mold builder
Volume 23 No. 4

a message from our president

speak out



Steve Rotman

Business Forecast Results

oping that everyone that attended or exhibited at NPE had a great show. I have to say that the “AMBA Night at the Ballpark” was a lot of fun! It was great to renew old acquaintances, as well as to connect with some people that I have not formally met! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, as well as get some time to see what was happening within other member shops and areas. My hat is off to Melissa, Sue, Shannon, and Kim for putting that event together! They continue to keep trying out different networking opportunities and this was another success! Be sure to check out the lead list that was compiled from the booth that AMBA had in the show. We continue to feel and hear the effects of this economy in our membership. Dear friends we have come to know and respect have fallen into precarious situations and have not been able to recover. It’s a sad day to see friendly competitors fall on such hard times. The AMBA has been looking hard at establishing value added webinars to try to help educate the mold shop business owner of ways to protect yourselves from some of the pitfalls of our industry and trade. While not a guarantee for success, the time is well spent trying to equip oneself with the very latest knowledge and facts for the different business scenarios that we continue to face. Please make sure that you check out the webinars and their content to see if you really understand every aspect of business that they cover! One positive thought from one of these webinars makes them well worth the time, and you can’t beat the price! The Fall Conference in D.C. is looming ever so close, and I look forward to seeing a great turnout of concerned citizens and owners of small business. From the conversations I have had with my local congressman, I think he is even questioning what is going on, and does the public really care! I think I know a few mold company owners and employees that do!! We have got to take the bull by the horns and be the voice of reason to these elected officials. We have the power of the vote as well as an entrepreneurial spirit that can drive

Members at NPE / MME 2009
Scholarship Recipients AMBA News

Human Resources

summer 2009

(continued on Pg 7)

2010 AMBA Annual Convention Buena Vista Palace Orlando, Florida March 21-25, 2010

“Progressive has brought us innovations that improve the “No slide should be held performance of ”our tools.” by anything else.
Steve Rotman— President, Ameritech Die & Mold, Inc., Mooresville, North Carolina Etiam dui orci — Venenatis Tortor

just because molds do the same thing over, not just clean rooms, and over, and over, but dirty rooms, too! doesn’t mean we have to.

advance tooling standards
Repetition and molds just make sense. It’s what they’re supposed to do. But that doesn’t mean that approaches in mold design should be repeated infinitely. Instead, Progressive innovations, along with progressive minded mold designers, combine to evolve and improve production tooling: • Improve mold performance with SRT Slide Retainers, Needle Bearing Locks, Collapsible Cores, Roller Pullers and exclusive mold cooling items • Reduce mold cost with Keyed Ejectors, UniLifters, CamActions, Expandable Cavities and a full line of industry standard items • Achieve total mold control with MoldTrax and ProFile software and CounterView cycle counters Join those who are evolving their tooling practices of the past. Questions? Call Tech Support at 1-800-269-6653 to discuss.



to see our components in action


Times are tough, there is no denying that. And in times like this it is important that we take advantage of every opportunity there is. The AMBA offers you so many competitive advantages. There are plenty of educational and networking opportunities. We are constantly offering webinars focused on making your business more successful. Have you attended one? If not, log in! I know it can be hard to make time in your day, but what you will learn in just an hour can be invaluable to your business. Have you taken a look at the lead list we sent out from NPE? We gathered leads at the show and sent them out to you. Contact these people! I know members who have gotten work from our lead lists, and I was amazed to hear that more often than not our members don’t contact these leads. Check out Bill Tobin’s article in this issue to get more marketing ideas. He makes some really good points! Maybe I’m biased but I think that AMBA provides the best bang for your buck. We are a strong, solid organization working toward helping the industry. Get involved! Come to our events, we are planning the annual convention now! Put it on your calendar. Attend a webinar or chapter meeting. Log on to the My AMBA section to get your lead lists. Everything you need is here…be sure you are taking advantage of it! Melissa Millhuff Executive Director Summer Business Forecast Survey Results ...................................................4 Point of View ...................................................................................................6 Plating, Coating of Molds = Longer Life ........................................................6 AMBA Exhibits at NPE / MME 2009 .............................................................8 AMBA Member Mold Shops Turn Out for NPE / MME 2009 ......................8 NPE / MME 2009 ............................................................................................9 AMBA’s Night at the Ballpark During NPE 2009 ........................................11 AMBA Educational Scholarships for 2009...................................................11 On Shore vs. Off Shore: Promotional Tactics To Get Your Business Back .14 Mold & Part Cost Estimating - Using Expert Software ...............................14 What Should You Do When a Customer Files for Bankruptcy? .................18 Steps to Take When Your Business Credit Line is Pulled ............................20 AMBA News...................................................................................................21 Member News ...............................................................................................22 AMBA Welcomes New Member....................................................................25 Chapter News ................................................................................................25 Chapter Spotlight - Carolinas Chapter.........................................................27 Partner News .................................................................................................28 News for Die Casters .....................................................................................28 Gibson Insurance Obesity Related Health Costs ...........................................................29 Plant Closing Checklist .....................................................................29 Flood Insurance Facts .......................................................................29 Human Resources Did You Know...To Furlough or Not to Furlough? ..........................31 Retaining Key Employeess................................................................31 FACTA (Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act) – Get Ready! ...32 A Dozen Ways to Prepare for Flu Absences .....................................32 Cutting Hours & Furloughs – Food For Thought ............................33 Tax & Business Get a College Education for Free ......................................................33 A Tax Law That Actually Cuts Your Cost of Doing Business ...........33 One Overlooked Business Tax Credit .................................................... 35 Managing Business Net Operating Losses ......................................36 IRS Proposes Change to Tax Treatment of Cell Phones ....................... 36 Business Success Strategies Should You Sell Your Company Now ................................................38 Ten of the Worst Networking Myths ...............................................39 Business Tips – Free Faxing Through Email ....................................40 The Birds Always Sing After the Rain...............................................40 Classified Corner ...........................................................................................43 Tech Corner ...................................................................................................43 Moldmaker’s Crossword ...............................................................................45 Advertiser’s Index .........................................................................................46

The official publication of American Mold Builders Association Leading the Future of U.S. Mold Manufacturing

3601 Algonquin Rd, Suite 304 • Rolling Meadows, IL 60008 phone: 847.222.9402 •fax: 847.222.9437 email: • website:

Officers and Board of Directors President Steve Rotman, Ameritech Die & Mold, Inc. Vice-President Mike Armbrust, Mako Mold Corporation Secretary Shawn McGrew, Prodigy Mold & Tool Treasurer Kent Hanson, H.S. Die & Engineering, Inc. Executive Director Melissa Millhuff Association Legal Councel Richard N. Mueller & Associates Board of Directors Michael Armbrust, Mako Mold Corporation Shawn McGrew, Prodigy Mold & Tool Kent Hanson, H.S. Die & Engineering, Inc. Justin McPhee, Mold Craft Robert Earnhardt, Superior Tooling Todd Finley, Commercial Tool & Die Dan Glass, Strohwig Industries Scott Harris, Harris Precision Mold Roger Klouda. M.S.I. Mold Builders Donna Pursell, Prestige Mold, Inc. Scott Phipps, United Tool & Mold Robert Vaughan, Dauntless Molds Mike Walter, MET Plastics AMBA Staff Melissa Millhuff, Executive Director Sue Daniels, Member Services Coordinator Shannon Merrill, National Chapter Coordinator Kim Cobb, Administrative Coordinator
The American Mold Builder is published four times annually in spring, summer, fall and winter by the American Mold Builders Association. Editor: Melissa Millhuff; Assistant Editor: Sue Daniels; Contributing Author: Clare Goldsberry; Layout & Design: Controlled Color, Inc. phone 630/295-9210; Publishing: Independant Print Services, phone 847-397-1701; Copy deadline: 25 days preceeding publication date. Contact AMBA at 847/222-9402 or email for advertising information, article submission ideas, or a subscription. Opinions expressed in this publication may or may not reflect the views of the Association, and do not necessarily represent official positions or policies of the Association or its members.

