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Plastics Business

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Contents summer 2012

profile

8

marketing

26

strategies

40

features profile HK Plastics Engineering Designs its Own Competitive Advantage........8 focus Product Development Pitfalls .............................................................. 14

departments director’s letter ..................6

marketing Video Marketing for Manufacturers .................................................... 26

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

solutions Process Enhancement Software Speeds Information-Gathering .......... 30

product ............................22

spotlight Disaster Recovery Plan, Business Interruption Insurance Avert Catastrophe for MAPP Member ................................................. 38

advertisers .......................46

strategies Lights Out at Makuta Technics: Automation, Attitude Make High-Volume Unmanned Production Possible ..................................... 40 production The View from 30 Feet: Matrix Tooling, Inc. Works to Educate the Next Generation ............................................................................ 42 industry Information Technology Benchmarks for Plastics Manufacturing Companies.......................................................................................... 44

4 | plastics business • summer 2012

MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference ...................... 20

plasticsbusinessmag.com


director’s letter The Olympics and Plastics Manufacturing … 1% May Be All It Takes! Recently, I watched television footage of the US Olympic Team Swimming Trials as the athletes competed for a spot in this year’s Olympic Games. I was interested in how eight-time gold medal winner Michael Phelps would compete four years after his phenomenal performance in Sidney. As I sat back, I could not help but reflect on a recent book I’ve read, entitled The 1% Solution for Work and Life by Tom Connellan – a book that literally has changed my life! Tom begins his book by using facts from events in previous Olympic games to hook readers into his message, so I will attempt to do the same. Using Tom’s concept, I want to break down the results of the Men’s 200 Meter Free Style Finals with data from the USAswimming.org website. First Place Second Place Third Place

Michael Phelps Ryan Lochte Ricky Berens

Time: Time: Time:

1:45:70 (105.70 seconds) 1:45:75 (105.75 seconds) 1:46:56 (106.56 seconds)

Separating first place from second place is five hundredths of a second, or .0473 percent. Separating first place from third is .86 seconds, or .8136 percent. Note: not even 1% separates the top three American swimmers, and this margin will become even slimmer in the finals of the Olympic Games! Based on this analysis, what does it mean to become 1% better? I will go out on a limb and say that the difference in the Olympics will be the difference between becoming a world champion and not even getting on the podium. Now, apply the above concept to the manufacturing environment. Isn’t it easier to ask an employee to become just a little better in something they do instead of a whole lot better? For instance, setting a goal for your purchasing director to eradicate waste in the purchasing stream by .5% (1/2 of a percentage point) may seem infinitesimal. However, in a $15M business with $6.75M in raw material purchases, this simple goal could equate to a bottom line improvement of $33,750. If everyone in the company had a similar goal – if everyone was asked to get ½ of a percentage point better – what could that mean to your business and its bottom line? I feel this concept is very applicable to business. First, company leaders and managers must know their “times” (metrics) and how those “times” stack up to the competition. Second, understanding the gap is not sufficient if one does not know how to close the gap to become better. Third, understanding the gap and understanding how to close the gap still is not sufficient if you don’t have a culture with the ability to execute. Just as Olympians have training camps, so too do manufacturing executives. Each year, plastics executives have a wonderful opportunity to better understand their position in the marketplace, to better understand the strategies and tactics necessary to close the performance gaps and to find ways to improve their culture and leadership to build more profitable, more sustainable companies. The camp is called MAPP’s Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference, which will be held this year in downtown Indianapolis, IN on October 11th and 12th. Manufacturing executives from all across our great country will assemble to learn, understand, network and become motivated to improve themselves and the companies they represent. I encourage you to take the time out of your schedule to meet Tom, our benchmarking conference keynote speaker. Get the edge – learn how to become 1% better!

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 Kelly Goodsel, Viking Plastics Tom Boyd, Blow Molded Specialties Dan Cunningham, Parish Manufacturing Tom Duffey, Plastics Components, Inc. Lindsey Hahn, Metro Plastics Technologies Matt Hlavin, Thogus Products Companies Laurie Harbour, Harbour Results, Inc. Ben Harp, Polymer Conversions, Inc. Bob Holbrook, Viking Plastics Tom Houdeshell, Atek Plastics Stu Kaplan, Makuta Technics John Passanisi, PRD, Inc. Jeff Randa, PolyOne Distribution Alan Rothenbuecher, ICE Miller LLP Scott Titzer, Infinity CleanRoom Solutions Mike Walter, MET Plastics, Inc. Rick Walters, DeKalb Molded Plastics Roger Williams, Royer Corp. Wendy Wloszek, Industrial Mold & Machine

Plastics Business

Strategies for Today’s Plastics Processors

Published by:

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

Advertising/Sales Janet Dunnichay

Managing Editor Dianna Brodine

Contributing Editor Jen Clark Gayla Peterson

Art Director Eric Carter

Very Sincerely, Troy Nix

6 | plastics business • summer 2012

Additional Graphic Design Becky Arensdorf

Circulation Manager Brenda Schell


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profile

HK Plastics Engineering Designs its Own Competitive Advantage

by Dianna Brodine

W

of 25, Horst took his skills to Canada where he became Husky Injection Molding System’s first injection moldmaker. Two years later, he achieved another goal when he moved to Los Angeles and became a US citizen.

Family Provides Solid Base for Success Born in Germany in 1930, Horst Krippner had a childhood fascination with metalwork. After finishing his eighth grade year, Horst began working as an apprentice in a machine shop, and that fascination bloomed into a passion for making molds for the plastics industry. Later, he earned Germany’s famed “Industriemeisterbrief,” a certificate demonstrating his expertise in the art of plastic injection moldmaking. At the age

After 15 years as vice president of manufacturing for Schneider Engineering and Tool Corporation (Setco), Horst started HK Plastics Engineering, Inc. in 1974. He had $2,000 in savings, and he obtained the machines for his new business by trading mold work with companies willing to part with equipment. His determination was aided in 1982 by the addition of son Peter Krippner, currently CFO of HK Plastics, to the team of 15 employees. In 1990, sons Gerry and Ron also joined the business. Gerry Krippner had obtained a degree in mechanical engineering, and Ron’s degree was in marketing. The varied career interests of Horst’s three sons merged into the perfect

hat began as the passion of a German immigrant became a rapidly growing enterprise with the addition of three sons driven to succeed in their own right. HK Plastics Engineering, Oceanside, CA, is now a top medical molding facility, a creator of its own enterprise resource system and a patent-holder for a highly efficient cleanroom molding system.

8 | plastics business • summer 2012


storm of education and experience needed to take HK Plastics to another level. Up to this point, the company had been successful in both moldmaking and precision-turned products. With three brothers looking to forge the business into a company that could sustain all of their families, an initial investment in injection molding equipment was made. “Initially, we purchased our first injection molding machine to test our molds and provide first-article parts for the tools we were building,” explained Ron Krippner, vice president for HK Plastics. “Our customers then asked how much it would cost to provide production parts, and it grew into this vertically integrated offering.”

Ron Krippner (left), Horst Krippner, Gerry Krippner and Peter Krippner (not pictured) are the pillars of family business HK Plastics Engineering, Inc.

Gerry, current president of HK Plastics, added, “There were three of us now coming back to work at the company, and we brought a new vision. We added computer CAD, CNC machining and a different way of doing quality control. Molding was a natural outcropping of the drive we had to expand HK’s impact.” Today, the company has 140 employees, and 31 TOYO injection molding machines ranging from 35-500 tons populate the molding floor. Eighty percent of its business is in medical molding, and recent months have posted record shipments ranging from 15-20 million parts per month. These parts include syringes, biopsy devices, nebulizer parts, orthopedic bracing devices, diagnostic housings and medical packaging for the dental market. HK Plastics also produces products for industries as varied as aerospace, consumer packaging, electronics and sporting goods.

Medical molding comprises 80 percent of the company’s production, with shipments ranging from 15-20 million parts per month.

“Looking back, we were such a small little company that I can’t believe the three of us came back to work here,” said Gerry. “The company had 15 employees and a million dollars in sales. If we hadn’t grown, it would have been very difficult to have three partners involved in the company.” While Horst is retired, he still comes in every day and often heads home at noon, carrying inserts or metal pieces. “He’s a toolmaker at heart,” Gerry explained, “so his favorite thing to do is take a job that we said would take a couple of days, tinker with it at the shop at his home and then have it back to us in the morning with a smile on his face.”

Building from the Ground Up In 2007, HK Plastics Engineering, Inc. doubled its space by designing and building a 55,000-sq.-ft. facility from the ground up. “We were in two buildings, and there came a time where it became obvious that we needed to think bigger” said Gerry. “We designed a facility around a molding plant.” page 10 u

The company has made significant investments in video measuring systems for increased accuracy and efficiency.

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 9


profile t page 9 “We were able to incorporate many features in the construction of the building with custom molding in mind,” explained Ron. “Water, air, electricity and raw materials are fed to the machines under the floor. This eliminates piping and hoses running all around your production area.” With a concentration in medical molding, the visually clean look was important when impressing customers with concerns about particulate contamination.

