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Articles from 2016 In February


Micro Mold invests in facility renovation, automated machining center

Micro Mold Co., Inc. and Plastikos Inc., both headquartered in Erie, PA, recently announced that a major renovation is currently underway at Micro Mold. Once completed, a new Mori-Seiki five-axis CNC milling center will be installed coupled with a System 3R Workmaster robot to create a highly automated and efficient work cell. This capital investment will significantly reduce changeover time and resources and further enhance Micro Mold's hard-milling capabilities. The installation of the new CNC milling center, scheduled for completion in June of this year, will also play a "key role to further improve our overall production efficiencies that will translate into reduced lead times for our precision mold manufacturing services," said Micro Mold.

micro-mold-plastikos"Micro Mold views our investment in cutting-edge technology as critical to staying competitive in the precision mold building industry," said Ryan Katen, General Manager. "We feel that this investment is just one step toward fulfilling our vision of continuous innovation through technology advancement."

Over the last five years, Micro Mold has invested well over $1.5 million in facility and equipment upgrades. Additionally, the company continues to train and invest heavily in its workforce "to address the skills gap that continues to strain the domestic moldmaking industry," said Micro Mold. "Currently we have three employees who are in various stages of their apprenticeship, and who will receive detailed hands-on training on the latest equipment and technology at Micro Mold."

In conjunction with Micro Mold's new five-axis CNC machining center, Plastikos, the molding division, also recently completed its own large-scale investment in automation and high-speed robotic centers throughout the injection molding production facility. That project was completed in November of last year. Currently Plastikos offers medical molding in an ISO Class 7 cleanroom (Class 10,000) with press tonnages ranging from 88 to 220 tons.

"We will continue to research and evaluate machine tool advancements and to strategically invest in these technologies to further advance Micro Mold's capabilities in order to continue to provide world-class injection molds and tight tolerance injection molding services to the marketplace," Katen commented.

Durable goods manufacturing jumps almost 5% in January

washing machines stock art

Transportation equipment, which had two consecutive monthly decreases, led the jump with $8.2 billion, or 11.5%, to $79.7 billion.

washing-machines
Image courtesy Salvatore Vuono/
freedigitalphotos.net.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in January, up two of the last three months, increased $4.6 billion (1.9%) to $241.9 billion. This followed a 1.6% December decrease. Transportation equipment, also up two of the last three months, led the increase, $4.3 billion (5.7%) to $80 billion.

Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in January, up three of the last four months, increased $0.6 billion (0.1%) to $1,187.7 billion. This followed a 0.5% December decrease. The year-over-year change in manufacturing shipments was up 2.4%, with year-over-year new orders up 0.2%.

Computers and electronic products, up 25 consecutive months, drove the increase with $0.7 billion, a 0.5% gain, to $137.2 billion.

After being down six of the last seven months, inventories of manufactured durable goods decreased yet again in January ($0.3 billion, or 0.1%, to $396.3 billion). Primary metals, down 12 consecutive months, drove the decrease with $0.7 billion (2%) to $33.8 billion.

Nondefense new orders for capital goods in January increased $14 billion (21.6%) to $79.2 billion. Shipments increased $2.9 billion (3.9%) to $78.3 billion. Unfilled orders increased $0.9 billion (0.1 %) to $743.9 billion. Inventories decreased $0.1 billion (0.1%) to $175.4 billion.

Household appliances are one of the major market segments for durable goods. The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm, just released a new study, World Major Household Appliances, which projects that global demand for that market segment is forecast to increase at a 3% annual rate through 2019 to 445 million units. The number of appliances in use will climb to 4.9 billion units. The average number of appliances in each household will increase, supported by rising personal income levels in developing areas.

The Freedonia Group said that new household formation activity will provide new sales opportunities for appliance suppliers as the world's population continues to grow. Refrigerators and large cooking appliance are typically the first appliances purchased once personal income levels reach a sufficient level, followed by washing machines. "Because of the relatively large numbers of these products already in use," noted analyst Kyle Peters, "market advances through 2019 will not be as strong as those expected for freezers, dishwashers and clothes dryers."