In this Issue:


Summer Business Forecast Showing Slight Improvement
The Summer Business Forecast of the AMBA shows slight improvement over the Spring Forecast, but companies overall are not seeing the amount of work required to boost work hours or new employees. The quarterly survey revealed that current business conditions have improved over the past three months, with 5% of the respondents saying that business is Excellent - up from just 2% in the Spring survey. Current business conditions are Good for 23% of the respondents (up from only 14% in the Spring). Fair business conditions exist for 34% of the respondents, nearly the same as Spring’s survey, and Poor for 26% (an improvement from 38% in the Spring survey). Bad conditions exist for 12% of the respondents, up just one percentage point from 11% in the Spring survey. Projections for business over the next three months show a lack of optimism among respondents with only 28% of the respondents expecting business to Increase Moderately, down from 33% in the Spring survey. However, 51% expect business to Remain the Same, compared to 35% in the Spring survey. Respondents expecting business to Increase Substantially, fell slightly from 5% in the Spring survey to 4%. Fewer respondents expect business to Decrease Moderately (13% vs. 17% in the Spring survey). There were even fewer respondents that expect business to Decrease Substantially (4% in Summer 2009 vs. 10% Spring 2009), offering a good dose of optimism. When asked to compare their company’s current level of business with that of three months ago, responses indicate some measure of stability: Quoting activity is Up for 34% of the respondents, compared to 41% of respondents in the previous survey; the Same for 37% compared to 30% in the Spring survey; and Down for 29%, the same as the Spring survey. The downturn in quoting activity might just be “summer slump” or it could be reflective of the many large OEMs that are closing plants for a few weeks to do maintenance or slow production to help reduce inventories. This would be particularly true in the automotive industry, one of the many industries the AMBA member companies serve. Shipments are Up for 25% of the respondents compared to 10% last quarter, a significant jump indicating that work in progress was being completed and shipped. Shipments stayed about the Same for 32% of respondents compared to 30% in the Spring survey; and Down for 43% of the respondents compared to 59% of the respondents in the Spring survey, indicating some positive level of activity. Backlog is Up for 24% of the respondents, a significant increase from the 11% in the Spring survey; the Same for 24% (up slightly from the 23% in the Spring survey); and Down for 52%, much less than 66% in the Spring 2009 survey. These responses would continue to indicate that much of the work that was captured has been completed, and backlogs are beginning to drop. Profits in the Summer survey are Up for 11%, a nice increase from 7% of the respondents to the Spring survey; the Same for 32% compared to 31% in the Spring 2009 survey; and Down for 58% of the respondents compared to 63% three months ago, showing some improve pricing conditions for mold companies, perhaps due to the continued fall-out of mold companies reducing the number of competitors. Employment is Up for 12% of the Summer respondents, compared to 7% of the respondents to the Spring survey; the Same for 41% (nearly the same as the 40% in the Spring survey); and Down for 47%
Respondent Percentage

AMBA Business Forecast Survey Comparison 1997-2009 Current Business Conditions






Sp r 19 ing 19 97 98 Fa Sp ll r 19 ing 19 98 99 Fa Sp ll r 19 ing 20 99 Fa 0 20 0 S ll 00 pr Su ing m m 20 er 20 00 01 Fa Sp ll r 20 ing 01 20 02 Fa ll 20 Win 02 te Sp r r 20 ing 20 02 Fa 03 ll 20 Win 0 t 20 3 S er 03 pr Su ing m m 20 er 20 03 04 Fa ll 20 Win 0 t 20 4 S er 04 pr Su ing m m 20 er 20 04 05 Fa ll 20 Win 0 t 20 5 S er 05 pr Su ing m m 20 er 20 05 06 Fa ll 20 Win 0 t 20 6 S er pr 06 Su ing m m 20 er 20 06 07 Fa ll 20 Win 07 te 20 S r 07 pr Su ing m m 20 er 20 07 08 Fa ll 20 Win 08 te 20 S r 08 pr Su ing m m 20 er 20 08 09 Fa ll 20 Win 09 te Sp r rin g 7 19 9






of respondents indicating some hiring activity compared to the 53% reporting employment declines three months ago. The current average number of shop employees actually increased by one to 21 for the Summer survey. The current average number of design and engineering employees remains at four for the second consecutive survey. Workweek hours for shop employees also increased by one percentage point to an average of 41 for the Summer survey; and for design and engineering employees the hours also increased by one percentage point to 42, back to where it was six months earlier. The number of respondents dropped considerably for this survey (29% compared to 45% in the Spring survey), and we hope that is due to the fact that everyone is getting really busy and has no time to fill out a survey. Some of the comments from respondents still show the overriding pessimism of many shops: “We are seeing a real tough road ahead for the mold building industry, especially if the trend towards anti-manufacturing/small business policies continues from our government,” wrote one respondent. Another said, “Economic conditions have hit an all-time low. Never in our history have we had so many people laid off. Profitability is at an all-time low . . . we are in survival mode.” Yet, business is fairly good for another respondent who said, “Backlog is being stretched out by customers, so even though we have a lot of work in our shop, it seems as though delivery dates keep sliding further out which makes it difficult to manage production capacity in a job shop environment.” o

Why I Joined the AMBA: “One of the big benefits of being an AMBA member is networking with other shops. For a couple of years, we were really busy and we were able to sub-contract work to other AMBA member shops that had machine time. Now, we’re on the other end. We have machine time on some of our equipment and AMBA member shops in the area are subcontracting work to us. I’ve learned some new machining processes and new technologies from networking with other shops. This is an opportunity I wouldn’t have had without my membership in the AMBA.” Ed Siciliano, President, Circle Mold and Machine Co. Inc., Tallmadge, Ohio, and president of the AMBA Ohio Chapter.



AMBA Summer 2009 Business Forecast Survey Results The AMBA Business Forecast Survey was developed to provide AMBA members with information on the current business conditions and a projection of the upcoming months. The Summer 2009 Survey resulted a response rate of 29% from AMBA members. Business remains "Good" for 23% of the respondents, and for 5% of the respondents it is "Excellent."

AMBA Members Current Business Conditions
23% 34%
Excellent Good Fair Poor Bad

Projection of Business Over the Next 3 Months
28% 51% Increase Substantially Increase Moderately Remain the Same Decrease Moderately 4% 4% 13% Decrease Substantially




Current Level of Business in Last 3 Months


Quoting Shipments Backlog Profits





0% Up Same Down

Current Work-Week Hours
50 50

Current Number Plant Employees



Plant Employees

Work Hours







10 10




Average Shop Hours

Average Design & Engineering Hours

Average Shop Employees

Average Design & Engineering Employees



Point of View
By: Todd Finley, Vice-President, Commercial Tool & Die Inc. and AMBA National Board Member First of all, I would like to say thank you for electing me to the AMBA National Board of Directors. I am honored to serve the members of the AMBA, and I look forward to doing my best to help our industry thrive in the future. I have never been one to volunteer or get involved in organizations. I have always been focused and worked to improve our company, but at last year’s AMBA Fall Conference something clicked. During the seminar I learned so much about government and our trade policies and how they affect our businesses. It really hit home that our elected officials work for us and we have to hold them accountable for their actions. I decided that it was time to get involved. Manufacturing in general, and our industry in particular, is at a crossroads. We have witnessed some unprecedented events in the last 12 months in the automotive industry with two auto companies filing for bankruptcy and being bailed out by the government. I have had a front row seat to some of the action and I have been impressed by the way the tooling industry has cooperated. The AMBA, NTMA, PMA, and CTMA were able to work together with a common voice explaining to the auto companies and Government Task Force the problems our companies face with payment terms and trickle down of payments through a distressed supplier base. My experience in the last 25 years has been that it is difficult to get two shop owners to agree on anything. Yet, through the leadership of the AMBA, we have been able to get four trade organizations representing thousand of tool companies to forward an agenda with a common voice. I have been fortunate to meet people like Craig Wiggins of T&E Capital, Ron Truant, and Ron Overton, who have worked tirelessly to get our agenda and issues to center stage and keep all of the organizations working toward the same goal. We haven’t won the war. This is a marathon and it will take patience and endurance to persevere. What we do have is momentum. Change is in the air and the AMBA is leading the way. A trade organization’s strength comes from the involvement of the membership and we need all of you to get active. Melissa Millhuff, Steve Rotman, and the AMBA Board of Directors need to hear from you so we can keep our association going in the right direction and representing your needs. The local chapters need your participation and support to make the meetings truly meaningful. I wish you all the best of luck and I look forward to seeing you at the next conference or chapter meeting. o