The 55,000-sq.-ft. facility was built in 2007 with the requirements of plastics molding in mind.

The building also accommodates an overhead crane, which adds additional efficiencies and reduces the machinery needed to switch molds from the larger machines. For even more visual impact and increased natural lighting, the manufacturing area contains 38 skylights.

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The unique look and feel doesn’t stop on the manufacturing floor. “When you walk into the building, there’s a glass storefront between the quality assurance area and the lobby,” Ron described. “And when you walk out through the lobby into the office area, the floor is raw concrete with a clearcoat sealing. We wanted our manufacturing floor to be nicer than our office floor.”

“All of these things show a little bit of our style and our personality, but also our seriousness in building a different type of place,” said Gerry. “We wanted to stand out in terms of the look and the feel of our business, and you can’t do that unless you’re building your own facility. Many people walk through our shop and say ‘this is the nicest operation I have ever seen.’ We love hearing that, and we work hard to avoid complacency.”

HepaCell Brings New Standards in Quality HK Plastics has made significant investments in multiple video measurement systems, allowing the molder to measure multiple dimensions in split-second time. “The accuracy, consistency and efficiency of those machines are game-changing,” said Ron. “Prior to the automation, our quality control was manually administered with traditional measurement methods. It was very intensive, especially for high-volume runs. Now we have fixtures with 16 cavities in the nest, and three minutes later we have all the critical dimensions we need.” However, the real game-changer is the HepaCell, invented and patented by HK Plastics. “We’ve always done a bit of medical molding,” Ron said, “but before the HepaCell, medical device revenue was 15-20 percent. The development of the HepaCell catapulted us into major growth in that arena.” When HK Plastics sought to add cleanroom manufacturing services, the company’s analysis of the status quo led it to create an entirely new type of process for clean molding. Most custom molders build dedicated cleanrooms to target medical molding customers. HK Plastics evaluated the alternatives and developed a solution in-house which is less costly, more flexible and significantly more effective than traditional fixed cleanrooms.

10 | plastics business • summer 2012


“When we were looking at adding a clean room, we thought about how the entire volume of air inside that room has to be cleaned,” explained Gerry. “You might have eight or ten Hepa filters covering a 10,000-sq-ft room. You end up cleaning air that never sees the plastic part, not to mention the gowning and the maintenance in changing filters. We felt we could develop a better system.” The result was the HK HepaCell, a patented process that allows HK Plastics to mold products in a Class 100 (per Federal Standard 209E) or ISO Class 5 (per ISO 14644-1) environment. Producing 99 percent cleaner air than a typical molding cleanroom, the HepaCell is portable and can be run on any machine. “We developed a system that produced clean air, so that

The HK HepaCell is a patented process that allows HK Plastics to mold products in a Class 100 environment. page 12 u

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 11


profile t page 11 only clean air would touch the molded part,” said Gerry. “Imagine the volume of air that is around a plastic part from the time a mold opens up through when the part falls down into a chute. Now we have one Hepa filter cleaning that small volume of air, rather than multiple Hepa filters cleaning hundreds or thousands of cubic feet of air in a room.” The results are impressive. “When we started, we had to have a customer willing to take a chance on the process. That customer has obtained particulate bio-burden studies from batches we’ve sent them over the past seven years, and we have never failed particulate level standards,” said Gerry.

HK Management System Offers Superior Costing The company’s innovations don’t stop with facility design or cleanroom technologies. HK Plastics also has developed its own ERP system. Gerry created a database system, the HK Management System, that facilitates the entire operation. “The beauty of this custom-built software is that we can cater to our customer’s requests for report generation, incorporate ISO Plastics Ad 3_2011:Layout 1 3/28/11 3:01 PM Page 1 requirements, add record keeping and customize our data at

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12 | plastics business • summer 2012

a level that is unavailable with commercial software on the market today,” Ron explained. The system began as a database to keep track of part numbers and revision levels,” said Gerry, who created the system. “Once that data was in a database, we started determining other ways to use the information – quality control, pricing and quoting.” The last item to be added to the system was customer order control. Once it started managing HK Plastics’ customer orders and machine scheduling, it became the company’s ERP system. “The attraction for us was that anytime we wanted to do something, we could do it ourselves,” Gerry said. “My favorite thing is when someone comes in from the shop and says, ‘My job would be easier if the system could do this.’ Sometimes these are five minutes changes, and sometimes they take longer, but now we have a system that was developed by us to mimic the way we do things, rather than changing our methods to work with a third-party system.” HK Plastics believes one of the primary benefits resulting from its internally developed management system is a superior costing method. “We know what the gross margin is on every part we manufacture,” Ron explained, “so we can price using a target gross profit as opposed to using a machine rate calculation.” In addition, no licensing is necessary, so 45 computers in the shop can access the software with no software, renewal or upgrade fees. HK Plastics continually evaluates its ERP options, but so far has concluded that its proprietary software provides everything the company needs.

Vertical Integration and Automation Combine for Future The innovative, inspired and customer-focused attitude continues throughout all of the company’s offerings. HK Plastics has maintained its in-house tool room, and Ron noted that the molder’s clients like working with suppliers that are vertically integrated. “It offers more control over project deadlines and gives us the ability to accurately report on project progress while also monitoring tool construction quality.” Continuing from mold building to production, the HK Rapid Prototype System (HKRP) allows the company to produce thermoplastic injection molded “prototype-volume” parts in a 3"x5" insert set. Once the prototype phase of a project is completed, HK Plastics becomes a logical choice when production tooling is required.


In 2010, HK added its first TOYO ET-45 VR2 all-electric vertical injection molding machine, allowing the company to quote high-volume insert molding projects. HK Plastics also works closely with its sister company, HK Precision Turning and Machining, to procure custom parts for the insert molding process, allowing HK to be a singlesource supplier for its customers. In addition to molding, HK Plastics offers laser welding, sonic welding, gluing and pad printing.

“Now we have a system that was developed by us to mimic the way we do things, rather than changing our methods to work with a third-party system.”

The goal in all things is to create a process that serves the customer from start to finish with a high degree of technology- and knowledge-based advances. “We call it systems molding,” explained Gerry, “but it’s more about creating cells that use automation.” Ron added, “We’re an innovative shop, and we like to think outside the box in terms Screenshot of HK Management System Main Menu The HK Management System is custom-built software that allows the of a challenge. The more our company can do company to generate reports, incorporate ISO requirements, that, the more excited we are about the future.” n In-house tool-room M Holland 7.5x4.875 4C Ad 7-12 PB _Print ad 6/29/12 9:54 AM Page 1

add record keeping and customize data.

Many injection molding operations outsource their tooling projects. HK maintains a full service tool-room. Clients like working with suppliers that are vertically integrated. The advantages of operating a full-service tool-room are: - Control over project deadlines - Ability to accurately report on project progress - Monitor tool construction quality - Access to mold maker if mold modifications/repairs/improvements are needed in the future.

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This patented process allows HK to mold products in a Class 100 (per Federal Standard 209E), or ISO Class 5 (per ISO 14644-1) environment. Most molding clean-room facilities maintain a Class 100,000 system. The advantages of the HK HepaCell are: - 99% cleaner air than a typical molding clean-room. - System is portable and can be run on any machine. - Economic benefit to produce parts in this system (cleaner air, lower cost) - Patented

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www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 13


focus

Product Development Pitfalls by Tony Parker, Avance LLC

A

round our office, we have forbid ourselves from using the word “easy” when discussing client projects. Utter that word too often and Murphy’s Law will eventually let you know that nothing is ever as simple as it first looks. The majority of these complications stem from issues that occur when sharing data with clients or strategic partners throughout the development process. CAD drawings and 3D models, product definitions and specifications, test results, compliancy reports, photo renderings, technical illustrations and more all comprise my definition of “product data”. The intent of this article is to shed light on common issues that hinder the process, with the hope it draws attention to refining your own design data control process or sharing best practices within the MAPP community. Whether you are a full-service processor that offers turnkey product development resources or a provider that relies on strategic partners throughout the development cycle, many of the same challenges exist when managing product data. Minimizing the potential for errors will certainly benefit you and your client’s profitability and garner trust from your client that their intellectual property is in good hands.

Moving Upstream

First, we’ll take a look at issues confronting the “Upstream” travel of data in the development process. This collection of phases consists of getting the data out of the head of the inventor or concept originator(s), up to the point where production level tooling is fabricated.