Demand in North America will show annual growth of 3.1% to 59.8 million units in 2019, with the Asia/Pacific region showing a demand of 206.5 million units and an annual growth rate through 2019 of 3%.

With the consolidation among the major appliance producers in North America over the past decade, and the movement of a number of those factories from the United States to Mexico, the appliance industry has seen some sizeable shifts. Some good news for U.S. manufacturing in the durable goods market segment came just last week, however, when Whirlpool Corp. (Benton Harbor, MI) announced plans for a $40.6 million investment in operations at its dishwasher-manufacturing facility in Findlay, OH. The plant anticipates adding approximately 50 new jobs. The 86,400-square-foot expansion will provide additional assembly capacity and material space to support strong consumer demand and will improve the flow of parts and products through the plant. The Findlay plant assembles dishwashers for the company's portfolio of brands including Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air.

Jim Keppler, Vice President of the company's Integrated Supply Chain and Quality organization, said that the expansion plan "represents not only an investment in the men and women of the Findlay plant, but also in the many others who assemble appliances at our eight additional U.S. manufacturing plants." Keppler boasted that Whirlpool employs "more U.S. appliance manufacturing employees than any other U.S.-based appliance manufacturer, and this investment is consistent with our leadership position in the industry."

Other recent investments by Whirlpool include $200 million put into the company's Clyde, OH, laundry facilities as well as moving commercial front-loading washing machine production from Monterrey, Mexico, to Clyde in 2014. The relocation added nearly 100 jobs and "again reaffirmed the company's commitment to its U.S. manufacturing base and its skilled workforce."

Evonik's PEEK polymer validated for titanium medical coatings

Coatings were applied to a large quantity of test pieces that were then exposed to a series of strict tests developed by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM), verifying the strength and mechanical bond to VestaKeep. This validation enables Surface Dynamics to include this PEEK polymer in its Master File that resides with FDA. Medical companies submitting their devices to FDA for review using Surface Dynamics' titanium coating on VestaKeep still have to perform required tests on their specific devices, but they can now have confidence that the PEEK polymer from Evonik is compatible with this process.

"Adding VestaKeep to our Master File increases the broad range of materials we can successfully process for the medical industry," said Brett George, Vice President of Product Development at Surface Dynamics. "Our goal has always been to provide our customers with as many options as possible for their growing designs and technologies."

Many surgeons prefer to have PEEK implants coated with additional treatments that enhance and encourage fusion around the implant device, notes Evonik in a press release. There have been many attempts and technologies developed to promote additional fusion with PEEK, but with its long history of success and proven biocompatibility, titanium coating has proven the most sought after for PEEK. Titanium has been used for years in coating other types of implants and materials, such as hips and knees in the orthopedic joint replacement markets.

Evonik and Surface Dynamics will be exhibiting at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Conference in Orlando, FL, on March 2 to 4, 2016.

Avery Dennison appoints new CEO

Mitchell Butier

Labeling and packaging materials supplier Avery Dennison Corp. (Glendale, CA) has appointed Mitchell R. Butier as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective May 1, 2016, and nominated him for election to the Board at the company's upcoming Annual Meeting of Stockholders on April 28, 2016. Current Chairman and CEO Dean Scarborough to stay on the Board as Executive Chairman.

"Mitch has worked in various businesses and regions across Avery Dennison and in roles of increasing responsibility, including chief financial officer and president and chief operating officer," said Dean Scarborough. "He has been a close thought partner of mine and has been at the center of our most successful business strategies. Most recently, he has been the driver behind increasing the higher-value market segments of our portfolio. Just as important, Mitch is a champion of the values, integrity and high ethical standards that define Avery Dennison."

"Avery Dennison is a great company," said Butier. "We're strategically well-positioned, with excellent prospects for profitable growth. I look forward to working with our board and our leadership team to build on our solid foundation as we continue to create value for our customers, employees, and shareholders."