Plating, Coating of Molds = Longer Life
By: Clare Goldsberry Plating and coating of molds is done for a variety of reasons, but the primary reasons are for longer tool life and increased cycle times. With the economic challenges that molders are facing, plating and coatings are in demand primarily for two reasons: longer tool life and improved lubricity for faster cycle times. Gene Bianco, general manager of Progress For Industry Inc., a company that specializes in mold plating in Saegertown, PA, says they offer a proprietary nickelbased product called Dura Slick. It is a dry lubricant coating that offers a low coefficient of friction, and is the most requested coating of all the company’s products. “Dura Slick is ideal for slides and inserts and helps in the release of plastic parts,” explains Bianco. “Plus, it prolongs tooling life, prevents wear and reduces cycle time in many cases.” Bianco says that the company serves a variety of industries including medical component molds, electrical connector tooling, automotive, consumer products, and closures, and the most requested coating is Dura Slick, primarily because it contains no mold release. Dura Slick also works well on all types of tool Progress For Industry’s Dura Slick on mold steels, as well as Mold components only .0002 thickness to improve Max, beryllium, and lubricity of the mold surface. aluminum, and provides corrosion protection. To be effective, the layer of Dura Slick doesn’t have to be thick. “We start plating at .00005 or less, and can build up to .005, and we can control our plating to the nearest .0001,” says Bianco. “Often the tooling we’re working with is so precise that we have to keep the plating to within tenths so the parts remain conforming.” While many molders are used to getting flash coating with hard chrome throughout the entire core/cavity, Bianco says Progress for Industry can mask off the part and just plate the molding area. “That way the thicker plating deposit won’t affect the tolerances of the part, and it allows to build up thicker deposits on areas that require that,” he adds. Bianco notes that much of the company’s work involves mold salvage. “We can repair mis-machined areas by filling in holes or other errors with a hard nickel plating, or if someone in the EDM process removes too much stock, we can go in and build it up with our hard nickel and they can go back in with the EDM,” he says. Additionally, Bianco says that the Dura Slick product can be built up if an engineering change is required because of a plastic resin change and the shrink is different, or different release properties are needed. “It’s imperative that we have plating procedures for every steel we plate,” explains Bianco. We do pre-treatment, we have a liquid hone

Why I Joined the AMBA: “We joined AMBA because of the involvement with Congress on issues such as free trade, and their meetings with the U.S. International Trade Commission. We wanted to be part of the more local and national involvement in the issues that affect our industry.” Matt Metcalf, VP/Finance, Colonial Machine Co. , Kent, OH


facility and a glass bead facility. Sometimes that procedure has to be done with older molds that have corrosion.” The moldmaker’s role in plating When asked where along the supply chain the request for plating of tooling is generally made, the platers say it’s from the molders. However, many mold manufacturers are pro-active in plating their tooling, particularly where they see situations which might cause galling, wear or other problems with the mold during processing that could shorten tool life or add to maintenance costs. Wally Schaub, co-owner of Pro Mold & Die in Roselle, IL, says that his company plates most of the molds it manufactures, and that “about 99% of the time it’s at our request.” Pro Mold plates to prevent galling and wear, or if it involves a part with minimum draft where the molder might have trouble getting the part off the core. “In those cases we’ll tell the customer that it’s best to plate certain areas,” he explains. Pro Mold typically nitrites the lifters and slides after they’re built to prevent galling and wear. “It’s said that if there’s 10 points difference in Rockwell hardness between the slides and steel you won’t have to worry, but that’s not necessarily true,” Schaub says, “particularly on straight surfaces that are running against each other. We can achieve that hardness we need by nitriding these wear surfaces on the lifters and slides and create a surface as hard as a knockout pin.” We’ll usually suggest where there’s a minimum draft area, there should be a super slick plating,” he says. “We automatically use it for our slides and lifters, and figure this into the cost of the mold. We want the mold to run successfully at the molder’s.” o Excerpted from the May 2009 issue of Injection Molding Magazine.

Speak Out: A Message From Our President
(Continued from front cover) our voices back into our communities to make the difference in the next elections. This is a crucial time, and with all that is being changed in government, we have the largest opportunity to have a solid voice heard. We are certainly at a crossroads in the history of this nation, and for the sake of ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren, we need to make our difference known! PLEASE take the time to join us and let’s make D.C. hear the issues of small business, and manufacturing as a whole! Hoping that the automotive restructuring is well on its way, and the uncertainties that are crippling the very core of American values, has finally shown itself to be true when this issue is published. It’s time for Americans to wake up and understand what has made this country the super power that it was! Hoping that we are a part of that “change”! Keeping the Faith in manufacturing, and its absolute necessity for a robust economy! o

Why I Joined the AMBA: AMBA as an organization is the best of the best. Some of my best business decisions have come about from discussions with other AMBA members. The shared wisdom from AMBA members allows you to step away from the “world is against me” attitude, to one that “unity amongst ourselves” will allow us to compete in the global market that confronts us today. Scott Phipps, United Tool & Mold, Easley, SC

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AMBA Exhibits at NPE / MME 2009
The AMBA national office exhibited at this year’s NPE/ MME 2009 trade show in Chicago, IL on June 22-26. Our goal while exhibiting at this show was to promote AMBA members and U.S. mold manufacturing, and to speak with show attendees about AMBA membership and partnership. Show traffic was good in the new West Hall of McCormick Place, and a lead list of potential mold buyers was distributed to all AMBA members after the show.

AMBA had lots of volunteers to help staff the booth during the five-day show. Thanks to everyone who volunteered to spend time in the booth. Those who helped were: • Eric Kinter, Target Precision • John Martin, Mo-Tech • Andy Baker, Byrne Tool • Dave LaGrow, Maximum Mold • Tim Peterson, Industrial Molds • Dan Hartman, Industrial Molds • Bill Plocinski, Tri-Par Die & Mold • Cindy Humphreys, CS Tool & Eng • Mike Ramsey, YRC Transportation • Robert Vaughan, Dauntless Molds • Dave Martin, Accu-Mold Inc. • Jim Zeigenhorn, Matrix Tooling • Don Mazurek, Chicago Mold & Eng. Thanks so much to all of you for your help during the show! o

Dave Martin, of Accu-Mold, Inc., and Clare Goldsberry, Injection Molding Magazine volunteer to help staff the AMBA Booth.

The AMBA Lit Rack was also a big hit at NPE. Many companies who couldn’t be there in person purchased space in the AMBA Lit Rack, so that when prospective mold buyers came by they could peruse the rack, choose the literature Shannon Merrill, AMBA National Chapter of the companies that fit Coordinator, and Tim Peterson, Industrial their needs, and find a Molds Group staff the AMBA booth at NPE/MME. good supplier. A lot of people stopped by the booth, and the Lit Rack was quite busy. We were able to help many people who came by inquiring about a good moldmaker.

AMBA Member Mold Shops Turn Out for NPE / MME 2009
While the attendance numbers were smaller than previous NPEs, no one at the show was complaining. SPI reported that about 44,000 people registered to attend the show, some 20,000 fewer than in 2006, which meant the aisles weren’t as crowded, but those attending seemed to be the serious buyers and decision makers. Over 30 AMBA member companies exhibited at NPE / MME 2009. Many of those were in the U.S. Mold Builders Pavilion exhibiting along with the AMBA in the new West Hall at McCormick, which saw very good traffic. Many mold manufacturers were running molds in the various machinery makers’ booths at NPE as a way to showcase their capabilities and mold manufacturing expertise. Wade Clark, president of Electroform Company Inc. (Rockford, IL) was running his rotating stack mold in an Arburg machine when a glitch in the robotics caused damage to a cavity. Luckily, Clark’s laser welder, OR Laser Technologies, was in the North Hall with its laser welding equipment. Clark took out the damaged component, ran it over to OR Laser Technologies’ booth where they proceeded to weld the damage, and Clark was back in business in no time! “It’s great to have all your suppliers here too,” Clark said. Booth sharing was common at the show this year. Maximum Mold and M&M Polishing (Coloma, MI) shared booth space with PSG Plastic Service Group Inc. (Stevensville, MI). Dave LaGrow, president of Maximum Mold, said it worked out great. “We build our molds using PSG’s manifold system, so it was an opportunity for NPE to be cost effective for both companies,” said LaGrow. “We shared the expense, shared the card swiper, the water, everything, which made it affordable for both of us.” Maximum showcased its mold polishing expertise using a test plate made from Industeel’s SP300, which is promoted by Industeel as a better, more consistent alternative to P20. Maximum Mold displayed the test plate, which had a cavity cut into it, as well as different levels and logos to show that the SP300 could be polished to an A2 diamond finish. Some companies used NPE / MME as an opportunity to make major announcements. JM Mold South Inc. is now JMMS Inc. (Easley, SC) The announcement was made at the NPE 2009 trade show where JMMS was exhibiting in the Moldmakers Pavilion. (See more in Member News.) o

NPE Attendees find a moldmaker with the AMBA Literature Rack.

AMBA staff member assists attendees with brochures from the AMBA Lit Rack.


NPE / MME 2009

Additional AMBA members slated to exhibit but not pictured: A-1 Tool, Duro-Chrome, Dynamic International, FPM Tooling & Automation, General Die & Eng., Omega Tool, Inc., and Precision Industries.




AMBA’s Night at the Ballpark During NPE 2009
With so many AMBA members coming into Chicago for NPE 2009, AMBA held a Night at the Ballpark on Tuesday, June 23rd. The group watched the Chicago White Sox play against the Los Angeles Dodgers at |U.S. Cellular Field. Progressive Components provided transportation to and from the ballpark via trolley and even gave out baseball jerseys to wear! AMBA hosted a pre-game tail-gating party with grilled hot dogs, chips, cookies and refreshments. About 100 tickets were sold for this group event and we nearly filled a full section on the main level in the outfield. The weather was beautiful, and even though the Dodgers beat the Chicago White Sox, everyone had a great time!