Be explicit about items to which the client does NOT have entitlement. You may have developed trade-secret processes that efficiently manufacture a complex product. If the client chooses to move production elsewhere, those processes remain part of your intellectual property unless it was previously agreed upon otherwise. 14 | plastics business • summer 2012

1. Keeping It Confidential Prior to project kickoff, start by asking your client if they have a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement for you to review, and if agreeable, sign. While this is probably already common practice in your organization, new and eager clients often will fail to bring this up prior to discussing or sharing data for their new product, but it will ultimately serve you well should a litigious situation arise. Be diligent in reviews of NDAs brought forth by new clients, and include your legal representation as necessary. Not all NDAs are written the same. I was recently asked to sign an agreement that specified my company could not offer our services to any business that would compete in this new client’s market for a period of years. When asked if the new prospect would revise this clause in the NDA, they declined. It certainly is not uncommon for a plastics processor to service a variety of clients that compete in the same market space. Ensure your agreements are current and proper protocols are followed for each, especially when transferring data to strategic partners that serve you. 2. Who Owns What? Data ownership should be clearly understood from the beginning of a project. At most kick-off meetings, the client requests a quote from the plastics processor for tooling and parts. The client may or may not have the design completed in some format that will facilitate the tooling process, whether 2D or 3D in nature. If you offer services to complete the design for the client, whether through in-house or outside sources, be very explicit about the ownership of product data as part of your quoting process. Another example: a client awarded Molder “A” with a purchase order for tooling and parts, and design data provided by the client was not “mold-ready”. Molder “A” had an outside tooling source create the final design. After some time and scheduling considerations, the client selected to move production to Molder “B”. When revisions to the part design were requested, neither Molder “B” nor the client had a copy of the 3D CAD data from which to work. In good-faith, Molder “A” presented the tooling files when requested, and the client avoided much higher costs to complete the revisions. This situation could have been worse, as Molder “A” was under no obligation to archive or present the data. page 16 u


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focus t page 14 Also, be explicit about items to which the client does NOT have entitlement. You may have developed trade-secret processes that efficiently manufacture a complex product. If the client chooses to move production elsewhere, those processes remain part of your intellectual property unless it was previously agreed upon otherwise. 3. Know Your Role In many instances, the client has completed the early design phases of development of the new plastic part. Tooling and production quotes are based on a 3D CAD model provided by the client. This model has features accounting for manufacturing processes such as draft, shrink, sink, etc. When this is not the case, someone is tasked with the creation of a digital model of the part. All associated engineering tasks, prototyping, etc. that accompany the development cycle will need to be controlled. How a plastics processor chooses to manage data control is a key ingredient to the success of a program. Are your personnel and processes flexible enough to accommodate a variety of client cultures? Some clients can be very dictatorial by nature, controlling all aspects of the development process, and perhaps even imposing on your own. Others can be more passive, revealing just enough information to consume excessive time and resources to complete their programs. Vetting new clients early to learn their habits and expectations can be helpful in putting together the right program plan. At project kick-off, assignment of roles and responsibilities should be clear. 4. Specification Revelation Perhaps one of the more frustrating issues is managing a hidden or changing specification late in the development phase. Symptomatic of “project creep”, a client brings forth information or a revision request that alters the design of the part, perhaps after tooling has been fabricated.

along with certification or compliancy requirements, cover a broad range, but may not capture all. Be proactive in pursuing potential “hidden specifications” with your client.

Moving Downstream

One of the marvels of today’s sophisticated CAD software is the ability to repurpose a 3D CAD model for a variety of uses. Most retail consumers would probably be shocked by the number of product images used in marketing materials that may appear to be the physical product, but are actually photorealistic renderings from a 3D CAD model. Patent authors, technical writers and simulation analysts among others all rely on access to product data, and more specifically, the 3D model. This constitutes the “Downstream” distribution of product data. Once the product design is complete, a host of support activities clamor for access, leaving more opportunities for error. 1. Archival Responsibility After design data is created, it needs a place to be stored. Securely. Digital storage/archiving is a relatively low-cost means of providing a value-add to your clients, but there are risks and responsibilities involved. Be very clear with your client about what, if any, product data you will archive, in what format and for what length of time. There are a number of situations that can necessitate the recovery of archived data, whether for your own use or to the benefit of the client. Revising a product design and its accompanying production tool based on its original data is inherently less costly than recreating that data from scratch.

Texture selection appears to be one of those often overlooked examples. A part has been designed with shallow draft angles to accommodate fit into an assembly, and texture specifications at the time of kick-off were “To Be Determined”. Once tooling is complete and sample parts approved, the client wishes to select a texture requiring much greater draft. At that point, the client must weigh compromising texture selection or possible tooling re-work.

2. Revision Control and Data Storage Managing data and tracking revisions to that data can be a daunting task. Most mature companies already have systems in place to assign and track part numbers, revision levels and ECOs (Engineering Change Orders). Start-ups or small businesses may have developed their own systems that work efficiently for a time, but may soon find them outgrown. In this case, consider PDM (Product Data Management) software to help facilitate this task. Most of these packages behave like digital libraries, where documents can be checked in and out of storage. Changes to data can prompt an automatic revision assignment, and “rules” can be established for allowing specific types of access.

We try to cast a broad net to gather and lock down as many specifications as possible at the beginning of a design project. Mechanical, environmental and aesthetic considerations,

But even these systems require disciplined use to be effective. Approved design models shouldn’t languish as email attachments for long-term storage, nor reside somewhere in the

16 | plastics business • summer 2012


“My Documents” folder along with pictures from your last vacation. Regardless of process, avoid errors by keeping all client data centrally stored and consider an offsite backup solution for additional protection.

Tony Parker is a principal and design engineer with Avance, LLC, an Indianapolisbased product development consultancy. The past fifteen years of his career have focused on design process using 3D CAD and rapid prototyping technologies. He can be reached at tony@avancedesign.com.

3. Data Disseminator If your organization participates in the creation and/or storage of your client’s data, be aware of the time spent to manage and distribute that data. Be clear of expectations when working with clients about the time or resources you can allocate. Conversely, if you are not managing your client’s design data, be cautious of executing revisions that are not originated through a formal process. Consider this scenario: The client has a processor build a tool and run production of a part that was originated with the assistance of an outside design firm. The client accepts the lot, but inquires if the parts can be made more rigid during the next production run. To be helpful, the processor recommends changing material, adding ribs, etc, to improve the part. The client approves verbally, but does not engage in a formal change order process. The tooling and material are modified, so the next time parts are delivered, they are not to print. The design firm, the processor and the client ultimately spend time investigating and rectifying a situation that could have been avoided by following procedures. In summary, reviewing your current processes may reveal program risks and inefficiencies in the way you currently manage design data throughout the development and production cycle. When investigating process issues unexplained by the obvious, consider the data trail leading up to the event in question. Continuous improvement in these areas will give you a competitive advantage while impressing upon your clients that their product data will flow smoothly. n

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 17


association

OEMs Utilize MAPP’s Capabilities Search Engine to Find Suppliers MAPP Member professionals should take action immediately to ensure their companies manufacturing and value-added capabilities are listed and up-to-date on the MAPP website. As MAPP’s web presence continues to grow significantly, so too does the use of its capabilities search engine – the tool that end customers are using to find sources of plastics manufacturing supply to meet their needs. MAPP’s Processor Members can ensure they improve the possibility of being found by customers needing plastics manufacturing sources of supply by simply logging onto the website and clicking “Update Capabilities Directory” under the Members tab. The minute or two it takes to literally click boxes to update your profile could be all it takes to land a new customer!

MAPP Releases Information Technology Benchmarks Members of MAPP continually push the envelope in their quest to obtain the latest information to improve nearly every facet of

WE PROVIDE PRACTICAL ADVICE TO THE PLASTICS INDUSTRY. Your goals are our top priority, which is why we match attorneys with plastics industry experience to meet your greatest legal challenges. For more information, contact H. Alan Rothenbuecher at 216-394-5075 or har@icemiller.com. Chicago ∙ Cleveland ∙ Columbus DuPage County, Ill. ∙ Indianapolis ∙ Washington, D.C. www.icemiller.com

18 | plastics business • summer 2012

business operations. Of the most recent benchmarking reports, the MAPP organization just released its 2012 Information Technology Report, which was supported by nearly 70 manufacturing companies. Included in this report is a wealth of information and data relative to the way in which companies manage their information systems, including, but not limited to: the most used design platforms, annual IT budgets, favorite PC brands, IT manning tables and more. For a summary of the report, turn to page 44.

RJG is Key Sponsor at 2012 Benchmarking Conference As a key sponsor of the 2012 MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference, RJG will share with attendees the ways in which the company has completely redesigned its eDART software to be intuitive and touchscreen-friendly. After observing users interface with the original eDART System™, RJG’s development team identified new areas of opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of the system. As a result, RJG’s new eDART System provides users with an easier set-up routine and requires significantly less training to operate. The new Mold Sensor ID feature makes inmold sensor set-up easier and enables molding professionals to visually see and test inputs and outputs at configuration, which helps prevent problems in full production. Since speed is vital in manufacturing, these changes in conjunction with creating “intuitive” software have enhanced the system’s ability to impact production operations. In June 2012, RJG’s implementation team installed the first production release of V10 and witnessed a nearly 75-percent improvement in the time normally spent in product familiarization. Users found nearly seamless navigation with the eDART System due to the improved screen layout and integration of touchscreen technology. n

View the Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference information on pages 20 and 21.


