President’s Message: A Year for the Record Books

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ARM President Dru Laws

2018 is already off to an amazing start.  I’m anticipating that it will be a year of records for ARM.

The webinars for the Operator Training program are attracting more attendees than we have ever seen with previous webinars.  And the recordings of these webinars are drawing record-setting visitors to the member-benefit section of our website.  If you haven’t participated in these live free webinars, it is not too late to get involved.  And if you haven’t yet logged in to review the recordings, I would encourage you to do so.

The Spring Executive Forum in Orlando drew a record number of attendees (as well as a record number of family members).  The feedback from the attendees has been supremely favorable.  We had presentations from experts in workforce development, alternative staffing solutions, leadership development, and effective career development & incentive programs.  If you missed it, you really missed out!

I’m confident this momentum is going to continue to build throughout the year.  The regional meetings we have planned in Wisconsin (May 15), California (June 13), and South Carolina (June 19) will provide great education and networking opportunities. This October, our Annual Meeting will return to Montreal, where we held one of our best-received meetings. I’m looking forward to this meeting breaking records as well.

The excitement among ARM members is contagious. The value of membership is growing every month as we add new online training to our website and we focus our meetings to directly address the needs of rotomolders. We hope you’ll join us as we continue to set new ARM records this year.

Dru Laws is the President of ARM and the Senior Vice President of Seljan Company in Lake Mills, Wisconsin.

Register now for Regional Meetings in May & June

ARM hits the road in May and June as we bring valuable and inexpensive regional meetings to our members across the United States.

May 15 in Madison, Wisconsin: Join us at the Crowne Plaza Madison as ARM President Dru Laws (Seljan Company) chairs a full-day meeting on Venting.

June 13 in Buena Park, California: Join us at the Holiday Inn Buena Park as ARM Secretary-Treasurer Mario Poma (Rotational Molding Inc.) chairs a full-day meeting on Color and Venting.

June 19 in Greenville, South Carolina: Join us at the Embassy Suites Downtown Greenville as Steve Andrzejewski (Mosaic Color and Additives) chairs a meeting on Color and provides a tour of Mosaic’s plant in Greenville.

Register online.
Download Wisconsin PDF.
Download California PDF.
Download South Carolina PDF.

What Executive Forum attendees are bringing back to the shop…

NASA

Members, spouses, speakers, and children take part in the Kennedy Space Center tour.

Last week, ARM conducted our 10th Executive Forum. It was our best-attended Executive Forum yet.

We asked our attendees what they were going to take back from the meeting. Here’s some of what they listed:

  • The information provided by Jennifer McNelly will help change our recruitment methods and I believe will be more effective.
  • We will assess the needs of employees and what drives them. Implement strategies and actions from that.
  • How to better relate to today’s workforce and train front line mangers on its importance.
  • Be constantly aware of the next generation. Some of the things they do and how they think will be better than our way of doing things and will become our best practices.
  • Efficiency metrics and alternative staffing methods.
  • Automation of bringing powder to the mold in a custom volume application.
  • Benefits of hiring disabled/special needs employees.
  • Interesting ideas on incentive pay structures.

TESTIMONIALS
“Great meetings and a must attend for top management to share information.”
-Mario Poma of Rotational Molding Inc.

“It really was a great meeting for us, great contacts, great conversation and networking. Some REAL business potential coming out of it!”
-Rob Miller of Wittman Canada

 

Let’s talk about something different: Bunnies, Cars, and Mannequins

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Evan Silo, Senior Technical Representative, McLube® Release Coatings and Lubricants

The rotational molding industry encompasses a diverse group of processes and materials, but we in the industry only ever seem to talk about plastic.

It has been my pleasure to sell mold release agents all over the world and I have been fortunate enough to witness some extraordinary rotomolding operations along the way.  The giant machines that create highway barriers, kayaks, and dumpsters are fascinating to watch but what about the lesser-known rotational molding processes?  Did you know that dashboards are rotationally molded PVC?  Ever caught a mannequin staring at you and wondered how it was made?  Marvel at the rotomolding technology that brought you chocolate bunnies this Easter. Check out the videos below to see the different process which utilize rotational molding.

Slush Molding:

Slush molding is a method of producing hollow objects like traditional rotational process.  Slush molding typically involves heating the mold before the material (plastisol or vinyl powder) is introduced which allows the material to gel during processing before being cooled and demolded.  A traditional spider rotational machine processes in almost identical fashion.  This video goes over the basics of slush molding machines used to create dashboards, glove boxes and even door panels:

https://youtu.be/gtyOmAh81kg?t=1m7s

Hand Casting:

Products in the faux design and prop industry tend to be molded by hand in low-volume batches.  The materials they use are very unique and outside of traditional polymers, from two-part thermoset resins like polyester, urethane and epoxy to simple concrete and plasters.  The users in this industry are not overly interested in process specific materials and tend to focus more on the finished product.  Due to the low volume, they can spend more time working with any given material.

