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May 1, 2000

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IMM Review: Plastic Injection Molding:Manufacturing Startup and Management

This fourth volume in Douglas Bryce's Plastic Injection Molding series is written in textbook form, making it appropriate for a classroom situation as well as the shelf in your library. Each chapter is complete with tables, figures, and questions at the end. There are 12 chapters, two appendices, answers to chapter questions, a bibliography, and an index for quick reference.

Chapter 1, Injection Molding Concepts, describes the history and basic operating process of injection molding. It provides a good, practical overview of everything from preparing the material to be molded to setting a mold.

Chapter 2, Materials, defines the terms that are unique to plastic materials and reviews the major material types along with key properties.

Chapter 3, Determining Primary Equipment Needs, considers what is needed to start a new product line and factors influencing what thermoplastic products will be molded.

Chapter 4, Determining Auxiliary Equipment Needs, defines and introduces auxiliary equipment. Along the way insights are offered on how dry is dry, what is dew point, and how to use an inexpensive and accurate method for testing for acceptable dryness called the TVI Test.

Chapter 5 defines utilities and discusses methods for determining such specific requirements as electricity needs for auxiliary equipment and lighting requirements for different areas.

Chapter 6, Material Storage and Handling, emphasizes that "proper storage and movement of raw materials are important to the success of any molding operation."

Chapter 7, Tool Room Requirements, asks what kind of tool shop you want to have. A minor shop cleans, inspects, stores, and takes care of component replacement. A major shop is capable of performing all work related to repairing damaged molds. A moldmaking facility is capable of not only repair work but also design and construction of molds.

In Chapter 8, Plant Layout, Bryce reviews how to lay out floor space most effectively, where to place machinery, labor efficiency as related to manual vs. automated operations, expansion considerations, building site criteria, and geographic location.

Chapter 9, Determining Costs, is one of the most important chapters in the book. Here Bryce addresses such key questions as what size operation you want to run, and whether you want to be a molder solely or a full-service vendor. Once you've defined the scope of your operation, you can determine your capital requirements. Areas to consider are building, land, and equipment needs.

Chapter 10, Organizational Structure, helps identify needs for accounting, general management, legal support, and so on. The functions of basic departments are outlined (quality control and product engineering, for example) as well as departmental positions, reporting relationships, and training.

In Chapter 11, Quality Control Concepts, Bryce notes that the amount of time and money spent each year on the achievement of quality demonstrates its importance. Another statement by the author is one I believe should be engraved in stone above every engineering department: "If functional parts are produced with nonconforming dimensions and they are acceptable to the customer, the print should be changed to reflect the acceptance."

Chapter 12, Effective Management Practices, defines what those are and discusses the importance of complying with industry standards, customer driven requirements, and quality and environmental issues.

Appendix A is short but concise, providing benchmarking formulas and industry averages. Appendix B contains a specifically designed form that can be used for qualifying a potential plastics molding vendor.

If you are a newcomer to the field, this book will be indispensable. If you are an old-timer, you will be able to brush up in areas with which you're familiar but want to make sure you haven't missed any new details. - Reviewer: Michael Morningstar, molding engineer, [email protected].

Plastic Injection Molding: Manufacturing Startup and Management is one of many books selected for injection molders that are offered through the IMM Book Club. For more information, call Renee Leatherman at (303) 321-2322; e-mail [email protected]; or visit www.immbookclub.com.

Bryce, Douglas M. Plastic Injection Molding: Manufacturing Startup and Management, (1999), 208 pp., tables, figures, appendices, index, $76.00.

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