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Benchmarking Benchmarking&&Best Best October October October 11-12, 11-12, 11-12, 2012 2012 2012

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Practices Practices PracticesConference Conference Conference Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN IN ININ

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Named Named Named Named one one one of one ofof seven seven seven of seven tough tough tough tough talking talking talking talking and and and truth and truth truth truth telling telling telling telling keynote keynote keynote keynote speakers, speakers, speakers, speakers, Tom Tom Tom Connellan Tom Connellan Connellan Connellan will will will present will present present present ac� ac� ac� onable ac� onable onable onable ideas ideas ideas ideas for for for a� a� for a� endees endees a� endees endees tototo incorporate incorporate incorporate to incorporate into into into daily into daily daily daily prac� prac� prac� prac� ces ces ces on ces on on the the on the plant the plant plant plant oor. oor. oor. Tom’s oor. Tom’s Tom’s Tom’s book, book, book, book, “The “The “The “The 1% 1% 1%1% Solu� Solu� Solu� Solu� on”, on”, on”, conveys on”, conveys conveys conveys that that that in that inin many many many in many cases cases cases cases the the the true the true true diff true diff diff erence erence diff erence erence between between between between being being being being good good good good oror or a atruly or atruly truly a truly great great great great company company company company can can can be can be be literally literally be literally literally just just just tenths just tenths tenths tenths ofofof a apercent aof percent percent a percent away away away away ininin focus focus focus in focus and and and eff and eff eff ort. ort. ort. effAs ort. As As proven proven As proven proven ininin previous previous previous in previous engagements, engagements, engagements, engagements, this this this presenta� this presenta� presenta� presenta� on on on will will on will apply will apply apply apply tototo every every every to every single single single single a� a� a� endee; endee; a� endee; endee; the the the key the key key tokey toto building building building to building sustainable sustainable sustainable sustainable pro pro pro ts pro tsts ininin an tsan an in upside upside an upside upside down down down down world world world world lies lies lies not lies not not innot inin trying trying trying in trying tototo bebe be to 100% 100% be 100% 100% be� be� be� er be� erer than than than er than your your your your compe� compe� compe� compe� �� on; �on; on; �iton; itlies itlies lies itinlies inin in simply simply simply simply being being being being a ali� ali� li� le aleli� le be� be� be� leer, be� er, er, maybe maybe er, maybe maybe byby by just just by just 1% just 1% 1% , in ,1% ,inin every ,every every in every strategy strategy strategy strategy and and and tac� and tac� tac� ctac� cused cused used c used ininin a acompany. ain company. company. a company. Most Most Most Most importantly, importantly, importantly, importantly, a� a� a� endees endees a� endees endees will will will quickly will quickly quickly quickly grasp grasp grasp grasp that that that the that the the Road the Road Road Road tototo Excellence Excellence Excellence to Excellence has has has no has no no bounds bounds no bounds bounds and and and no and no no limits limits no limits limits because because because because allall all ofof all of the the the ofpossibili� the possibili� possibili� possibili� eses es literally literally es literally literally reside reside reside reside ininin the the the incapacity the capacity capacity capacity ofofof individuals individuals individuals of individuals atatat allall all at levels levels all levels levels becoming becoming becoming becoming just just just ajust ali� ali� li� le aleli� le be� be� be� leer be� erer er atatat what what what at what they they they they do do do - even -do -even even - even ininin the the the inface the face face of face ofof greater greater greater of greater instability. instability. instability. instability.

Save Save Save Save $100 $100 $100 $100 and and and and register register register register before before before before August August August August 10, 10, 10, 10, 2012 2012 2012 2012 The power The power ofofof the ofMAPP the MAPP organiza� organiza� on isison at it’s isit’s athighest it’s highest when when members members are The The power power the the MAPP MAPP organiza� organiza� on on isatat it’s highest highest when when members members are areare helping helping members. members. During During last year’s last year’s conference, conference, MAPP MAPP launched launched the helping helping members. members. During During last last year’s year’s conference, conference, MAPP MAPP launched launched the thethe ini� a� ini� veve a� toto ve connect to connect staff level staff level professionals professionals ininin a anumber a number ofofof func� of func� onal areas onal areas ini� ini� a� a� ve to connect connect staff staff level level professionals professionals ain number number func� func� onal onal areas areas (i.e. HR, (i.e. Purchasing, HR, Purchasing, Engineering, Engineering, Opera� Opera� ons, and ons, more…) and more…) with with other other (i.e. (i.e. HR, HR, Purchasing, Purchasing, Engineering, Engineering, Opera� Opera� ons, ons, and and more…) more…) with with other other individuals individuals serving serving ininin the insame the same capacity. capacity. Over Over the last the year, last year, staff level staff level individuals individuals serving serving the the same same capacity. capacity. Over Over the the last last year, year, staff staff level level professionals professionals have have connected connected on a anumber on a number ofofof occasions, of occasions, helping helping solve solve professionals professionals have have connected connected on on anumber number occasions, occasions, helping helping solve solve problems problems and serve and serve asas a asupport as a support system. system. problems problems and and serve serve as asupport support system. system.

FuncƟ FuncƟ FuncƟ FuncƟ onal onal onal onal Area Area Area Area Roundtables Roundtables Roundtables Roundtables

ByBy having By having such such anan expansive an expansive and energized and energized group group ofofof professionals, of professionals, leaders leaders have have By having having such such an expansive expansive and and energized energized group group professionals, professionals, leaders leaders have have cant in cant helping in helping ed MAPP’s MAPP’s ed MAPP’s Func� Func� onal Area onal Area Group Group program program asas signi as signi iden� iden� iden� iden� ed ed MAPP’s Func� Func� onal onal Area Area Group Group program program as signi signi cant cant inin helping helping execu� execu� ves ves nd new new nd ways new ways tototo solve to solve problems problems and locate and locate new and new more and more effi cient effi cient execu� execu� ves ves nd nd new ways ways solve solve problems problems and and locate locate new new and and more more effi effi cient cient endees endees will have will have ways ways ofofof doing of doing business. business. During During the Roundtable the Roundtable Sessions, Sessions, a� a� ways ways doing doing business. business. During During the the Roundtable Roundtable Sessions, Sessions, a� a� endees endees will will have have opportuni� opportuni� eses toto es interact to interact and dialogue and dialogue about about key issues key issues they they are facing. are facing. With With opportuni� opportuni� es to interact interact and and dialogue dialogue about about key key issues issues they they are are facing. facing. With With the desire the desire tototo have to have the conference the conference serve serve asas anan as outstanding an outstanding team team building building the the desire desire have have the the conference conference serve serve as an outstanding outstanding team team building building onal area onal area roundtables roundtables will provide will provide your your team team opportunity, opportunity, these these func� func� opportunity, opportunity, these these func� func� onal onal area area roundtables roundtables will will provide provide your your team team members members with with anan enhanced an enhanced support support system system that will that posi� will posi� vely impact vely impact job members members with with an enhanced enhanced support support system system that that will will posi� posi� vely vely impact impact job jobjob performance. performance. performance. performance.

EXCELLENCE” EXCELLENCE” EXCELLENCE”


product

Incoe Introduces New Components for Direct-Flo® Gold Systems Two new components for the Direct-Flo® Gold hot runner systems from Incoe Corporation, Troy, MI, allow customers to yield higher productivity with improved part quality. The new Edge Gate nozzle design simplifies integration and maintenance and provides thermal control and sustainable part geometry in applications requiring a side entry gate location. Suitable applications include medical vials, syringes and pipettes. System features include split mold insert design, simplified assembly, variable nozzle lengths from 80mm to 120mm, profiled and integrated heater, quick disconnect wiring and thermal tip performance. The new Valve Gate Tip featuring the VIX End Cap is designed for enhanced and fast color change performance. Tip geometry has been optimized for improved flow of material required in color change applications. The new tip design is suitable for applications such as automotive interiors and is applicable for both pneumatic and hydraulic systems using a tapered valve pin. For more information, call 248.616.0220 or visit www.incoe.com.

Routsis Offers In-depth Online Series

Beaumont Introduces Two Developments

Routsis Training, Dracut, MA, has introduced an online series that

Beaumont Technologies, Inc., Erie, PA, recently unveiled two new

gives plastics professionals new power to solve processing problems –

developments – the Therma-flo™ Moldometer Injection Moldability

and prevent many others. The four-course Scientific Troubleshooting

Characterization service and 5Step Process ™ Diagnostic Software.

series offers comprehensive scientific molding training in an ongoing,

Therma-flo is a patent-pending methodology for accurately

online format. The series provides a complete understanding of the

characterizing plastic materials that provides a tool for designers,

scientific approach to processing. Traditional, DECOUPLED™,

molders and polymer developers to improve the process of selecting

scientific and intelligent and other molders will benefit from topics

or comparing a plastic material and evaluating its performance in

such as “The Importance of Proper Documentation,” “Isolating and

an injection mold. The 5Step software is a template-driven database

Identifying the Problem,” “Returning the Process to the Approved

designed to take the mystery out of diagnosing mold filling and

Standard” and “Correctly Documenting and Utilizing Process

part quality variations. Version 4.0 includes a new user and graphic

Outputs.” For more information, call 978.957.0700 or visit www.

interface, additional data fields and reference points and improved

traininteractive.com/ara.

document procedures. For more information, call 814.899.6390 or

22 | plastics business • summer 2012

visit www.beaumontinc.com.