AMBA Scholarship Committees Award Sixteen Educational Scholarships for 2009
The AMBA and its chapters awarded 16 scholarships to outstanding students whose parents work at AMBA member shops. Each year, the AMBA accepts nominations from member shops for scholarship recipients. This year the AMBA national office granted $10,000 in educational scholarships, and to date has awarded over $200,000 since the program’s inception in 1991. The Annual Scholarship Program demonstrates the AMBA commitment to education and offering members valuable benefits. Scholarship applications for next year will be available in January of 2010. We congratulate all the recipients and wish them the best of luck! The 2009 scholarship awards were given as follows:

$500 National Scholarship Morgan Hancock, a biological & agricultural major at North Carolina State University, whose father, Randy Hancock is a toolmaker at Accuchrome Tool & Mold, Asheboro, NC.

$500 National Scholarship Corey Thompson, a Spanish major at Liberty University, whose father, Don Thompson is a toolmaker at Richmond Tooling Inc. in Colonial Heights, VA.

$1,000 National Scholarship Janda McGee, a psychology major at Victor Valley College, whose father, Jeffrey McGee works at Prestige Mold in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

$1,000 National Scholarship Jason Foreman, a student at Elmhurst College, whose father, Ed Foreman is a controller at Comet Die & Engraving in Elmhurst, IL.



$1,000 National Scholarship Stephanie LeeAnn Westfall, a nursing major at Purdue University, whose father Steven Westfall, is a foreman at B&B Tool and Die, in Muncie, IN.

$1000 Chapter Scholarship Jared Okerstrom, a precision moldmaking student at St. Paul College. Photo Unavailable

NoRthERN ohio ChAPtER
$1,000 National Scholarship Joseph V. Letta, a student at University of Akron, whose father, Gary Letta is project manager at Prospect Mold in Tallmadge, OH.

southEAst MiChigAN ChAPtER
$1,000 National Scholarship Frederick N. Stevenson IV, an engineering student at University of Michigan, whose father Frederick N. Stevenson III, is a CNC programmer at Granby Mold in Wixom, MI.

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southwEst MiChigAN ChAPtER
$500 National Scholarship Stephanie Wagner, a student in culinary arts at Ivy Tech, whose father, Tom Hanson, is a moldmaker at Hanson Mold in St. Joseph, MI.

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$500 National Scholarship Jonathan Stelter, an agri-business student at Southwestern Michigan College, whose mother, Laura Smith, is Sales Secretary at Hanson Mold in St. Joseph, MI.

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$500 Chapter Scholarship Michelle Rudlaff, an Elementary Education major at Lake Michigan College, whose mother, DeAnne Blakeman is an Administrative Assistant at Quality Mold & Engineering in Vernon, IN.



$500 Chapter Scholarship Mitchell Dunham, a pre-med student at Valparaiso University, whose father, John Young, is a journeyman moldmaker at Mach Mold in Benton Harbor, MI.

$1,000 Chapter Scholarship Ryan Matson, is studying to be a Physician’s Assistant at Grand Valley State University, whose father John Matson, is a moldmaker at H.S. Die & Engineering, Grand Rapids, MI.

$1,000 National Scholarship Andrew Snow, a student at Ferris State University studying Product Design Engineering Technology, whose father Don Snow, is operations manager at CS Tool & Engineering in Belmont, MI.

wisCoNsiN ChAPtER
$1,000 National Scholarship Ryan Langenecker, studying to become an Orthopedic doctor at Carthage College, whose father Harold Langenecker, is Foreman at CDM Tool in Hartford, WI.

$2,000 Chapter Scholarship Jacob Naylor, an Engineering student at University of Michigan, whose father John Naylor is a Program Manager at H.S. Die & Engineering in Grand Rapids, MI. $1,000 National Scholarship Micah Cermak, a student at Colorado Christian University studying mathematics and business, whose father Steven Cermak, works at Dramco Tool Co. Inc. in Grand Island, NE.

For more information about the AMBA Education Scholarship Program contact AMBA at 847.222.9402 or o

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On Shore vs. Off Shore: Promotional Tactics To Get Your Business Back
By: Bill Tobin, WJT Associates Moldmakers are still asking the question: “Why are we losing mold construction business to off-shore companies?” The answer is simple: Most mold builders proudly “stand on their reputation.” This in loosely translated as: • They will not or do not know how to market their services • They rely on referrals or repeat business • New business only comes in by way of a sales rep What the off-shore mold manufacturers do that U.S. mold manufacturers don’t: 1. Off-shore manufacturers bombard U.S. companies with emails about their services, complete with photos and contact information. You know what I’m talking about: your email inbox is flooded with “Hi, I’m Sue from Lucky Moulds in Shanghai” as you and a million other people receive emails promoting Lucky’s services, and wanting to know if they can build your next mold. How many of these do we get from U.S. mold companies? “Hi, I’m Robert and I’d like to tell you why building molds in the USA with XYZ Mold Co. can improve your bottom line.” Don’t send out any emails, or only send emails to your existing customers, and there’s very little chance you’ll get any new business from any of them. 2. Off-shore manufacturers take out ads in all types of trade magazines. In fact, the off-shore shops out-advertise U.S. mold companies by almost 20 to 1! What is also interesting in this scenario is: a) the off-shore companies don’t come to the U.S. to visit these potential customers in person; b) their customers in the U.S. rarely visit them; and c) it would seem that whatever is posted in the email or on the company’s website is never checked out, verified or confirmed. Face-to-face meetings with customers and vendors are good! So, what should U.S. molders and mold manufacturers be doing to capture new business and meet the off-shore competition head-on? 1. Go to your local college and locate the School of Journalism or Mass Communications, where students are making videos (news casts, commercials, etc.) for their projects. Many schools have outstanding AV departments for their students. 2. Talk with a professor and get a recommendation for students that might be available and capable of doing a Virtual Plant Tour for you as their semester project to help you market your company. The cost will be a fraction of what a professional video company will charge, but the quality will be just as good. 3. Work with them to make a Virtual Plant Tour video showing the equipment and capabilities of your company, samples of your work, your staff, how you work with customers and your partnering abilities. You’ll never totally beat the off-shore companies on price, but your marketing advantages are: service, technical know-how, your ability to build U.S.-quality tooling on a consistent basis and your willingness to stand behind your work in the long term. 4. Once your student(s) has met with you and generated a script, you’ll find it is easy to say everything in less than 30 minutes. (The usual is about 15 minutes.)

5. Give the student(s) the artistic freedom to shoot this ‘mini-movie’ as they see fit. Remember, their grade will hinge on how well they sell the message you want to the professors at the University. At the end of the semester, they’ll get their grade and you’ll get a DVD master for a very reasonable price. Utilize this video by incorporating it into your website. Your web designer can do this quite easily, or again, you can probably find a student at the local college who can do this for you. You can also use this master to generate DVDs for less than $2 each (replicated, four-color printing of the disc, in a jewel case in very low volume), to mail out to potential customers. You say you don’t have a large data base of potential customers? Go to the trade magazines (Injection Molding Magazine, Moldmaking Technology, etc.) and purchase the use of a mailing list. Because most trade magazine “qualify” their readership by job description, you can specify who you want to receive your emails or postal mailings (tooling engineers, product designers, purchasing managers, buyers, etc.). Also look at the mailing lists for trade associations such as The Society of Manufacturing Engineers, American Purchasing Association, American Management Association. And don’t forget about the qualified “lead lists” that the AMBA collects for its members at every trade show at which they exhibit. These lists are like gold if you follow up and do your mailings! Also send out press releases referring to your website and your plant’s virtual tour to every professional and trade publication you can find. Whatever industry or market you serve, there’s a trade association and magazines that serve those industries/markets. U.S. mold manufacturers and molders don’t do enough to promote themselves. The off-shore companies do! That’s why they continue to get business and you struggle to find new customers. If you advertise and promote your company, you’ll get business. If you don’t, you can’t complain about the mold business going off-shore. o

Mold & Part Cost Estimating - Using Expert Software
By: Jeff Lambing, JDL Technical Services and Gunter Fischer, TransCat Kunststofftechnik With all the advances in moldmaking over the years with high speed machining, EDM, & CAE software, there is one area in moldmaking that has not been very innovative – mold cost estimating. It has and continues to be done much like it always has – with a well educated guess or by self designed spreadsheets based on past experience and expertise to get a reasonable method of accumulating the costs. OEM’s (not only in the automotive sector) routinely ask for cost breakdowns for the quotes they receive which can be very time consuming, and while only a small percentage of these quotations will become orders, every calculation must be detailed in order to be competitive. It is common for mold buyers to send dozens of RFQ’s to their mold suppliers overloading those responsible for mold & part estimates. This results in a lot of highly skilled workers using a greater part of their time preparing quotations for jobs that have a slim chance of turning into purchase orders. Usually the estimating staff is the most experienced and highly skilled personnel of the company resulting in huge costs to the company and a


large loss of skillful help in the operations of the business. The quality of their estimating represents a high share in the financial success of a project. Because of the high costs and huge demands on the estimating deptartment many companies will tend to try to reduce the time per calculation which can lead to misjudgments and errors in the calculation.

