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Can we just catch our breath?

After a few wrenching years, we may seem to be stabilizing. But honestly, I don’t think so.There have been a number of positive economic stories in our business reported recently. Granted, it’s a small number, but compared with the virtual absence of any good news from late 2008 until early 2010, the good news stories feel like the first days of fresh spring air after a bitter winter.

Rob Neilley

March 30, 2011

3 Min Read
Can we just catch our breath?

After a few wrenching years, we may seem to be stabilizing. But honestly, I don’t think so.

There have been a number of positive economic stories in our business reported recently. Granted, it’s a small number, but compared with the virtual absence of any good news from late 2008 until early 2010, the good news stories feel like the first days of fresh spring air after a bitter winter.

And though I don’t think the molding business is stabilizing—after all, the pace of change is still accelerating—we now seem to have a chance to breathe normally, at least for a bit. Unfortunately, that reminds of my school track coach. When he saw us runners begin to breathe normally, he immediately started the next phase of the workout. That’s about the way business goes now—a virtual nonstop workout.

For those who build molds and/or mold plastics, a fast pace and high pressure aren’t all that much of a change. From my first days in the business, one thing that always impressed me about molders and moldmakers is how well they handle the many and widely varying aspects of their businesses.

It’s impossible to run out of things to work on, or to avoid moving from statistical analysis to something as different as fixing a fitting or a client meeting. Our job here at IMM has always been to help you do all those different things, and this issue exemplifies the range of tasks we work on together.

An excellent example is the Market Snapshot by Clare Goldsberry covering the home and garden markets. Wait, isn’t housing in a coma? Not completely. Then, in the Design section we look over the shoulder of a compounder searching for optimum material conductivity using DOE software that not only makes the simulation process faster, but even makes it easier to see.

In a different technology vein, our RFQ feature asks suppliers to help an IMMaginary molding shop become more competitive by using the latest automation tools—and they rise to the challenge. The Materials Analyst column by Mike Sepe takes on the well-known issue of melt flow rate, which, as you will learn, isn’t that well known at all.

Not to neglect the nontechnological parts of the business, a Washington state molder tells how a customer was convinced to move from individual machines to a high-tech production cell and mold by the ROI analysis. And that brought the job back from offshore. The best part of competition is the victory celebration.

The article “Leveling the field with a policy manual” could help you win another competition: the one you have with clients over who is or was supposed to do something, how much it ought to cost, and who pays for it. Having a great relationship with a client is always the right thing to do. Having the details in writing can keep a good relationship on track. To help get you going, you can download a model policy manual from our website.

Happy reading, and remember to breathe. —Rob Neilley

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