Sequencer Gives Control Milacron Offers Smaller of More Valve Gates TP Series Parallel Twin Screw Extruder DME Company, Madison Heights, MI, has introduced the 16-Zone Hydraulic Valve Gate Sequencer to bring molders responsive control of more valve gates. The new sequencer helps meet increasing demand for precise, sophisticated molding. DME increased the maximum number of timerbased zones from four to 16, providing the same reliability and accuracy customers expect from valve gate hydraulic controls. The sequencer also offers reduced electrical use over the life of the unit and a PLC touchscreen makes it easier to use. For global customers, the controllers can operate from a wide supply of operating voltages for easier relocation between plants and countries. This plug can be removed and replaced with any number of 240 VAC plugs for instantaneous operation. For more information, call 248.398.6000 or visit www.dme.net.

With the addition of the TP75 to its TP Series Parallel Twin Screw Extruders, Milacron, Batavia, OH, now has five models meeting throughput needs of up to 5,000 pounds/ hour. The TP75 extrudes smaller products – 75mm screw diameter – while still offering minimal screw deflection to optimize the homogeneity of the melt and maximize the productivity of the extruder. It delivers high performance and high output with PVC, vinyl and other materials and features air- and oil-cooled barrels, with optional gearbox oil quality monitoring and a high wear package with tungsten screw and barrel. Other benefits include a strong and reliable gearbox, compatibility with heat- and shear-sensitive materials, efficient heat transfer, positive displacement pumping characteristics and optimal melt condition. For more information, visit www.milacron.com/plastics.

DENSO Robots Provide Precision, Compact Design DENSO Corporation, Kariya, Japan, has introduced ISO 5 cleanroom versions of its new VS-Series six-axis articulated robots for industries including appliance, automotive, biomedical, injection molding, medical device, pharmaceutical and plastics. The new VSSeries robots offer high-speed precision, with cycle times from 0.37-0.33 seconds and repeatability from ±0.03-±0.02mm. Reaches are from 500-900mm. The new robots have ultra slim arms that facilitate integration and can be mounted on the floor, ceiling or wall with no special hardware needed. Internal wiring allows for connection of Gigabit Ethernet devices and servo grippers directly to the robot flange, preventing tangled cables interfering with peripheral equipment. ANSO and CE safety compliance allow global deployment. For more information, visit www.densorobotics.com. n

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 23


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marketing

Video Marketing for Manufacturers by Todd Schuett, Creative Technology Corporation

V

Video can give your company a face and make it personal.

ideo can distinguish your company from the competition. In today’s global economy, video can help you tell your story, your way.

When my former company introduced high-speed CNC milling controls in 1993, we quickly learned that it was hard to sell “high speed” with pictures and brochures. Video provided a solution that allowed us to show the speed of the new milling controls, compare performance side-by-side and show rare or difficult setups on-demand. Video helped us differentiate ourselves. Video can help you stand out in a crowd. If personal service is your company’s trademark, introduce employees to your audience. If you have an innovative process, show it and help your audience understand that you offer exactly what they need. If you find that you always get the order once the prospect steps inside your facility, don’t wait – take the facility to them! Video can convey a message in a way that no other medium can communicate.

Video from Concept to Reality So, how do you charge up your marketing by taking video from concept to reality? A good video starts with a good plan. What do you want to tell people who might need your company’s product or service? Have you put together a plan of what you would tell each customer and prospect given the opportunity? Planning the “perfect” two or three minute sales presentation is the most important step to creating a good video.

Animations can show how a process works by slowing down or showing hidden aspects of a process.

Video can show chips flying and machine motion when explaining processes.

“Three minutes,” you ask? “That’s way too little time to tell all we need to share about our amazing company!” I’d quickly answer, “No, it isn’t.” Telling your story quickly and emphasizing the key points is the key to a good video. If your story becomes dull for even a second, viewers may wander. The idea is to make a video that is interesting and informative enough – and brief enough – that every viewer watches from start to finish, allowing you to tell the whole story. Creating a succinct message may seem like a big challenge, but it’s a marketing concept that is pivotal to your success. Marketing isn’t like a sales visit, where an audience might be captive to your message for 15 minutes or more. Marketing is an

26 | plastics business • summer 2012

page 28 u

Showing a customer service employee is an effective way to communicate the presence of knowledgeable and competent staff members.


Solutions that stick. Training that sticks. From the Leaders in Scientific Molding.

Mold Smart www.rjginc.com/training


marketing t page 26 opportunity to sell your company in an on-demand world. Your client or prospect reads or watches when he wants, and he can cut you off by turning the page or going to another video as soon as he loses interest. Understanding this and keeping your message interesting and to the point is fundamental to your success.

Crafting a Message So, what do you want to tell the prospective customer? Start with one of your customers! Find out what they like about your company, and why they choose to work with you. In fact, don’t ask just one – different clients may deal with you for a variety of reasons. Try to learn all you can to refine your message. Learning more about your company from your customers can be a revelation, too. You may be surprised to know that one client doesn’t know about some of the offerings that others take for granted. This makes another important point: make the message universally appealing to everyone. Your best and most important prospects may already be your best customers. This doesn’t mean you should stop marketing to them; but rather, if they’re already dealing with you, it’s important to continually reinforce that business and try to build from it.

Prioritize what’s important to your company. The whole story doesn’t need to be told. Instead, tell enough to make the prospect open the door for a salesperson. Ideally, the video marketing won’t be directed simply at new prospects, but should encompass existing ones, too. In fact, go beyond that and assert that everyone should watch your video. You want the video to be informative and interesting enough to anyone even casually associated with or potentially associated with your company so that they will watch it and learn more. Remember that video is a multi-media experience. That means that there is more than one channel of communication with the viewer. The moving picture isn’t the only opportunity you have to communicate. Sound can be used. Images can be combined. The video can skip past boring parts of a process to show the beginning and end. Media can be combined, and voiceovers can be used while other processes are visually promoted onscreen. A mood can be created with background music.

28 | plastics business • summer 2012

Combining media opportunities is part of the craft and helps convey more information in less time. Now, it’s time to shape the message. Consider the following suggestions for potential content: • • • • • • •

Capabilities Facilities tour Introduce key people Success stories Legacy, history of company Industry participation Details of a unique process

Prioritize what’s important to your company. The whole story doesn’t need to be told. Instead, tell enough to make the prospect open the door for a salesperson. Don’t lose sight of the limitation that a video will be consistent, for better or for worse. Your video can’t tell a different story for each prospect; yet at some point, they need information on how you can specifically help them. That’s where the salesperson comes in. If your marketing video does its job right, the door is opened for the salesperson, and the road to success is smoother.

Telling the Story Once the topics are prioritized, it’s time to figure out the most effective way to tell the story. Do you want to go onscreen and tell the story yourself? Is there anyone else you want to feature onscreen? Do you want to tell your story with your own voice, or do you want a professional narrator? Professional narration can be a great option. Words can have more meaning when spoken with strong inflections. Professional voice talent understands how to enunciate for maximum impact. On the other hand, professional voiceover may sacrifice an opportunity to personalize your company. Narration by you or key staff can introduce your company in a way that makes you real, helping prospects see you as a company of people, not just a company. Each option has its advantages, so choose what will work best for you. Next, decide what to show your audience. That may not be the same as determining the message. Much like the evening news starts with an anchor telling a story with words, the message is stronger when imagery is shown to support the story, even while the anchor is speaking. Imagine a video talking about your company’s stunning customer service. Rather than focusing on the person speaking, the video would be more interesting if it quickly showed five-second clips of an employee on phone support, a worker in the factory or warehouse repairing product, another staff member pulling a customer order and shipping the product, or perhaps even the truck leaving the


building with finished product. A glimpse of a next-day air sticker can allow the viewer to infer fast service without ever hearing those words in the script. With multimedia, a lot of information can be conveyed in very little time. If your company’s product is custom and technical, you may want to assert technical capability and superiority in the video. Show product in development, from design and engineering through manufacturing, showing machines and machining processes, precision inspection, quality reports and more. Showing the end-product can help viewers relate to what your company does and understand how your company impacts their life. Plastic injection moldmaking provides a great example. Your company creates the mold, but a plastic part is the end-product. Showing the mold is interesting for an engineer or a moldmaker, but also showing the final part can help your company connect with more people involved in the business transaction – the secretary, purchasing agent, buyer or bookkeeper, for example. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your business relies on many people with different responsibilities. Your video should target all departments within your prospects’ facilities.