Fig A Customizable calculation systems can be suitable for moldmakers as well as mold buyers

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A solution for this situation is professional software that really supports the complete calculation process for molds and parts. In the multitude of software packages on the market there is only a few that really can be classified as “expert software”. Many packages are solutions in the environment of ERP systems and are database driven. In many cases manufacturing hours still have to be estimated by the user. The advantage of this kind of system is that many databases can be implied and the calculation is fully integrated into the internal company procedures. Unlike a database solution, expert software solutions derive all costs directly from the part description and the mold specifications such as materials, standards, etc. The user first enters the geometry of the plastic parts with parameters such as dimensions and special features like undercuts, surface complexities and finish. Optionally it is possible to get support in editing this data with an additional software package that analyzes the 3D model. This software will be a mix between a powerful 3D viewer and complete 3D analysis software including analysis features of typical CAD solutions. Quite often another problem during the estimating process is that the staff is only equipped with 3D viewers which are easy to use but have a lack of additional and important features. The use of a complete CAD station is not practical due to the high cost and may require a lot of user training. An easy to use conventional 3D-viewer combined with powerful analysis functions such as detection of dimensions (incl. volume, surface & projected area), undercuts, openings/insert areas, wall thickness, draft angles and other useful information that can export this information into the calculation software is of benefit as a time saver. Fig B Geometry information derived from 3D-data

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fig. B - 3d analysis software showing projected area and detected undercuts (red/green). Part geometry information taken directly from analysis software that can be exported directly into the geometry description in the calculation software will minimize manual inputs and measurements. in this example sizing for lifters and their complexity is provided. AMBA


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In addition to the mold costs the part costs can also be calculated from the part geometry and the mold features without additional inputs. The press size is suggested automatically and the corresponding press and burden rate is chosen. The cycle time is calculated automatically as information like material, volume, wall thickness, etc is pulled from part geometry descriptions. Additionally, costs for such things as additional operations, procured parts, logistics, maintenance, scrap recycling, etc can all be easily worked into the piece price. Production times & costs, and material demands - per lot or annually are also provided automatically as are overall program costs. Further advantages of purchasing an expert quoting system - plug and play – no time consuming development or maintenance by company personnel is necessary - programming work is done by experts - same calculation platform for all users – mold makers and mold buyers - well structured and documented mold quotes in a short time are possible - completely customizable to your company’s or customers unique requirements - can create more available time for your most experienced personnel to work on other more productive projects As already shown in fig A an expert cost estimating system can be successfully used by all kinds of companies that need quotations for injection molds or injection molded parts. This includes large automotive OEM’s all the way down to smaller tool shops. The results attained by the system for each will not necessarily be the same as the templates used will be customized to the unique characteristics of each particular company. For example, if your company is very strong in high speed milling machines, the technical data of these machines used in the templates will show in your quoted hours and pricing due to the efficiencies created by your use of these machines. This can be attractive for companies as they can determine prices accurately with proper benchmarking and thus know whether the target pricing produced by OEM’s & other mold buyers can be met without risk of taking on the work unprofitably. Normally, most shops may only win 2-5% of the work they have bid on. Using expert software for cost estimating will help ensure that these are all profitable wins. JDL Technical Services (Windsor, ON) – Software solutions for the molding (Quoting, Process Optimization & Capacity Planning software) AMBA members qualify for discounts with JDL products & services. o

Fig. D, The quoting procedure after the geometry is described.

In addition to the geometry of the part the calculation will require information about mold specifications, the manufacturing environment and of course the economical background. All of these influences and more can be defined individually by the user as customizable defaults or templates. These templates will include detailed information such as steels and heat treat methods used, runner system details, ejection types, water line sizing & spacing, surcharges, special costs, various hourly rates (man & machine), and many other details. It is also very important to be able to consider the manufacturing equipment used for the calculation. Different manufacturing philosophies can be influenced like whether details are milled or EDM’ing is preferred as well as machine selection among others. All the technical information and specifications of the equipment are used to generate an estimate about the manufacturing times needed. Costs for machining times will be influenced by the steel type selected and hourly burden rates as per template being used. A machine burden rate calculator is a built-in feature that is included in some software. For this purpose flexible databases are needed to have the opportunity to react to changing markets or regions. The result of entering geometry and calculation information is at first a ballpark price calculated completely automatically by the system (result shown in fig. E).

fig. E Calculation overview

Why I Joined the AMBA: There are many worthwhile reasons to join the AMBA. We joined back in 1973 as their 14th member! Participating in both nationally sponsored events and those programs offered by our local chapter has provided us with solid mold builder relationships, as well as information and solutions that are specific to the mold making industry. No other association offers that! Francine Petrucci, B A Die Mold, Aurora, IL

Further tweaking of cost generated if necessary is easily done by several section menus in which any changes are instantly summarized. Comparative quotes can be done instantly between steel types, mold types, # of cavities, different customer standards, or even by the country or location of tool build. From the calculation screen, detailed cost breakdown sheets can be exported into spreadsheets showing summary pricing, components, material, manufacturing times, machine times, and more. This information can in turn be incorporated into an ERP system if required.


What Should You Do When a Customer Files for Bankruptcy?
By: Susan Raef On April 23, AMBA sponsored a webinar titled “Protecting Your Company from a GM Bankruptcy,” led by Patrick McNally, Partner In Charge of Corporate Finance Consulting for the consulting and accounting firm Blackman Kallick, and David Kane, an attorney with the Chicago law firm of Meltzer, Purtill & Stelle.
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Since McNally and Kane presented their advice to the webinar attendees both Chrysler and General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. GM’s is the fourth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history and the largest for an industrial company. GM says it has $172.81 billion in debt and $82.29 billion in assets. If you’re selling directly to GM or Chrysler, you will face a certain set of issues. If you’re selling to GM’s or Chrysler’s suppliers that are not already in bankruptcy, your customer’s bankruptcy might come a little further down the road and you’ll face a slightly different set of issues.

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Here are some highlights from that webinar—including steps you should take if you suspect a customer is in financial trouble. Knowing what to do can help keep your company from going under in the wake of a major customer’s bankruptcy. Bankrupt … or out of business? “When GM or another company files for bankruptcy, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going out of business,” McNally explained. “Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization is a chance for the company to get some breathing space from its creditors, reorganize its operations, restructure debts like union pension obligations and hopefully come out a stronger company.” Understanding creditor classes and their priority “In a bankruptcy, the absolute priority rule separates a company’s creditors into several classes in terms of their ranking to be paid,” said Kane. “Everyone in a higher class must be paid in full before anyone in the next class is paid.” • Debtor in possession (DIP) and secured claims, that is, postpetition lenders and pre-petition secured lenders, such as banks, have the highest priority. • Administrative claims have the next highest priority. They are debts incurred after a company files bankruptcy, such as from professional service providers such as attorneys and accountants hired to run the bankruptcy as well as to suppliers. • Pre-petition unsecured creditors are near the end of the line, right before equity holders. Improving your chances of getting paid “The priority of bankruptcy claims is of utmost importance to all creditors involved,” said Kane. “While everyone gets paid according to the absolute priority rule, you might be able to improve your priority

