercise. Employees get to nominate rules or processes they believe do not add value. Leadership still has veto authority, but the goal should be to kill at least one (and you can’t add one to replace it). There are so many areas where this can have impact. Oftentimes, entire rules and procedures are put in place to avoid a few exceptions. Again, if you trusted them enough to hire them…

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9

Extend trust to get trust (Part 2). Your people are on social media. While there are some specific instances of needed prohibition of access to some sites and/or personal devices, the best companies are moving toward the understanding that people are increasingly not separating their work and personal lives. Embrace this! Regarding social media specifically, encourage and help your people to be brand ambassadors on all platforms, not just the ones you think are for business.

10

Let your people be authentic, and they will be their best for you. We have finally reached a tipping point where the vast majority of organizations understand the value of diversity in their teams. They not only get it, they strive to leverage it for a competitive advantage. Appearance standards have shifted drastically of late, as many companies are now not only allowing, but encouraging, unique looks and individuality in their employees. Some companies are hesitant to permit their staff to work with visible tattoos, facial hair, or body piercings – especially if they want to maintain a carefully curated brand – but when possible, allow your people do be themselves. The key is getting and keeping the best talent, not the talent you think looks the best – unless that’s your goal. Seek employees who are passionate, talented and believe in what you believe. Those are the ones who become truly engaged, deliver the ultimate customer experience and help build the brand you deserve. All 10 of these tips can help you immediately in your employee engagement efforts at a relatively low cost. The key differentiator for organizations moving forward will be in how they become an employer of choice for the pool of top talent. It is not just about happy and satisfied employees – it is about those who are able to bring their best effort and energy to work each day. n Curt Redden is a speaker, talent-development expert and coauthor of “Going PRIMAL, A Layered Approach to Creating the Life You Desire.” Redden has spent more than 25 years working to support and encourage employees as they strive for success. He currently is the head of global talent development for a Fortune 50 company. He also is certified by the Association for Talent Development as a master trainer and performanceimprovement consultant.

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BOOKLIST

A Nonfiction Brain Break by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, Plastics Busines

H

ow high is the stack of business-themed books on your desk? Is your e-reader overloaded with those game-changing books you’ll get to … eventually? Does your brain need a break? When was the last time you read a book for fun?

No worries – this list isn’t full of fiction titles (no one has time for that!). Instead, grab one of my nonfiction favorites and send your imagination to space with the astronaut who lived on the International Space Station for a year, examine the real-life consequences of the manufacturing downturn, follow a Washington farm kid to the 1936 Olympics and learn how $50 turned into annual sales of $30 billion for Nike. After nearly 40 book and podcast recommendations since 2015, we all deserve a brain break, right?

Janesville: An American Story Author: Amy Goldstein Released: April 18, 2017

This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its factory stills, but it’s not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next, when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up. Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Goldstein has spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin, where the nation’s oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession, two days before Christmas of 2008. Now, with intelligence, sympathy and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, she makes one of America’s biggest political issues human. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians and job re-trainers to show why it’s so hard in the 21st century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class.

Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery Author: Scott Kelly Released: October 17, 2017

A stunning, personal memoir from the astronaut and modern-day hero who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station. The veteran of four spaceflights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Now, he takes us inside a sphere utterly hostile to human life. He describes navigating the extreme

60 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

challenge of long-term spaceflight, both life-threatening and mundane: the devastating effects on the body; the isolation from everyone he loves and the comforts of Earth; the catastrophic risks of colliding with space junk; and the still more haunting threat of being unable to help should tragedy strike at home – an agonizing situation Kelly faced when, on a previous mission, his twin brother's wife, American Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot while he still had two months in space. Kelly's humanity, compassion, humor and determination resonate throughout, as he recalls his rough-and-tumble New Jersey childhood and the youthful inspiration that sparked his astounding career, and as he makes clear his belief that Mars will be the next, ultimately challenging, step in spaceflight.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Author: Daniel James Brown Released: June 4, 2013

Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times – the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant. It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale


lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike Author: Phil Knight Released: April 26, 2016

Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing and profitable brands. Young, searching, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his

Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed $8,000 that first year – 1963. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In this age of startups, Knight’s Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is more than a logo. A symbol of grace and greatness, it’s one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always been a mystery. Now, in a memoir that’s surprising, humble, unfiltered, funny and beautifully crafted, he tells his story at last. It all begins with a classic crossroads moment. Twenty-four years old, backpacking through Asia and Europe and Africa, wrestling with life’s Great Questions, Knight decides the unconventional path is the only one for him. Rather than work for a big corporation, he will create something all his own, something new, dynamic, different. He recalls the foundational relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike, with his former track coach, the irascible and charismatic Bill Bowerman, and with his first employees, a ragtag group of misfits and savants who quickly became a band of swoosh-crazed brothers. Together, harnessing the electrifying power of a bold vision and a shared belief in the redemptive, transformative power of sports, they created a brand, and a culture, that changed everything. n

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iD Additives www.idadditives.com Page 49

Concept Molds www.conceptmolds.com Page 52

PolySource www.polysource.net Page 25

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Ivanhoe Tool & Die Company, Inc. www.ivanhoetool.com Page 53

Training

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Conair www.conairgroup.com Back cover Frigel www.frigel.com Page 18 Novatec www.novatec.com Pages 23, 32, 33, 47 Progressive Components www.procomps.com/z-series Page 7 Wittmann Battenfeld www.wittmann-group.com Page 10 Yushin America, Inc. www.yushinamerica.com Page 58

Events/Organizations MAPP www.mappinc.com Page 57 NPE2018 www.npe.org Page 48

INCOE Corporation www.incoe.com Page 29 Synventive Molding Solutions www.synventive.com Page 50

Legal Counsel Ice Miller LLP www.icemiller.com Page 59

Marketing Services VIVE – Marketing for Manufacturers www.vive4mfg.com/answers Page 57

Mold Craft www.mold-craft.com Page 53

Paulson Training Programs, Inc. www.paulsontraining.com/skills Page 51

Operations Consulting Harbour Results, Inc. www.harbourresults.com/plastics Page 16

Process Monitoring IQMS www.iqms.com Page 3

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RJG, Inc. www.rjginc.com/tzero Page 15 Official Publication of Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors

Metrology OCTEX www.octexgroup.com Page 59

62 | plastics business • 2018 Issue 1

SIGMA Plastics Services, Inc. www.3dsigma.com Page 36 Syscon International www.syscon-intl.com Page 40

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Plastics Business - Winter 2018  

Plastics Business - Winter 2018