For sample videos, snap the QR code via smartphone, or visit http://creat.com/videos/educational/video-marketing Marketing is about differentiating yourself. Video can do that, and a professional can help. n Todd Schuett has worked with machinery and tooling since 1974, first in the shop and then selling the equipment. His background includes sales and marketing, applications engineering, teaching CNC programming and tooling techniques, and developing and selling computer applications and networking for manufacturing. Today, as the president of Creative Technology Corporation, Schuett is an enthusiastic advocate for American manufacturing, focusing entirely on marketing for manufacturers through photography, video, web site development and writing. For more information, visit www.creat.com.

Not all videos are created equally. Years ago, I’d tell people that the best feature of our CNC control was that it was a PC, making it simple to understand. I’d then quickly assert that its worst feature also was that it was a PC, so everyone thought they were an expert, potentially creating problems in the control. So it goes with video. Today, a good camcorder can be purchased for $1,000 or less, and anyone can shoot a video with a cell phone, as we see every day on YouTube. Will a quick home video serve your company well for marketing? Probably not. Maybe you know a college student who has made a video or two. Will that do the job? Only you can decide. Much like you’re a professional at what you do, professional video producers are good at what they do. The experienced ones have seen the best and the worst of what can be done, and more experience helps them tell your message more effectively. Professionals use camera equipment that costs tens of thousands of dollars for a reason. Often the lighting equipment is even more expensive. Quality audio capture is specialized, too, requiring still more equipment. Like anything today, the gap is narrowing between professional and amateur, but there still is a big difference. You might think that only you can tell your story, because you’re the only one who knows it. Wrong! Outside input can be very helpful to cull the important content from the useless or negative content. A professional with industry experience can help differentiate your company from the competition.

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solutions

Process Enhancement Software Speeds Information-Gathering by Amy Bauer

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oday’s process enhancement software offerings allow plastics manufacturers a wide array of capabilities and oversight possibilities with the click of a mouse or, in some cases, the flick of a finger across a tablet or smartphone. Three suppliers shared their perspectives on the capabilities and benefits of software systems for production monitoring, quality control and planning purposes, as well as what is new in the marketplace.

Husky Injection Molding Systems The Husky Shotscope NX process and productivity monitoring system offers “at a glance” information in a real-time, web-based format to help control processes and improve productivity, while minimizing scrap and downtime. Shotscope NX is compatible with both Husky and other brands of injection molding and plastics manufacturing equipment, said Curt Norby, product manager, software solutions, for Husky Injection Molding Systems.

“We have installed the software in manufacturing processes that range from high-tolerance medical components to PET (polyethylene teraphthalate) preforms,” he said. “The software benefits any operation where the company is interested in improving part quality and becoming more efficient in its manufacturing process.” In today’s manufacturing environment, where time is limited, process control software expedites data collection and allows for quicker reaction times if things are going off course, Norby said. “Process monitoring/enhancement software highlights process problems that often can go unnoticed. With this information at hand, the software then helps technicians and engineers troubleshoot process problems faster, thus contributing to better overall equipment effectiveness (OEE),” Norby explained. “Improving OEE results in less machine downtime, better part quality and more consistent cycle times, thus improving the bottom line.” Norby noted that in addition to the real-time information, Shotscope NX also collects and can recall a wealth of historical information. In a demonstration video created at the 2009 NPE: The International Plastics Showcase, Norby explained: “One of the claims to fame of Shotscope NX is that we capture the process data from any machine, every cycle, and we keep it forever. So in terms of traceability, this gives us the ultimate capability in that aspect. We can go back and look at data that may have happened five minutes ago, but we also can look at data that occurred 10 years ago.”

Husky’s Shotscope NX offers information in a real-time, web-based format to improve productivity.

30 | plastics business • summer 2012

This data-collection capability has been important particularly to medical customers for meeting the requirements of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for quality and data management, Norby said. Shotscope NX stores and recalls the process variables for every shot during an operation. Husky reported in April 2012 that Shotscope NX experienced a 60 percent increase in the number of customer installations in


2011, with beverage packaging and medical customers making up a large part of that increase. Shotscope NX runs on Microsoft Windows operating systems and uses Microsoft SQL server database for data storage. The system is web-based so users can remotely log-in to monitor multiple plants from a single location. The system also can exchange information with other plant management systems – Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – and its report information is customizable. Its statistical process control (SPC) capabilities involve recalling and plotting shot variables in a variety of formats for analysis. The system also allows for job and maintenance scheduling. Color-coded Gantt charts allow users to quickly see the status of each job. The system can store run templates – including tools, machines and materials – so that they can be pulled up for future runs. The system also uses historical efficiency information to suggest the best machine to run a selected job, and it can alert employees to upcoming maintenance needs. The newest module, introduced in North America at NPE 2012 in April, is the Shotscope NX Energy module. The module allows companies to individually monitor all sources of energy consumption, from individual chillers and other auxiliary equipment to complete injection molding cells. The module measures the amount of energy used to process a kilogram of plastic (kilowatt hour per kilogram). For injection molding machines, the software will relate the measurement with the material throughput on the molding machine for Specific Energy Consumption (SEC) monitoring. Another new feature of Shotscope NX is the Husky machine controller view. “This module allows a user to view Husky controller screens within the Shotscope NX software,” Norby said. “This provides a complete integration of data between machine settings and actual process information collected.”

IQMS Daniele Fresca, director of marketing for IQMS, said it is a common misconception that companies must be large in size or operating within a certain industry to benefit from process control software. “We would argue that essentially any manufacturer that puts a premium on real-time visibility to quality data, traceability and the consistent production of favorable product, all the way down to the process level, can benefit,” Fresca said. page 32 u

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solutions t page 31 Two of the biggest benefits to such software are identifying and correcting trends as they occur to eliminate bad production in real time while a job is being run and collecting scientific data to support the fact that parts are being made to client specifications and design, Fresca said. Further, notifications and alarms that signal the process trend prior to them going out-ofspec give time to react without bad product being produced.

minimally – the manufacturer can better understand when a part is trending out of control.”

The IQMS RealTime Process Monitoring software is part of the company’s EnterpriseIQ ERP/MES software package, which includes manufacturing and inventory control, sales and distribution, and financial management. “All the modules communicate with complete traceability in real time, without batch transfers,” Fresca said. “This is critical in manufacturing “Process monitoring can be IQMS’s Real Time Process Monitoring software allows to eliminate silos of information predictive of success. Parts that are manufactured with information to flow through the entire manufacturing company. and to minimize the time and effort necessary to correlate the consistent processes tend to have a consistent outcome,” she said. “Therefore, scientifically process data with lot and serial numbers in inventory.” plotting this information creates a trend. When the trend skews from standard – in some cases considerably, in other cases “With the single database design, scheduling can see the information, quality is alerted – perhaps even customer service or other key people. The information flows through the entire software and the manufacturing company,” Fresca said. The EnterpriseIQ system has a database powered by Oracle. It can be accessed from networked computers or handheld/ personal-data devices. Mobile applications, for which Fresca said demand is growing, are among IQMS’s newer offerings. “We live in a world where people need to be connected all the time and aren’t always in an office,” Fresca said. “From smaller, more mobile devices – like tablets or smartphones – to simple-to-use touchscreen units, the ability to provide software offerings in many different delivery options is important.” The EnterpriseIQ Android apps offer functions including manufacturing machine monitoring (part counts, cycle speeds and other machine processes), process monitoring charts and graphs, SPC inspections, reject management, production reporting, workflow, document control, labor tracking, barcode scanning/label printing and access to the warehouse management system (WMS). The EnterpriseIQ system itself includes a wide range of customization options, with more than two dozen modules available. All aspects of production can be tracked in real time, with access across multiple departments. For example,