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from unsecured trade debt to an administrative claim or a secured claim.” “If you’re an unsecured creditor, you’ll have to wait quite some time to get a distribution, and you could collect only a few cents on the dollar,” Kane cautioned. There are, however, some things you can do to elevate your claim status up to a secured or administrative claim and maximize your chances of getting paid. Tool and die liens Twenty-nine states recognize some form of tool and die maker’s lien. “Most states’ lien acts are similar in that, to the extent that you have unpaid invoices, you have a lien on the tools, mold or die as long as it is in your possession,” said Kane. “In some instances, you might be able to lien a tool even though it is in the customer’s possession. To the extent you are unpaid, you might even be able to lien products produced using that tooling,” McNally added. McNally and Kane advised that the moment your invoices are unpaid and the debtor is in default—even if you’re continuing to do business with them—you can protect your rights by filing a lien under your state’s tool and die lien act. ”Filing a lien will put you at a higher priority for payment than you would be as an unsecured creditor,” said McNally. Can you reclaim products you’ve sold to a client who files bankruptcy? Sometimes. “Under certain circumstances, if you have shipped products to the customer prior to the bankruptcy filing, and you file your claim immediately after the customer declares bankruptcy, you may have an elevated right either to payment or to get your items back,” said McNally. “Doing this quickly can move you up in priority. This is something you need to act on immediately after you receive notice of a bankruptcy filing.” Should you do business with a company in bankruptcy? “Just because a customer goes into bankruptcy, it doesn’t mean you should stop doing business with them,” McNally stated. ”Security is much higher in dealing with a company post-petition than pre-petition. “ Unsecured pre-bankruptcy, or pre-petition, debt is put on hold when a company files for bankruptcy,” McNally explained. “Unsecured postpetition debt—that is, debt such as trade payables incurred after the bankruptcy filing—is given higher priority.” Also, “Once a company declares bankruptcy, a judge, a U.S. trustee and attorneys for various committees will be watching its activities closely,” McNally explained. “If the business cannot pay its bills as they become due, it will be given a short leash so it can’t dig the hole too much deeper,” How do preferences work in a bankruptcy? To protect your rights in a bankruptcy, it’s important to understand how preferences work. “The bankruptcy code is designed to treat similarly situated creditors evenly,” said Kane. “And one of the ways it does this is through the concept of preferences. “To the extent that one creditor was paid more than another on its debt, and a creditor received a preferred payment within 90 days of the bankruptcy filing, the debtor has the opportunity to try to avoid that payment and get it back into the estate,” Kane said. “So if within 90 days before their filing bankruptcy, a customer pays your bill in the ordinary course of doing business, that payment could be considered a preference,” explained Kane. “The customer could sue you to have that money returned to the estate.”

What is your preference liability? One of the first questions you should ask yourself when a customer declares bankruptcy is, “What is my preference liability?” —that is, how much has your customer paid you within 90 days before they filed for bankruptcy? “Fortunately, there are legal defenses to preference claims,” said Kane. What should you do if you suspect a customer is in trouble? • Collect aggressively now. “Even if the customer later files bankruptcy, you might not be subject to a preference claim,” said McNally. “Also, you might have defenses to a preference claim and so might not have to return anything or be in a position to negotiate a partial settlement. However, be aware that collecting more aggressively than you typically have could affect your defenses to a preference claim.” • Don’t be afraid to ask for deposits, cash in advance or COD. “Don’t blink,” McNally cautioned. “If you don’t value your services, your customers won’t, either.” • File lien notices. Filing a lien is a simple, low-cost and effective way to elevate your payment status in a bankruptcy. • Review accounts and send default notices. Create a paper trail. • Take advantage of legal remedies in your contract. This is no longer an option once the customer files for bankruptcy. What should you do after a customer files bankruptcy? McNally and Kane advised taking these steps: • Get practical business advice. Bankruptcy laws are complex. Consult an attorney or consultant who specializes in bankruptcy if the amount you are owed is large or you have received large payments within the 90 days before your customer’s bankruptcy filing. “If you’re a creditor of a company that files bankruptcy, you will be receiving a lot of notices from the bankruptcy court—some of which may affect your rights,” McNally explained. “The bankruptcy may move along very quickly. That’s why you may need help in protecting your rights.” • Stop all collection efforts immediately. The “automatic stay” in the bankruptcy code prevents creditors from attempting to collect pre-petition debts once a bankruptcy is filed. • Determine whether to stop or complete any work in progress. How far along is the manufacturing process? Are there any other outlets for products manufactured but not shipped? Could you sell them to your customer’s customer? • Determine your right to reclaim recently shipped orders. Time is of the essence. Consult a bankruptcy attorney or financial advisor to protect your rights under the law. Have questions about how to maximize your chances of getting paid if GM or a customer files bankruptcy? Contact corporate finance consultant Patrick McNally at 312.980.2934 or pmcnally@ Contact attorney David Kane at 312.461.4325 or o


Steps to Take When Your Business Credit Line is Pulled
By: Sam Thacker During periods of tight business credit, lenders are more likely to call a note payable on demand or even find borrowers in default for minor technicalities. Business borrowers should have a backup plan ready in the event a bank pulls your line of credit. Business loans differ from consumer loans in many ways. Banks and other commercial lenders often have covenants requiring a business to meet certain performance and liquidity benchmarks. They also typically have financial reporting requirements. If you fail to meet one of these loan agreement requirements, your lender may find you in default of the loan. If that happens, the lender can require you to immediately pay the full outstanding balance due. Many credit-line loans also have on-demand provisions that allow the lender to reduce the maximum amount available with no notice or simply make the balance payable immediately. While these provisions may seem harsh, they are widely used in lending agreements throughout the United States. If your bank calls in your loan or credit line, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath and imagine you are on the other side of the banker’s desk. Lenders know that most borrowers can’t simply write a check and pay their line of credit; otherwise they wouldn’t need one. Bankers have two things on their mind: to get your loan paid off and to keep your loan off of the bank’s past-due list. That said, lenders are not likely to foreclose on the collateral unless you exhibit extraordinary signs that your business is rapidly liquidating the collateral or otherwise compromising your ability to repay. Most lenders will work with you to find a way to pay off the loan. One common technique lenders use when they terminate a business line of credit is to set up some or all of the outstanding balance on a term note and allow you to pay the note off over one to three years. This may not be a good option for you if your business still needs a line of credit, because unless the line of credit is unsecured, you won’t be able to pledge the same collateral to another lender. If your business sells to other businesses and carries accounts receivable on its books, the easiest and quickest way to replace the lost line of credit is to set up a financing arrangement with a factoring company. Factoring companies are commercial finance firms that finance your accounts receivable for a fee. Rates and terms vary significantly among factoring companies, but if you shop right, this financing method can be affordable, especially when measured against the cost of lost sales opportunities. If you choose to use a factoring company, do your homework. Make sure you read companies’ legal agreements before you agree to do business with them. Understand all the fees associated with factoring. Better factoring companies have easy-to-read agreements with few additional costs. Many companies actually find using a factoring company for their working capital is easier, albeit more expensive, than a bank line of credit. If you or your business has equity in real estate, you may be able to refinance the property and get cash out. Many states prohibit borrowers from using home equity for business purposes, so check with your state first. Businesses with real estate equity can also use a combination of two loan arrangements: a factoring line of credit with accounts receivable as collateral, and a real estate equity refinance for permanent working capital. This dual loan arrangement allows for safety cash to be

injected into the business and a working capital line of credit to be used for the future. Businesses should also consider approaching a community-based lender that works under the Federal Community Development Loan Fund program. These lenders are chartered to help create and keep jobs. Though they usually have loan limits of $200,000 to $300,000, they are often a good place to turn to if your business needs funds and a larger commercial bank is not an option. Sam Thacker is a partner in Austin, Texas-based Business Finance Solutions. o

Dates To Remember
AMBA Online Seminar - What Are Banks Looking for in Today’s Economy? August 12, 2009 - Noon-1pm Central Time Request an archived copy of this webinar. AMBA Fall Conference - Fair Trade Starts With You! September 13-15, 2009, Washington D.C. See the Event Calendar at for registration information. AMBA Annual Convention March 21-25, 2010, Orlando, FL. Save these dates! Registration information will be available early Fall of 2009.

Die/Mold and EDM Technology Expo September 16-17 - Makino’s Technical Center, Auburn Hills, MI Attendees of Makino’s 2009 Die Mold Expo will have the opportunity to gain industry leading advice and witness cutting edge machining demonstrations from Makino and other prominent companies of the die mold industry. Attendance is free. Register by calling Makino’s Auburn Hills Tech Center at (248) 232-6200 or toll free 1-800-552-3288. Plastec / Plastics USA September 21 - 24 - Rosemont, IL Medical Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis / Mid Pack October 20 – 22 - Minneapolis, MN MassPlastics 2009 October 21 - 22, 2009 - Fitchburg, MA PLASTEC West 2010 February 9-11, 2010 - Anaheim, CA PLASTEC South 2010 April 28 - 29, 2010 - Charlotte, NC




AMBA to Exhibit at Die/Mold and EDM Technology Expo
September 16-17 - Makino’s Technical Center, Auburn Hills, MI Attendees of Makino’s 2009 Die Mold Expo will have the opportunity to gain industry leading advice and witness cutting edge machining demonstrations from Makino and other prominent companies of the die mold industry. This Expo will include Speakers, Demonstrations and select manufacturers and suppliers to exhibit.

AMBA Announces New National Board Member
Justin McPhee, vice president of Engineering for Mold Craft Inc. (Willernie, MN) has agreed to fill out the remaining term of Chris Jones, who resigned, on the AMBA Board of Directors. The National Board voted Justin onto the Board to complete the term, which expires March 2010. Justin says that he believes it is important to support the mold manufacturing industry both nationally and locally. Justin has been very active in the Minnesota Chapter and also serves as the secretary of the Minnesota Chapter. We appreciate Justin’s dedication to the AMBA and to the mold manufacturing industry, and welcome him to the AMBA Board of Directors.