The hand rotation shown in this video is not overly exciting but just as important for the end user to have a fully functional part.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMeeWThoHEM

This simple desktop rotational molding machine often used for prototype and low volume parts is a step up from hand casting and reduces variations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6ISPfo6U1A

Hollow Chocolates:

The chocolate industry is perhaps the best example of fully automated production with little operator intervention.  If we can put aside cost and look at how confectionery manufacturers approach this sleek and high volume production, then we might be able to create the next level of throughput in our industry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfpZX9vK_ic

I hope you enjoyed learning about a few lesser-known rotational molding operations! What other rotomolding operations are there?  Can they be applied to larger parts or help other facets of the industry automate?  Are there any new, revolutionary materials out there just waiting to be rotomolded?  Share and post your thoughts and ideas below!

Venting Training – On Demand for Members

ARM conducted the second course in our online Operator Training Program on February 28 and more than sixty members attended.  This session on Venting was presented by ARM Technical Director Dr. Nick Henwood. He discussed an introduction to molds, vent types, sizes, and more.

ARM members can watch a recording of the webinar here. (Login required.)

What rotomolders said about Course Two of Operator Training Program

Here is the feedback on the second course from our molders:

    • “I find these very helpful as technology is changing in some areas in the industry. Good job!”
    • “It was all helpful information. Keep it coming.”
    • “Very well done. This was my first one. very useful”
    • “Great, efficient training session. Perfect planning.”

The schedule for the next two webinars follows:

  • March 14 at 10 AM Central: Parting Lines, Contamination, Minimizing Waste
  • April 4 at 10 AM Central: Review of Courses 1-3

Additional sessions in the program include:

  • Tooling and Tooling Maintenance
  • Correct weighing and material handling & What Happens During Rotomolding
  • Mold release agents, shrinkage and warpage, and thickness control
  • Identifying the correct materials
  • Safety in Rotomolding and other operations

Recording Now Available for Course One of ARM’s Operator Training Program

ARM conducted the first course in our online Operator Training Program on February 14 and more than eighty members took part live. There were more registrants than any previous ARM webinar.

The first session, What Operators Need to Know on Day One, was presented by ARM President Dru Laws. He addressed rotomolding and manufacturing vocabulary as a way of introducing the process, basic machine layout, common materials and tools, and an overview of the process.

ARM members can watch a recording of the webinar here. (Login required.)

What rotomolders said about the Operator Training Program

In a quick evaluation following Course One, here is what some of our molders said when we asked if they had “any feedback”:

  • “I really appreciate the time and effort that ARM put into making this webinar series. Thanks.”
  • “Thank you for making this available and so user friendly! Great resource and training tool.”
  • “Good information for new people”
  • “Keep up the good work to expand the knowhow in and outside the Roto industry!”
  • “Very good basic overview for new Associates to the business.”

After reviewing feedback from webinar participants, Laws said, “This will perhaps be one of the greatest benefits ARM has ever provided our members and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

The schedule for the next three webinars follows:

February 28 at 10 AM Central: Venting
March 14 at 10 AM Central: Parting Lines, Contamination, Minimizing Waste
April 4 at 10 AM Central: Review of Session 1-3

Members should check their ARM emails or email staff at info@rotomolding.org to sign up.

Additional sessions in the program include:

  • Tooling and Tooling Maintenance
  • Correct weighing and material handling & What Happens During Rotomolding
  • Mold release agents, shrinkage and warpage, and thickness control
  • Identifying the correct materials
  • Safety in Rotomolding and other operations

Registration for these courses will be available as the schedule is finalized.

Operator Training online beginning February 14

This Valentine’s Day rotomolding operators have a date with ARM President Dru Laws, as we kick off our Operator Training Program with What to Know on Day One. This is the first in a series of eleven webinars that will provide an introduction to the rotomolding process and a focus on operator-specific issues.

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We’ll conduct a new presentation approximately every two weeks. If you miss a session live, recordings will be available shortly thereafter. Live webinars and recordings are available free to members.

The schedule for the first four webinars follows:

February 14 at 10 AM Central: What to Know on Day One
February 28 at 10 AM Central: Venting
March 14 at 10 AM Central: Parting Lines, Contamination, Minimizing Waste
April 4 at 10 AM Central: Review of Session 1-3

Additional sessions in the program include:

  • Tooling and Tooling Maintenance
  • Correct weighing and material handling & What Happens During Rotomolding
  • Mold release agents, shrinkage and warpage, and thickness control
  • Identifying the correct materials
  • Safety in Rotomolding and other operations

Members should check their ARM emails or email staff at info@rotomolding.org to sign up.

Register by February 7 and we’ll send you a little something to help you study.

Register for the the opening session scheduled for Valentine’s Day and we’ll enter you in a random drawing for  one dozen roses.

Encourage your operators to take part in the webinars as we conduct them in 2018. Here’s why: The more operators who take part in the courses while it is being presented – instead of waiting for all sessions to be completed – the better the course will be. We’ll provide participants with three short self-assessments during the program and adjust our review sessions to address concepts that are being missed. By getting your operators involved now, you will improve the quality of this training tool which will be available to your company for years to come.

Once we’ve conducted all eleven webinars, members will have free online access to a 6-hour training program divided into 15-20 minute segments, perfect for new hires.

The Operator Training Program is a project of the Rotomolding Education Development Foundation, ARM Technical Director Nick Henwood, and the ARM Education Committee.

Register: Members should check their ARM emails or email staff at info@rotomolding.org to sign up.

Not a member? Join now.