32 | plastics business • summer 2012

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solutions t page 32 the modules perform such tasks as automatically generating work orders during the MRP process, tracking labor and part information, creating infinite capacity planning/dispatch lists, viewing material exceptions, rough cut capacity planning, entering SPC data, printing labels and more for each assembly process. The process monitoring portion gathers machine performance and process data in real time, instantly updating schedules and inventory; and the statistical process control (SPC) module gathers, tracks and measures variable and attribute statistics for a manufactured part and offers charting and analysis tools to measure quality and performance. Other capabilities include predefined multi-level bills of manufacture for use with tool- and diebased manufacturing. A drag-and-drop graphic scheduling tool allows users to view the entire production schedule and make adjustments or Sigmasoft allows users to analyze the production process from use auto load to automatically optimize the injection phase to finished part before the substrate hits the mold. schedule. The system has multi-tool and family tool functionality; it is designed to understand multiple part In the past, Heisser explained, simulation has been used in numbers within the same physical tool. And other modules the plastics industry primarily on the design side. Sigmasoft incorporate such aspects of operations as managing inventory takes advantage of advances in computing to bring accurate (including accounting for shelf life considerations), scheduling simulations to the plastics production side, he said. and tracking employee time and attendance, performing human resources functions, forecasting sales and budgeting, “One of the reasons we are in the market now, not maybe 20 years ago, is because the plastic material flow is very complicated expense tracking and processing credit card transactions. to describe mathematically,” Heisser said. Calculations that two decades ago would have taken computers two weeks can Sigmasoft While process monitoring software tracks plastics molding be performed by today’s high-powered and more affordable operations as they take place, the Sigmasoft process machines in an hour, he described. enhancement software takes a different angle on the molding process, looking at the parameters and how the materials will Metalcasting production simulation has been standard practice respond before the substrate hits the mold. Christof Heisser, in such areas as the auto industry, Heisser said, noting the president of SIGMA Plastic Services and MAGMA Foundry cost-savings of virtual trial runs versus physical test runs of Technologies, said Sigmasoft is built on decades of success parts. Cost-effective solutions can be sought without investing in metalcasting simulation and offers a customizable, three- material costs. “It literally takes the whole trial-and-error dimensional, digital animation of the injection molding process process from new parts and moves it into the virtual world,” he said. for thermoplastics, elastomers and thermosets. “We are the only tool that allows you to put every component of the mold into the simulation,” he said, “literally every nut, every bolt, every detail.” Users then can analyze the production process from injection phase to finished part, taking a virtual look at the mold at any point in time. Sigmasoft also takes into account multiple cycles, such as those needed to heat up a mold, and the cooling process, Heisser said, “and through that we are much more accurate.”

34 | plastics business • summer 2012

In addition to serving as a testing tool, Sigmasoft can improve communications within a plant. “It’s an excellent communication and training tool internally,” Heisser stated, as production and engineering departments can view simulations alongside machine operators to show how changes in parameters can affect processes and to discuss potential problems. Similarly, such simulations can illustrate to customers how certain changes could make a part more easily molded. page 36 u


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solutions t page 34 The simulation specifications all are recorded within the software, leaving a record that can be used when certifying parts or processes. Heisser said large medical companies have told him that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) was asking them to include simulation data in their documentation. Such documentation also is valuable when employees leave a company, so that knowledge is transferred to new operators and a company’s intellectual property is protected, he said.

Sigmasoft – primarily medium- or larger-sized companies – have a person or department dedicated to simulations, or both simulations and computer-aided design (CAD).

Investing in Process Enhancement Software The three companies offered tips for making the decision to invest in process enhancement software: • Look for a company that will support the product through its entire lifetime and provide a path to upgrade when the next generation product becomes available. • Judge the package not only based on the software itself but on the reputation of the company, all of the experts agreed. Be sure there are good avenues for technical assistance from the vendor. • Understand that the return on investment (ROI) from a system, if implemented and utilized accurately, comes from better and more streamlined production processes. n

“That is the beauty of simulation,” Heisser said. “It’s not just a toy for the engineers and the engineering department. It can become an essential business tool, a tool that changes how you operate.” Sigmasoft runs on Windows-based operating systems, and Heisser said it can range from a basic system and single rental license up to systems for dozens of users and as a perpetual license. Heisser said that most companies currently using

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spotlight

Disaster Recovery Plan, Business Interruption Insurance Avert Catastrophe for MAPP Member On a Thursday morning in March, the maintenance staff at Viking Plastics, Corry, PA, was performing the daily exterior walk-around. An oil leak was discovered on the concrete near an electric transformer and, upon opening up the transformer, the maintenance staff found a steady stream of oil coming from one of the connections. With the transformer only hours away from exploding, Viking quickly went into shut-down mode. The injection molding machines were purged, and all employees were evacuated from the plant. Activating the disaster recovery plan, Viking’s IT staff worked through Thursday night to remove the server from the plant and reconnect all of the systems at the corporate office location (less than one mile from its plant). While ensuring all customer communications were uninterrupted, Viking personnel also were working to return the plant to working order as quickly as possible. The local power supplier was FR-NPE-PlasticsAd-3-75x4-875-PostShow-outlines.pdf 1 4/5/12 called to assess the damage and estimate repair costs, and a

company from Rochester, NY was brought in to further assess the possibility of repairing the transformer. At the same time, Viking employees were working on a back-up plan, locating a company that rents and sells transformers and ordering the transformer to be loaded onto a truck on Thursday afternoon. When the Rochester, NY firm decided that a replacement was necessary on Friday morning, a transformer was already on 4:04 PM the way. The replacement transformer arrived approximately 24 hours after the leak was discovered and was installed by Saturday afternoon. In all, Viking’s facility was without power from 10 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday at 4 p.m. – approximately 55 hours. The costs to assess the feasibility of repairing the transformer, replace the transformer when it was determined that it could not be repaired and reconnect power to the plant was well over $100,000. That figure did not include personnel costs for Viking employees, many of whom worked throughout the disaster. “This is not an insurance commercial,” said President and Owner Kelly Goodsel. “However, I am now a very strong proponent of business interruption insurance for all privately owned MAPP member companies.” “Because we had business interruption insurance, our total exposure was $10,000, which represents Viking’s policy deductible,” explained Goodsel. “The policy covered all of the out-of-pocket costs and much of our internal expenses for overtime, lost production and lost shipments.” Goodsel said, “Thanks to a combination of an effective disaster recovery plan and business interruption insurance, what could have been a huge financial loss and embarrassing customer discussion turned out to have a minor impact to our customers and a very manageable financial result.” n

38 | plastics business • summer 2012


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strategies

Lights Out at Makuta Technics: Automation, Attitude Make HighVolume Unmanned Production Possible by Dianna Brodine

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unning a plastics processing facility “lights out”, or without personnel on the manufacturing floor, requires all the elements – people, technology and product – to be perfectly in sync. Makuta Technics, Shelbyville, IN, has successfully maintained that balance since 1996, molding millions of parts each month with a staff of 10 and only one manned shift. Stu Kaplan, president of Makuta Technics, answered questions about what is required to effectively implement a lights-out strategy.

Describe “lights out” at Makuta Technics.

Makuta Technics produces millions of micromolded parts each month for the medical, electronics and automotive industries. Running 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, the facility performs at 90-percent uptime even though no staff is on-site for the traditional second or third shifts. On weekends, an employee is assigned to check material supplies, part quality and production rates, but those duties take very little time. The manned shift starts each morning at 7 a.m., Monday through Friday, with a meeting to review production numbers, equipment issues or quality concerns from the prior day. By 3:30 p.m., mold changeovers have been accomplished, alarms have been set and the machines are prepared to run without staff oversight.

40 | plastics business • spring 2012

What processes/controls allow Makuta to run lights out?

Because of the precision molding requirements, need for process repeatability and mandated tight tolerances of molded parts (to +/– 5 microns), the facility plays a large part in maintaining quality control. Built in 2006, the Shelbyville facility was designed by Makuta employees to meet the unique requirements of the operation, which included an open molding floor that allows equipment to be moved as needed, portable cleanroom space and an abundance of natural light. The building’s temperature is controlled to avoid variables in part processing, set to 72 degrees at all times. Dual-line electrical feeds were added to avoid power interruptions, and the small amount of resin required for the micromolded parts reduces large batch ordering, which circumvents potential inconsistencies in resin batches. Custom-built systems utilize robotics to separate production runs while the facility is running without personnel support, and parts which do not meet quality standards also are captured. “Our high efficiency can be attributed to our customdesigned automation processes,” Kaplan said. “Every machine accommodates automated material handling systems, quick mold change systems, automated sprue/part removal robots and packaging systems designed by Makuta employees.”


How is lights out production set up for success?

“Our success relies on consistency throughout the entire system,” explained Kaplan, “and that begins with part design and molds.” From concept through to production, Makuta prefers to be involved from the beginning, working with the customer to be sure the part design is optimized for the production scenarios. Once tooling work begins, Makuta calls in sister company Sansyu, located in Japan. Sansyu and Makuta have the same injection molding machines in their shops, which means that samples created by Sansyu have been tested in the same conditions in which production will occur. First samples and quality information are provided to Makuta, and those samples are submitted to the clients. Once modifications are made, the molds are shipped – via Fed Ex or UPS, thanks to the small size of the tooling. “Developing systems so the machine can run without anyone near is key,” Kaplan said. “From the beginning, it’s important to discuss automation possibilities.” Automation leads to repeatability, and once a part has run for a period of time, Makuta’s engineers often find a way to simplify the process or reduce the number of touches required.

Describe Makuta’s quality control procedures.

With parts destined for use in medical applications, quality is absolutely critical. However, despite the strict requirements, Makuta rarely performs visual inspections. Instead, it relies on data that has been collected throughout the process. “We won’t cut steel until each customer has signed off on the design of the mold,” explained Kaplan. “We know the critical dimensions that will be measured at that point.” Those critical dimensions are checked on a scheduled basis, but no employee has to stand at a machine to monitor production. Makuta strives through automation to protect its’ customers from ever receiving a bad part, and the system is working. Kaplan points to customers with whom the company has zero ppm. “We eliminate quality issues by understanding the machines’ capabilities and the ways the molds perform,” Kaplan said. Instead of relying on visual inspection to catch variances, Makuta prefers to ensure the mold and machine are processing correctly. “It sounds easier than it is,” laughed Kaplan, “but it

starts with bringing in a part that fits what we are already set up to do.”