2009 AMBA Fall Conference Sponsorship Opportunities
The American Mold Builders Association is pleased to offer sponsorship opportunities in conjunction with its 2009 annual conference at the: Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill Washington, D.C. September 13–15, 2009 Details of event sponsorship: Silver: • Company profile included in registration packet. Registrants will have a summary of your company’s capabilities and contact information for reference after the meeting. (Literature distribution is not permitted).

• Company name will be included on sponsorship banner to be displayed during conference cocktail reception.



gold: (includes previous benefits)

• Company logo will be included in all AMBA email announcements regarding conference. • Complimentary banner ad through Fall Conference on www.
Platinum: (includes previous benefits)

• Company logo will be projected on wall during cocktail reception. • We will provide cocktail napkins bearing your company logo on them at reception. • Option to distribute company pens and paper on tables during conference meetings.
If you want more detailed information or are interested in becoming a sponsor, please use the reservation form to reserve your space or contact Shannon Merrill at (847) 222-9402; email Sponsorship Deadline: August 21, 2009. Space is limited and provided on a first come, first serve basis.

Award in the Large Shop category. The company achieved this by keeping its sales consistent and maintaining its workforce through the continued production of high quality injection molds primarily for the appliance, furniture and automotive industries. The company also emphasizes customer service and continuous improvement initiatives. Commercial Tool builds a range of specialty injection molds including gas-assist, compression and two-shot injection molds, in an average time period of 11.9 weeks. Industrial Molds Group’s True-Cut Wire EDM Division (Rockford, IL) was awarded “Best of Rockford 2009” in the Foundry & Plastic Machinery Forms category. Each year, The Best of Rockford Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses that it believes have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally and data provided by third parties. Also, to strengthen its high-speed machining operations, Industrial Molds Group has invested more than $1 million in three new highspeed machining centers. Industrial Molds Group is a high-end mold engineering and manufacturing company specializing in mid-sized, mechanically complex molds for fluid management systems, fuel and engine components and consumer products for a variety of industries. Tim Peterson, vice president of Industrial Molds Group, states, “Given the type of molds we build – the mechanically complex tooling that requires innovative, accurate solutions for our customers – these additions to our high-speed operations will provide improved capabilities for faster delivery times. Industrial Molds believe that this technology investment in our future is also an investment in our customers’ futures as well, and in the success of manufacturing.” JM MoldSouth (Easley, SC) This mold and diemaker has shortened its name to JMMS following the transfer of company ownership from its founder and president, David M. Bowers, to his son, David M. Bowers II (CEO) and daughter, Michelle Powell (COO). The brother/ sister team plan on retooling the business by implementing new marketing strategies. “We wanted to create a new brand—one that acknowledges our heritage, but communicates our next-generation approach to full-service tooling,” said David Bowers II. “Michelle and I learned the fundamentals from our father and now we’re applying those lessons, with investments in equipment and training, a global view of manufacturing, and an insistence on best practices throughout the organization. “The economy’s changing and it’s going to be hard on companies that don’t have the financial resources and capacity to evolve. We have both, so we’re investing across the board to do more business with companies that build their brands on high-quality manufacturing.” To prepare for the transition, David M. Bowers II said that the company worked with a business consultant to develop a strategic business analysis and study management’s feelings about the business as it was currently. “It was an eye-opener,” said Bowers. As a result, JMMS developed a five-year plan including a new vision, mission statement, and a plan to redesign management for the next generation. “We now have a strategic development plan that will carry us forward into the future,” said Bowers. The company has a new logo and website to announce the name and management change. While the change is good, Bowers said, “We plan on keeping what we’ve learned over the years that made us what we are today.”

What Are Banks Looking for in Today’s Economy? Webinar Archive Available
The economy has been down for some time and financing is harder than ever to get. A lack of capital and financing can severely impact your business. Contrary to what you read in the papers, banks are lending. But you need to know the types of financing that are available, what to do make your company bankable and how to present your story to lenders to maximize your chances for success. Patrick McNally of the consulting and accounting firm Blackman Kallick and Michael Moran of American Chartered Bank provided attendees to this webinar with practical advice to help you access the financing your business needs. Contact Sue Daniels at 847-222-9402 or email at for an archived copy of this webinar.

Save the Dates! AMBA Annual Convention
March 21-25, 2010, Orlando, Florida. Save these dates! Registration information will be available early Fall of 2009 o

Member News
Armin Tool & Manufacturing Co., (South Elgin, IL) which serves the closure, medical, personal care, packaging, electronic, military and aerospace industries took the Honorable Mention in the Large Shop category for MoldMaking Technology’s Leadtime Leader Award. The company’s business philosophy is quality, price, delivery and customer service, and the proof of its success is in the company’s average leadtime of 16 weeks. With 65 employees, Armin specializes in the design and build of multi-cavity, two-color, two-material, unscrewing, stack and liquid silicone injection molds. Byrne Tool & Die Inc., (Rockford, MI) a family-owned company with 15 employees that turn out molds in an average of five-to-six weeks, was the winner in the Small Shop category of MoldMaking Technology’s Leadtime Leader Award was. The company specializes in product development, mold design and build, as well as mold repair. It serves the automotive, furniture, medical and office furniture markets. Byrne Tool uses a variety of lean manufacturing strategies like Kanban, SMED setup reduction, 5S and value stream mapping to improve leadtimes by 25% over the past several years. Commercial Tool & Die Inc. (Comstock Park, MI) for the second consecutive year, won MoldMaking Technology’s Leadtime Leader


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JMMS has invested in new equipment recently including a new CNC finishing machine and new horizontal milling machine. The company has 30 employees and specializes in molds of all types from prototypes to production molds. JMMS has also installed a new OKK HM1250S Horizontal Machining Center in its Easley plant.The company now runs six OKK machines. The new OKK machining center can produce gigantic cores and cavities, with an 11,000 lb. per side capacity, making it well-suited for tooling for car hoods, fenders, doors and dashboards.According to Mike Link, regional manager for Jeffrey Manufacturing Solutions, which sold the OKK machine and handled the installation, the new machining center produces super-accurate, rigid components, with the advantages of a smaller footprint and “lights-out” manufacturing. “This investment is part of our next generation tooling strategy for continuing growth and industry leadership,” said David M. Bowers II, JMMS Chief Executive Officer. “We’re combining investments in design, manufacturing here and with our Asian partners, and mold and die services for true full-service tooling for our customers.” Mach Mold Inc. (Benton Harbor,MI), president Bill Mach was presented with the Society of Plastics Engineers Mold Builder of the Year Award. This marked the second award for Mach, who was also presented with the AMBA’s Mold Builder of the Year award on March 5, 2009. Commenting on his SPE award, Mach said, “It’s our commitment to excellence that translates to outstanding customer service, molds and fixtures that provide exceptional value for SPE Mold Making & Mold Design Division Chairman, doug hugo, Vicki Mach, and Bill our customers that Mach, SPE Mold Builder of the Year make Mach Mold a winning team.” “It’s confirmation that AMBA member shops are the best-of-the-best in the mold manufacturing industry,” said AMBA Executive Director, Melissa Millhuff. “The goal of the AMBA is to provide education, technology information, marketing and advertising, and Best Practices to all of our members in an effort to make each and every AMBA member company a winner in its own right!” Mold Craft Inc. (Willernie, MN) unveiled an innovative concept in mold design called Quick Change, at the recent NPE 2009 show in Chicago. The Quick Change concept was designed to allow for flexible productivity at reduced costs. The design innovation provides faster production changeovers, thereby reducing press downtime and at a fraction of the cost of multiple molds.

