Ralph Oswald, CEO of Chicago Mold Engineering Co. (CME; St. Charles, IL), was the recipient of the Mold Builder of the Year award given by the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) at its annual convention in May. The award, sponsored by mold component supplier Progressive Components, was presented by outgoing AMBA President Mike Armbrust, and includes a $5000 endowment for continuing education in moldmaking for the educational program of Oswald's choice. The Tooling and Machining Association (TMA) Education Foundation and the Industrial Technology Department at East Leyden High School will share the endowment equally.
|Mold Builder of the Year: Ralph Oswald (r) receiving the AMBA's Mold Builder of the Year award, with Don Mazurek, one of CME's team members.|
Chicago Mold has always fostered an educational environment with apprentices in the company's own program that it developed, Oswald told PlasticsToday. "Apprentices are the key to this industry, and they have a vital part to play," he said in a telephone interview. "If you get rid of your apprentices, you get rid of your future. We never gave up attracting young people to the trade."
Chicago Mold was founded in 1944 by Eric W. Oswald, Ralph's father. The company was an early adopter of new technology including CAD/CAM, CNC machines and in 2005, Ralph Oswald acquired what the company claims was the first ATOS III white light scanner in North America. Used for complex reverse engineering, the scanner also is used to qualify every mold the company builds prior to shipment. CME recently upgraded to the latest ATOS system, improving both its speed and its ability to capture find hidden details.
Chicago Mold builds a variety of injection and compression molds, and is known globally for its expertise in building automotive head and tail light lens molds, a specialty demanding high accuracy on a large scale.
Oswald credits staying current with the latest technology and his skilled team at CME for the company's long-term success. He also said that being able to retain employees and keeping turnover low also helped. "Keeping the crew together is important," he said.