How does the customer affect the success of the project?

Kaplan bears the responsibility for ensuring that new customers and projects fit the model that Makuta has perfected. “Does the customer fit with you? Does the part fit? Are these parts going to have the volume we need? Because of the level of automation that is required, there is a significant financial investment,” he said. “Bringing in the wrong customers has a negative impact in many ways.” Another potential stumbling point comes when discussing quality control requirements. If the part requires staff to review each part, it obviously is not a fit for Makuta’s lights out production standards. “If we have people who need to stand at a machine, then it interrupts everything we do,” explained Kaplan. “The customer has to come in with an understanding of what they have to do to fit into the model, and I have to do a good job of qualifying the customer and qualifying the part.”

What makes Makuta successful with lights out production?

Kaplan said the automation often receives the most attention, but the real success factor is attitude. “The attitude of the customers and the people that we have here is so very important,” he explained. Makuta’s pay-for-knowledge system plays a part in developing a workforce that, though small, has the ability to perform multiple functions within the facility. However, the employees have to initiate the training, asking to learn a new skill when they feel they are ready to perform the function to Makuta’s necessarily high standards. With so few employees on hand and such tight quality values to meet, Makuta’s employees are truly a pivotal part of the operation, and they are rewarded as such through a profit sharing arrangement. Kaplan exhibits an almost parental pride in his employees. “The toys are just toys. I don’t mean to demean the automation, but a machine and a robot do not automatically translate into a profitable lights out facility.” Kaplan expanded, “Anybody can buy toys, but having employees and customers who truly understand the business plan and the piece each part plays in that plan is crucial.” n

www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 41


production

The View from 30 Feet: Matrix Tooling, Inc. Works to Educate the Next Generation 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. With a significant portion of the plastics molding workforce set to retire in the next 10 to 15 years, recruiting a new generation of employees is a priority for the entire industry. With President Paul Ziegenhorn at the helm, Matrix Tooling, Inc./Matrix Plastic Products, Wood Dale, IL, is working with a local high school to shatter misconceptions about manufacturing and educate students on the possibilities of a career in plastics processing.

F

inding quality people in the precision manufacturing trades has always been a challenge,” said Ziegenhorn, “but never as difficult as it is now. Not every kid is fouryear college material, but those kids still need to earn adequate wages and build successful careers. Our trade – moldmaking – is something that gives kids the opportunity to earn an advanced degree wage without a degree.” Matrix Tooling has traditionally had an apprenticeship program, with two new apprentices beginning work this fall. In addition, the TMA, a local association, also has worked to encourage careers in trade, and Ziegenhorn has served on advisory committees designed to address the problem. However, Matrix recently took another step, helping to develop a program with a local high school, Austin Poly. “We have helped Austin Poly develop a curriculum that walks the students through every phase of a molding project – part design, mold flow studies, inspections – based on a medical device we create that encompasses several plastic parts and assembly,” explained Ziegenhorn. As the program progresses, Ziegenhorn hopes the students will have the remote access capabilities to follow weekly web-based meetings, watch the design engineers present a condensed explanation of the

42 | plastics business • summer 2012

mold design, follow the mold creation through the CAM area, experience the manufacturing stages and then go into the QA lab for inspection. This year, the students left the classroom on three separate occasions to visit Matrix and see the production process in action. “It gives kids an exposure to the materials so they have an understanding of resin properties, while they also see an actual medical device created from start-to-finish,” Ziegenhorn said. “It’s an introduction into the ways science is used in the real world.” The manufacturing science course is currently offered to senior level students at Austin Poly, and the program already is looking to expand for the 2012-2013 school year. In time, the curriculum being developed could be offered to other companies and other schools, to the benefit of the entire industry. “I’ve talked to guidance counselors at career fairs, and there is a softening in what parents are willing to let their kids do in terms of a trade,” said Ziegenhorn. “Too many kids are coming out of college and finding themselves ill-prepared to find a job. The manufacturing trades are a viable alternative that pay a competitive wage, and people are starting to see that.” n


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That other materials (low viscosity, PIM, Elastomer, LSR, and thermoset) can be accurately simulated with the actual mold temperature Why SIGMASOFT® can be operated by process engineers

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industry

Information Technology Benchmarks for Plastics Manufacturing Companies

I

t is virtually impossible to think about the future linearly when it comes to computing-, information- and designrelated technology. In fact, according to Ray Kurzweil (inventor, entrepreneur and visionary), “Information technologies double their capacity, price performance and bandwidth every year.” This exponential growth in technology is one that leading-edge manufacturing companies are utilizing to create competitive and distinguishable differences in the marketplaces in which they compete. With this concept in mind, there is great irony in the fact that questions in common business conversations between plastics manufacturing executives rarely include anything about information technology, which is truly the lifeblood of any

44 | plastics business • summer 2012

company. In fact, how often does one hear inquires like “How is your server treating you?” or “Have you had any security breaches lately?” The MAPP organization has used its 2012 Information Technology Report to establish the first benchmarks in the plastics industry relative to IT. The study focuses on the methods by which plastic manufacturing company executives are managing their information systems. Overall, this report is comprehensive and reveals data and statistics in a number of areas including, but not limited to: server operating systems, IT expenditures, ERP systems, PC stations, engineering design software, capital investment strategies, production floor technology interfaces and more.


The wide-ranging demographics of this survey cover over 3,000 operating systems, millions of dollars of annual information technology investments and hundreds of seats of engineering design platforms. The survey results reveal interesting statistics that enable business leaders to compare their management information practices to industry norms and IT standard operating procedures. For instance, one quarter of the respondents to this survey have a “fully integrated Information Technology plan” as part of their business strategy. Information technology plans include, but are not limited to: capital investment strategies, budgets for hardware and software upgrades and goals for expansion into the latest technologies.

Server Platforms Unless in the information technology field, most readers might not understand that nearly 100 percent of America’s Fortune 100 companies utilize virtual server technology as their primary server platform. MAPP’s study revealed that 49 percent of the plastics community is following this trend. In addition, the study also revealed that the most predominate server operating system (OS) is Windows Server 2008.

Imagine Build Use Faster

PC Platforms The most predominate PC workstation currently utilized in the plastics industry today is Windows XP, and the most common PC brand is Dell, selected by nearly 7 out of 10 survey respondents. Running a far second place was Hewlett Packard (HP), chosen by 24 percent of the study’s participants. Software Licensing Obtaining the best value and the best service for the dollar are keys in the purchase of any product and also is true when it comes to the purchase of computing software. However, the 2012 IT Study showed that methods of procuring software licenses are evenly distributed among the categories of Per Computer (33 percent); Per User (22 percent); Shared License Manager (22 percent) or Volume-Based (22 percent). Interestingly, larger companies (those above $30M in annual sales revenue) tend to utilize volume-based procurement more than any other method. To obtain the full results of this survey, visit the Publications Tab on the MAPP website at www.mappinc.com. n

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814.664.5466 sales@TimeCompressionLLC.com www.TimeCompressionLLC.com www.plasticsbusinessmag.com | 45


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Inside Back Cover M. Holland ...............................................................................................................www.m-holland.com...................................................................................................... 13 MAPP (Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors) ...................................www.mappinc.com ........................................................................................................ 46 Milacron ...................................................................................................................www.milacron.com/servo .............................................................................................. 31 Nexeo Solutions .......................................................................................................www.nexeosolutions.com .............................................................................................. 39 Paulson Training Programs, Inc...............................................................................www.paulsontraining.com ............................................................................................. 10 Polymer Resources Ltd. ...........................................................................................www.prlresins.com ........................................................................................................ 29 PolyOne Distribution ...............................................................................................www.polyone.com/solutions.......................................................................................... 33 RJG, Inc. ..................................................................................................................www.rjginc.com/training ............................................................................................... 27 Sigmasoft .................................................................................................................www.3dsigma.com ........................................................................................................ 43 Stout Risius Ross (SRR) ..........................................................................................www.srr.com .................................................................................................................. 12 Stratasys ...................................................................................................................www.stratasys.com/mapp ................................................................................................ 7 Strategic Marketing Partners (SMP) ........................................................................www.marketingformanufacturers.com .......................................................................... 31 Time Compression LLC ..........................................................................................www.timecompressionllc.com....................................................................................... 45 ToolingDocs ............................................................................................................www.toolingdocs.com ................................................................................................... 35 Ultra Purge/Moulds Plus International ....................................................................www.ultrapurge.com...................................................................................................... 19 Wiegel Tool Works ..................................................................................................www.wiegeltoolworks.com ........................................................................................... 37 Yushin America, Inc. ...............................................................................................www.yushin.com ............................................................................................................. 5

46 | plastics business • summer 2012


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Plastics Business - Summer 2012  

Plastics Business - Summer 2012