The State of ARM: Scholarships for High School Seniors

The Roy Crawford Education and Development Foundation has just announced that it will award three scholarships to graduating seniors this coming spring.

Employees of ARM member companies and their children are eligible to apply by completing these forms by March 18, 2019. The Foundation will award at least three scholarships of $2,000 each.

This scholarship is a new benefit that ARM member companies can offer employees! Please spread the word among your company.

We are also announcing multiple ways to support the Foundation. Make a general donation to support all of the Foundation’s projects (including rotomolding R&D and education), help build our scholarship fund for future years, or make donations that will be used in their entirety to increase the total scholarship amounts awarded in 2019.

The State of ARM: New Website

ARM’s new website is now live. The redesign subtly improves the visuals on the site but the big changes are behind the scenes.

Members will find that the user experience is significantly improved. For example, once signed in, you will be able to register multiple people instead of being required to log out and back in.

We have focused on making sure that our online benefits are accessible and improved on the new site. We have converted our webinar library so that everything will be accessible on iOS devices.

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We’re ending the year by sharing updates with our members on The State of ARM.

Ask Dr. Nick: What’s an Acceptable Scrap Rate in Rotomolding?

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Dr. Nick Henwood

Recently an ARM member from Latin America phoned in with a technical question and we got into a conversation about the vexed subject of scrap.  I appreciate that it’s a bit of a prickly issue and probably not something individual rotomolders would be keen to discuss openly.

Not being a molder, I was probably more comfortable than most to tell our colleague what I had observed myself, having worked with hundreds of rotomolding companies over my 30 years in this business.

I thought that my observations might be useful, if only to reinforce how important this issue can be commercially.  We have to live in the real world, so some scrap is almost inevitable. Rotomolding is simultaneously fascinating and frustrating, because there are so many variables at play and not all the variables are easy to control (eg the weather / ambient conditions).

It seems to me that the main trick is to stay vigilant and bear down on scrap and the reasons why we may make scrap.

Anyway, here are some of my thoughts.  If any of you molders out there would comment, that would be fantastic!  If you think I’m talking nonsense, feel free to “roast” me! Continue reading

The State of ARM: Roy Crawford Rotomolding Education and Development Foundation

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Professor Roy Crawford

In June 2018, the Rotomolding Education and Development Foundation’s Board of Governors voted to change the organization’s name to the Roy Crawford Rotomolding Education and Development Foundation. This change is an opportunity for the Board to proudly pay tribute to a true pioneer and giant in the rotomolding process, Dr. Roy Crawford.

This year the Foundation has been able to take significant steps in achieving its mission by moving forward with two projects identified early on as primary goals: making rotomolding training more accessible and funding research projects that support our industry as a whole.

The first of the Foundation’s 2018 milestones is the completion of a rotomolding curriculum, which the Board of Governors has been developing since the Foundation’s earliest days. The curriculum has been made accessible to rotomolders by ARM in the form of the Operator Training Program, a series of webinars discussed above.

The Foundation’s second major milestone of 2018 is the collection of proposals to fund rotomolding research projects and the awarding of $10,000 in grants this year. The funded projects will be presented at future rotomolding conferences for the advancement of our industry.

The Foundation is currently announcing the funding of a research project on the Effect of Pigment Addition Rate on Impact Strength for Dry Blends to be conducted by Dr. Nick Henwood.

The Foundation also plans to announce funding for a second project once a schedule for the research has been finalized.

We’re ending the year by sharing updates with our members on The State of ARM.

The State of ARM: Webinars

ARM concluded our year-long Operator Training Program webinar series.

Here is a complete outline of the webinars conducted as part of the series in 2018. The entire series is available on demand to ARM members on our website. It represents more than 8 hours in training for operators and new hires.

      1. What You Need to Know on Day One

      2. Venting

      3. Minimizing Waste & Contamination

      4. Parting Lines

      5. Review Session of 1-4

      6. Molds & Mold Maintenance

      7. Material Weighing

      8. Inside the Mold

      9. Mold Temperature

      10. Shrinkage & Warpage

      11. Thickness Control

      12. Review Session of 6-11

      13. Polyethylene

      14. Other Rotomolding Materials

      15. Mold Release

      16. Safety Review

      17. Review Session of 13-16

  1. Beginning November 1, ARM also began publishing Spanish translations of the webinar series. You can find the translations here. More are added at the beginning of every month.

    In addition to the operator-oriented series, ARM presents additional webinars on a variety of rotomolding-related topics. In August, ARM presented one of it’s most popular webinars yet: a discussion of the new Proposition 65 rules and how it can affect rotomolders. During the program Mike Haubert of Mosaic Roto Division of Mosaic Color & Additives answered our common questions gathered from our members about the California law that can affect anyone making a part that is sold in California. A recording of the webinar is available along with our entire library of 40+ webinars on demand for members on ARM’s website.

    During the ARM Annual Meeting, our Committee will meet to finalize plans for 2019’s webinar series on important technical and practical subjects for rotomolders.

    We’re ending the year by sharing updates with our members on The State of ARM.

The State of ARM: Wage Survey

Wage Survey

ARM’s new Wage & Fringe Benefit Study covers many of the critical elements needed to attract and retain the best staff possible. Work environment, safety, hiring procedures, training, and benefits are all important components of this package.  The final element is providing competitive compensation — particularly in a tight labor market.

If you are having trouble attracting candidates, or are losing valuable employees, it is time to reevaluate your total compensation package.  How do you know if your compensation package is competitive? One place to begin is by comparing your wages and benefits to other companies within the rotational molding industry.

The ARM Wage & Fringe Benefit Report will provide statistical information on the rotational molding industry so you can benchmark your company against others.

The Wage & Fringe Benefit Survey will provide you with the data driven results to make informed decisions about your workforce. Participants in the Wage & Fringe Benefit Survey will receive information related to:

  • Hourly wages for 17 shop floor job titles

  • Benefits (Retirement, Healthcare, Vacation, etc.)

Contact ARM staff to find out if there’s still time to submit data.

We’re ending the year by sharing updates with our members on The State of ARM.

Effects of pigments in dry mixing: What REALLY happens to physical properties?

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Dr. Nick Henwood

Many parts of the North American roto industry still rely on using dry color materials.  The main reasons for this are reduced cost and operational convenience. However, it is generally recognized that using dry color, rather than fully compounded pre-color, can result in a significant loss of material properties.  

If you’ve sat through as many ARM meetings as I have, you’ll have heard many different opinions voiced on the negative effects of using dry color and whether these effects can be mitigated.  As a scientist, my normal response to strongly held opinions is: “Do you have any data that supports this?” Unfortunately, when it comes to questions of dry color, there seems to be a dearth of hard data available to support us in making sensible decisions. Continue reading