Butier, 44, came to Avery Dennison from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (New York City) in 2000 and has been Pesident and Chief Operating Officer since November 2014. He earned a B.S.A. from Loyola Marymount University.

Avery Dennison has operations in more than 50 countries with more than 25,000 employees worldwide. The company reported sales from continuing operations of $6 billion in 2015.

Fakuma founder Paul E. Schall dies unexpectedly

Schall


Born February 24, 1939, as one of six children, Paul Eberhard Schall came from a family of entrepreneurs. By the age of twenty-three, he had already started his first company, which sold machinery for the graphics industry and was called Paul Schall jun. Grafische Maschinen, Neuffen. The young business owner soon discovered a talent for organizing open house events, and, in turn for trade shows, which became his passion in life. As he was later to say: “For me, doing trade fairs was never just a way of making money. Trade fairs are addictive—and, even today, I cannot imagine doing anything else.”

In 1975, Schall founded his highly successful trade show enterprise P. E. Schall KG, with headquarters in Frickenhausen-Linsenhofen, which fast became the motor for a wide range of shows—with themes varying from sheet metal processing to erotica—all staged in the southern part of Germany. Schall consistently pursued a niche market philosophy, developing promising technical topics into specialized trade fairs, which presented the full spectrum of their respective fields, all within a manageable amount of floor He combined a willingness to take risks and a constant readiness to innovate, with a conviction that trade shows should provide first class service for exhibitors and visitors alike. Paul Schall was a true pioneer of the concept of the Euro regional specialized trade fair.

The first Fakuma, an international trade fair for the plastics processing industry—the name stands for “Fachmesse für KunststoffMaschinen”—took place in Friedrichshafen in 1981.

Over the thirty-odd years since its founding, the Fakuma has become a prominent meeting place for the industry, taking place every year except the years in which a K Show is held. The 2015 edition boasted some 1,800 exhibitors, and attracted almost 46,000 visitors from all over the world.

Other major exhibitions organized by Schall’s company are Control (quality assurance), Faszination Modellbau (model construction), Motek (automation in production and assembly), Blechexpo (sheet metal), Bondexpo (bonding), Druck+Form (printing), Optatec (optical), Schweisstec (welding) and Stanztec (stamping) fairs. Subsidiary events are also held internationally.

Recycled carbon fiber a cost-effective approach

recycled-mats

Isotropic mats are made from recycled
carbon fiber.

At JEC, ELG Carbon Fibre will be focusing predominately on its range of Carbiso M and Carbiso TM isotropic mats. These easy to handle, drapeable mats are compatible with most thermoset and thermoplastic polymers and deliver excellent mechanical properties.

Carbiso M mats are produced from 100% recycled carbon fiber and can be processed by conventional composite techniques to manufacture structural and semi structural parts. Carbiso TM products are hybrid mats produced from recycled fibers and comingled with thermoplastic matrixes for press molding applications.

Both Carbiso M and TM mats are available in standard 150-500 gsm weights and 2.7 m widths. To offer customers total flexibility and an entirely tailored solution, the mats can also be manufactured to bespoke specifications.

The introduction of these new products at JEC follows on from a very successful growth period for ELG Carbon Fibre. Since the organization became part of the globally successful ELG Haniel Group in 2011, the company has consistently doubled its output each year culminating in the reclamation of over 1000 tonnes of finished carbon fiber in 2015 which was converted into a wide range of products predominately for the oil and gas and transportation industries.

Frazer Barnes, Managing Director of ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd, will also be hosting a technical sales presentation at 4 pm on Wednesday 9th March at JEC entitled "Recycled Carbon Fibres: A New Approach to Cost Effective, Lightweight Structures."

