Learn from mistakes—yours or others—but learn.
One of my grandmother’s sternest lectures, usually sent my way after some misadventure like attempting to fly off the garage roof, was some variation of, “Well, that ought to teach you a lesson.” I then had to tell her what lesson I had learned. I remember hearing that we all do dumb things now and then, but we shouldn’t do them more than once.
Unfortunately, it seems that we—Americans collectively—still choose leaping off the roof over book-learning. Consider our current financial crash landing. It comes after some 30 years of the increasing deregulation of financial markets and instruments. The market is self-correcting, we were led to believe, so let it run free. How long that correction would take was not specified, nor did we hear it could be as painful as jumping off a roof.
We should have known. The financial market was let loose in the last century’s roaring ’20s, and we got the Great Depression. The details of then and now don’t match precisely, but the big pictures are very close.
And that brings me to why we put together this magazine for you every month.
Apart from neurosurgery and rocket science, few professions demand more knowledge than moldmaking and molding plastics. Do I exaggerate? No. Besides chemistry, physics, mechanics, and metallurgy, one must know market analysis, statistics, finance, regulations, and, well, the interactions.
That’s why IMM covers as many of those disciplines as we can, and how to tie them together. For an excellent example, see Michael Sepe’s Materials Analyst column, “The interaction of design, material selection, and processing in the failure of a gear—Part 1.” As he often does, Sepe guides you to consider everything possible in analyzing a problem, rather than relying on a single source of information.
Speaking of multifaceted, what do you make of the economy? IMM has two excellent articles this month to help you, both by The Repton Group. The long-running Molder’s Economic Index series helps you sort out where to look for energy savings and much, much more. And we've given you “Global opportunities created by the ‘new growth,’” precisely because worrying about globalization is out. Taking advantage of it is in.
Besides learning by hard knocks and from the mistakes of others, we can also learn from each other’s successes. Need proof? Check Clare Goldsberry’s report from the recent American Mold Builders Assn. meeting, at which some wise moldmakers shared their best practices. One example: “We thought at one time we were running 70-80% uptime on our machinery, when in actuality we were only running about 40-50%, which meant that maybe we were buying equipment that we really didn’t need.”
Check it out to learn what this moldmaker did about that. And stay off the garage roof, OK?
Editor in Chief