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Michigan State Rep Gets Schooled at RJG, Aces Injection Molding Pop Quiz

Using RJG’s new AI-powered tool, Rep. Coffia was able to diagnose and fix an injection molding process step, despite having no prior experience.

Bruce Adams

February 8, 2024

3 Min Read
Michigan State Representative Betsy Coffia using injection molding tool
Image courtesy of RJG

RJG has trained thousands of students on the finer points of injection molding, but it recently welcomed a different type of learner at its Traverse City, MI, headquarters.

The company, a provider of injection molding training and technology for more than 35 years, hosted Michigan State Representative Betsy Coffia on Jan. 26. The purpose of her visit was to get a better understanding of the manufacturing industry in northwest lower Michigan, including its needs, challenges, and goals, the company said.

Bridging skills gap with AI

Rep. Coffia learned about the skills gap facing manufacturers of all types and the need for technology to fill that gap. In a hands-on exercise, she used RJG's newest training tool — artificial intelligence–powered software called Molding Automation Xperience, or MAX.  

She proved to be a quick study. Despite having no prior experience using an injection molding machine, Rep. Coffia was able to diagnose that the process running on RJG's press did not match the qualified process. After learning this, she followed MAX's step-by-step instructions to fix the problem on her own.

Real-time guidance

MAX utilizes AI technology powered by Master Molder techniques to provide molders with real-time, expert guidance that allows them to keep their injection molding processes under control. This smart assistant monitors process parameters in real time and offers troubleshooting advice to help molders resolve issues and improve productivity, the company said.

MAX marks a significant enhancement to the CoPilot system, demonstrating RJG’s commitment to leveraging AI to heighten molders’ level of control, efficiency, and quality, the company said.

"It was a pleasure hosting Rep. Coffia and demonstrating the future direction of our technology and innovation," said  Board Chairman Mike Groleau. "We are dedicated to preparing molders for tomorrow's success while helping them overcome today's challenges, and this was such a great way to showcase the hard work of our entire team."

This event was organized by Traverse Connect, the lead economic development organization for the Grand Traverse region. It supports area businesses through a combination of attraction and retention strategies, talent development efforts, and strategic coordination among partner agencies.

Well-kept local secret

“There is legislation moving through the Michigan legislature related to a new state R&D tax credit that was an initial motivation for the visit, and this branched into a larger opportunity for Rep. Coffia to learn more about technology manufacturers like ours in the region,” Groleau told PlasticsToday. “The Grand Traverse region is unique in that we have a number of companies that are recognized global leaders in their industries, but we’re well-kept secrets locally. We play a key role in our local economy, so we welcome the opportunity to showcase what we do and how we contribute to our communities. This helps our policymakers stay informed and make the best decisions for our region and our state.”

Prior to being named Michigan State Representative, Coffia held the title of Grand Traverse County Commissioner. She grew up in a working-class family in rural Kalkaska County and has deep roots in northern Michigan. 

“Thank you for the wonderful tour,” said Krista Esckilsen, Investor Engagement Coordinator at Traverse Connect. “RJG is an exceptional organization with exceptional people." 

“We truly appreciate Rep. Coffia and Traverse Connect for taking the time to visit RJG and learn more about the importance of technology and manufacturing businesses to the growth and vitality of our region," said Groleau.

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