Dow Chemical settles class-action suit for $835 million in wake of Scalia's death

Dow HQ

Dow-HQIn 2013, Dow was found liable and ordered to pay damages of $1.06 billion for allegedly conspiring with competitors to fix prices for chemicals, in particular polyurethane products, reports the Wall Street Journal. The class-action suit, brought against the company by industrial customers, alleged that Dow and other firms engaged in a conspiracy to fix prices from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. Dow's petition before the Supreme Court is being held pending a ruling involving Tyson Foods, which revolves around the methodology used to calculate damages in class-act lawsuits. Without Scalia or a like-minded justice on the bench, the thinking is that the Supreme Court is unlikely to favor the position of Tyson Foods, in particular, or curtail class-action claims, in general.

In a news release on its website, Dow Chemical wrote that the "increased likelihood for unfavorable outcomes for business involved in class-action suits have changed Dow's risk assessment of the situation. Dow believes this settlement is the right decision for the company and our shareholders."

The company went on to affirm that it continues to "strongly believe" that it was not part of a conspiracy and that the judgment was fundamentally flawed as a matter of class-action law.

Dow Chemical's decision to settle could be the canary in the coal mine, the first casualty on the business side caused by the vacancy in the Supreme Court, Deepak Gupta, a plaintiffs' attorney who specializes in Supreme Court and appellate litigation, told the Wall Street Journal.

The business community had a resolute ally in Scalia, who has consistently been on the side of scaling back class-action lawsuits. He wrote the 5-4 ruling in 2011 that said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. couldn't be sued by potentially a million female workers, reports BloombergBusiness. Two years later, Scalia was the author of a 5-4 ruling that freed Comcast Corp. from having to defend against an $875 million antitrust lawsuit on behalf of Philadelphia-area customers.


Without Scalia on the bench, Gupta expects to see a ripple effect in cases such as the Dow Chemicals appel. Dow won't be the only company with pending class-litigation to reverse course, he told the Wall Street Journal.

Foam Recycling Coalition opens 2016 call for grant applications

"Launched last year, the Foam Recycling Coalition's grant program has already given away almost $100,000," said Lynn Dyer, President of the Foodservice Packaging Institute. "With greater end-market demand for foam polystyrene equipment and handling, our funding program helps recycling facilities include polystyrene foam in their accepted recycling."

Last year's grantees, Denver's Alpine Waste & Recycling and Colchester County, Nova Scotia, were awarded grants to purchase equipment that provides polystyrene foam recycling services to their communities. A third grantee's announcement is imminent.

Organizations involved in managing residential curbside recycling programs or material recovery facilities are eligible to apply for funding. Available to both public and private organizations, each grant will range from about $15,000 to $50,000.

This initiative helps fund infrastructure for the collection, processing and marketing of products made from polystyrene foam. It targets post-consumer EPS products, such as foodservice packaging (cups, plates, bowls, clamshells, cafeteria trays and so forth), as well as other types of packaging, like egg cartons, meat trays and protective packaging used for shipping electronics and other fragile items, said the FRC.

Grant amounts will be determined on a case-by-case basis dependent upon equipment needs. No cash match is required, but additional costs may be incurred by the grantee for related items such as site preparation, provision of conveying system, electrical infrastructure, freight and other installation costs.

Grantees are required to communicate the addition of EPS to their recycling program, both directly to households and in their regular communication materials. Grantees also must commit to collecting, processing and marketing EPS for a minimum of three years, which includes reporting on the volumes to FRC.

Application deadline is April 10, 2016. The first grant recipient will be announced in late spring.

For further information and grant application forms, visit www.fpi.org/recyclefoam.

Boride now offers carbide burs and die grinders

"Our new carbide bur offering sets itself apart from others on the market," says Betsi Burns, Sales and Product Manager at Boride. "The burs are manufactured in the USA using precise CNC grinding and automated, temperature-controlled brazing to withstand the demands of their application. All raw materials are lab inspected, and 100% of our burs go through a final visual inspection. The die grinders are slim and compact for control and precision yet extremely powerful."

The new carbide bur and die grinder line is available through Boride's network of distributors or through the company website.

For nearly 40 years, Boride Engineered Abrasives has developed and manufactured abrasive products for industrial and consumer applications. Boride also distributes products sourced from its global network of suppliers and industry experts.

Republican debate: Kasich gives shout out to Ohio's medtech industry

John Kasich

The exchange went as follows (as transcribed by the Washington Post):

Trump: I just want to say—and I'm a big fan of the governor—but they also struck oil, OK, so that helped a lot.

Kasich: OK, let me—let me—let me just talk about that, because I know that—that Donald believes the energy industry is important. So do I. But of the over 400,000 jobs that we've created in the state, we think maybe 15,000 are connected to this industry, because it's early stage.

See, what we've done in Ohio, and what a president needs to do, is to have a cabinet and a whole operation that's jobs-friendly. We have diversified our economy.

We—we do have energy, we have medical devices, we have financial services, we have I.T., we just got Amazon—their cloud computing in the Midwest. You know why it's happening? Because we've balanced budgets, we're strong, we're job-friendly, we don't raise their taxes, and if we have a president that does that in America, we will get the economic growth, and that is what this country needs. Jobs, jobs and jobs, period.

KasichKasich has made that point repeatedly in his stump speech and in various interviews during the campaign. And, in a bold departure from the prevailing narrative of this election year, it's actually fact based.

Cleveland was named one of the top 10 U.S. cities for medtech innovation by sister brand Qmed last year. The city is "home to the respected Cleveland Clinic, which has had a number of device-related spinoffs, not to mention Case Western Reserve University," writes Qmed, adding that many of the biggest device companies in the country, including Johnson & Johnson, GE Healthcare, Philips Medical Systems, Siemens and Steris have facilities in the area.

In 2015, Cleveland's healthcare industry attracted $201 million in funding from investors, with medical device makers and pharmaceutical companies leading the pack, according to BioEnterprise, a Cleveland-based business group that supports healthcare and bioscience initiatives. The city finished third in the Midwest, behind leader Minneapolis and Chicago.

Notable medtech deals made last year in the city include the following, as reported by the Plain Dealer:

  • ViewRay, a developer of advanced radiation technology to treat cancer, which generated more than $60 million from an array of investors.
  • Juventas Therapeutics, a developer of regenerative medicine technologies for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, which received $13.5 million.
  • Surgical Theater, a Cleveland company whose software allows surgeons to simulate an operation before conducting it, attracted $9 million from HTC Corp., a Shanghai-based investment firm.

Cleveland laid the groundwork for this transition back in 2010, when it established the Health-Tech Corridor to attract high-tech and biotech companies. A three-mile stretch between downtown and University Circle, which was described by the Plain Dealer at the time as a "downtrodden, gap-toothed stretch" of street, has blossomed into a "hub of innovation," according to BioEnterprise, which is a member of the public-private partnership behind the corridor. More than 130 high-tech companies are located there and it is poised to have the world's first commercial 100-gigabit fiber network. The technology will enable sharing of medical imaging data in milliseconds and accelerate the pace of R&D by providing instantaneous access to massive data sets, according to information from the Health-Tech Corridor.

Further cementing the region's emergence as an advanced manufacturing hub, UBM, which organizes the Medical Design & Manufacturing and PLASTEC events in the United States and produces PlasticsToday, has announced that it will launch the Advanced Manufacturing Conference & Expo in Cleveland next year. The event will highlight broad-based design, automation, packaging and quality control, as well as medical device manufacturing and plastics processing, at the Cleveland Convention Center on March 29 and 30, 2017. For further information, check out the video embedded below or contact cleveland2017@ubm.com.

So, way to go, Ohio, and, unlike Chrissie Hynde, I say that without a trace of irony. As for Kasich, well, none of this will change the dynamics of the presidential race. It would take nothing short of divine intervention for him to end up being the last man standing in this brawl. When he does bow out, though, he can hold his head high as having run a dignified, fact-based campaign. This year, it seems, the country just is not in the mood for that sort of thing.