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“The custom design can hold single or multiple cavities offering a five-minute change-out of the cavity set,” stated Justin McPhee, vice president of Engineering at Mold Craft. “This is where the real benefits of adaptability and flexibility are realized.” McPhee explained that with Quick Change, the mold base stays in the press and the Quick Change Cavity Set or “dummy plates” are quickly and easily changed out for molding of different and unique parts. “This combination of reduced production down time, reduced labor for changeover and reduced tooling investments will result in significantly improved profits for our customers,” he added. The Quick Change mold base is fully hardened stainless steel with water cooling in each plate. The proprietary two-stage ejector system is activated through the standard ejector cycle to strip and eject the parts and runners. All components are fully hardened including gibs and wear plates for long-lasting production. The runner shut-off feature allows one or two Quick Change inserts to run simultaneously. The Quick Change Cavity Set is also fully hardened, water cooled, 420 stainless steel with self contained ejector system. The precision parting line guide pins and bushings reduce “A” side to “B” side mismatch within .0002”. To complement our two-stage, stripper system, Mold Craft also offers a Quick Change System with standard ejection built with the same production quality. Applications that would be ideal for Quick Change include short production runs of multiple parts where the Quick Change Cavity Sets can be quickly and easily replaced. This concept will allow for gained production time, less downtime, lower labor costs and reduced tooling costs. “Mold Craft has about a hundred Quick Change Cavity Sets working in the field,” said Tim Bartz, vice president of Mold Craft. “The two-stage, Quick Change Base will cost $33,000 which includes a prehard stainless dummy block for single cavity operation. The actual Quick Change Cavity Sets are reasonably priced by quotation of cavity detail.” Pelco Tool & Mold in Glendale Heights, IL, announced that it has received an exclusive license for Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.’s patented technology for rotating ratchet rings (RRR) in North America. Pelco will take over production of molds using the RRR technology. The company has been building molds using the RRR technology for about 12 years, and Husky will continue to supply the mold bases for the RRR tools. In RRR technology, the mold core is stationary while the finished part is unscrewed from the mold, which means there is much less wear on the mold. Other systems for molding threaded parts have a mobile core. United Tool & Mold, Inc. (Easley, SC) has announced plans for a significant expansion of its Duncan, SC facility. This expansion will also include the addition of an estimated 20 highly-skilled jobs in the mold-making industry, according to a press release issued by the company. These jobs will support the growing demands of the automotive, consumer products/appliances, trucking, and medical industries markets. Not only will the announced expansion increase the existing facility by more than 12,900 square feet, it will also allow UTM to add more advanced equipment, all under the use of a 55 ton crane. This additional space and equipment will allow UTM to meet the growing needs of customer compressed lead times, providing turn-around times that keep customers in production. “This expansion will allow us the opportunity to provide expanded service capabilities to our customers.” said Scott Phipps, president of United Tool & Mold, Inc. “As we continue to move towards our ultimate goal of a one-stop mold shop, we know this is only the first step. The additional floor space will allow us to hire more of the

highly skilled workers that our industry is known for. While we look to provide the best technologies on the market, we also know that we are only as good as our employees.” For more information, visit www. o

AMBA Welcomes New Member
Colonial Mold Inc., (Clinton Township, MI) The AMBA wants to welcome new member company, Colonial Mold Inc. Company president Richard Roberts said the company, which was founded in 1985, produces prototype and production molds, dies and secondary equipment for the automotive, household products and hardware industries. The company operates from an 18,000-square-foot facility and has 13 employees. Roberts said that the reason he joined AMBA is “To unite with other U.S. moldmakers.” We’re happy to have Colonial Mold on board! o

Chapter News
Minnesota Chapter The chapter held their annual Golf Outing on July 23 at the Oak Glen Golf Course in Stillwater, with nearly 100 registered attendees. This annual event is held to fund the Minnesota Chapter Scholarship fund. SW Michigan Chapter The Southwestern Michigan Chapter of the American Mold Builders Association celebrated their annual Graduation and Scholarship Recognition Night at Papa Vino’s on May 14, 2009.

The graduate Jason Coleman (Standard Tool & Die in Stevensville) was recognized with an AMBA Certificate of Completion in the different specialties of Journeyman Moldmaking requirements. It requires a minimum of 8,000 hours on the job training in addition to 576 hours of related college classes at Lake Michigan College to graduate.
Also honored were the winners of the annual $500 AMBA Scholarships. The winners this year were:

sw Michigan Chapter president Bill Mach and Journeyman Moldmaker Graduate, Jason Coleman (standard tool & die in stevensville, Mi)

sw Michigan scholarship winners: stephanie wagner, Jonathan stelter, Michelle Rudlaff and Mitchell Dunham.

Stephanie Wagner, whose father, Tom Wagner, works at Hanson Mold in St. Joseph. Stephanie is currently attending Ivy Tech and will be returning there in the fall. She is enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program.


Stephanie also won an AMBA scholarship in 2007. Jonathan Stelter, whose mother, Laura Smith, works at Hanson Mold in St. Joseph. Jonathan is a senior at Bridgman High School and will be attending Southwestern Michigan College in the fall. His major will be Agri-Business. Michelle Rudlaff, whose mother, DeAnn Blakeman, works at Quality Mold & Engineering in Baroda. Michelle is currently attending Lake Michigan College and will return there in the fall. Her major is Elementary Education. Michelle also won an AMBA scholarship in 2007. Mitchell Dunham, whose father, John Young, works at Mach Mold in Benton Harbor. Mitchell is a senior at St. Joseph High School and will be attending Valparaiso University in the fall. His major will be Pre-Med. West Michigan Chapter The chapter held an Awards Banquet / Meeting on May 12 in Grand Rapids. They honored their scholarship winners and their parents at their annual scholarship dinner. The scholarship committee spent many hours reviewing applications, a hard task west Michigan Chapter president Kent hanson, as all the candidates presents scholarship award at Annual Chapter were outstanding. presentation dinner and meeting.

This year with the support of many generous vendors, the chapter was able to award more scholarships, and only the most exceptional candidates were awarded. Chapter president Kent wMi Chapter scholarship winners (l. to r.): Ryan Hanson, challenged Matson, Andrew snow, Jacob Naylor, and Andrea the winners with Koster. the importance of applying the values they have formed from religion, family, school, community and charity opportunities to their future endeavors. In announcing the scholarship winners, Kent shared some of the comments and praises they had received in their recommendation letters: diligent, leader, role model, mentor, motivated, professional, courteous, always prepared, embracing educational opportunities. The winners are already demonstrating the importance of giving back to their community while juggling school and work. The scholarship winners were reminded of the importance of choosing good friends with integrity and like values who will support them, counsel them, and share in their successes and struggles throughout life. A timeless message for young and old alike. The West Michigan chapter is also hosting their second annual Golf Outing on Friday, September 18, at Thornapple Pointe in Grand Rapids, MI. All proceeds will benefit the Chapter Scholarship Fund. o



Chapter Spotlight - Carolinas Chapter
The Carolina’s chapter is led by a great group of mold manufacturers in North Carolina and South Carolina. The chapter president is Scott Phipps of United Tool & Mold Inc. (Easley, SC) who is also on the AMBA National Board of Directors; Vice President is David Meyers of Carson Tool (Kennesaw, GA) and Secretary & Treasurer is Steve Rotman of Ameritech Die & Mold (Mooresville, NC), who also serves as the AMBA National President. The Carolina’s chapter currently has 12 members – which includes a few members from surrounding states that do not have a chapter – is active both politically and with promoting moldmaking as a career through apprenticeship programs. Steve Rotman has given several presentations on the program to which his company belongs, Apprenticeship 2000. Recently he gave a presentation for Apprenticeship 2000 for Robbie Earnhardt, of Superior Tooling who is part of a Business Alliance group that includes a number of area businesses, that included Wakefield High School in Wake Forest and the North Carolina Department of Labor. The chapter meets semi-regularly, and tries to plan events that are pertinent to their businesses. They met one evening after the Eastec trade show, at which some members exhibited, and had a roundtable discussion on what the AMBA has been doing with respect to representing AMBA members in government affairs, as well as the current economic conditions. To promote manufacturing in the U.S., Steve Rotman and Robbie Earnhardt had a table at the North Carolina SPI meeting in Raleigh, where they met with legislators and tried to show them the value of moldmaking within the arena of manufacturing of the many products that were being showcased at the event. With the level of activity from the Carolinas chapter both locally and at the National AMBA level, it’s easy to see why this is a successful chapter. For more information on joining AMBA and becoming a part of the Carolinas chapter, contact Steve Rotman at srotman@amdiemold. com. o
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Partner News
OMNI Mold Systems™ LLC, (Lisbon, CT) and Target Precision, (Harmonsburg, PA) announce partnership. The companies have formed a working partnership, in which OMNI Mold Systems™ has moved its manufacturing to Target Precision’s plant in Harmonsburg, PA. Target Precision will become the manufacturer of all OMNI Mold Systems™ standard mold bases. OMNI Mold Systems will continue to stock and ship all of its standard products from their Ellington CT warehouse. “We have worked with Target on various projects for a number of years, and are very excited about this partnership” said Chris Matarazzo, OMNI Mold Systems’ President of Operations. “Their quality and attention to detail is outstanding, and that fits exactly with what OMNI customers have come to expect over the years” he continued. The new partnership will allow Target Precision to offer its customers all of OMNI Mold Systems’ standard products through their sales team and OMNI Mold Systems™ will now be able to offer its customers, complete custom mold base services through its sales team. “This partnership is going to offer both companies’ customers the best of two important choices” says Dave LaFleche, President of Sales at OMNI. “Both companies will now be able to offer everything, from off the shelf standardized products to very intricate and complex custom designed mold bases” he said. “We are very excited to finally offer a true custom mold base service to our valued customers” he went on. “We have always been somewhat lacking in our ability to be competitive, when it came to custom mold bases, but now we are proud to say that we can service all of our customer’s needs with no cost to quality”. o

News for Die Casters

$20 20th Anniversary Book Sale Visit now for drastically reduced publications. Over 30 books have had their prices cut to only $20 in celebration of NADCA’s 20th Anniversary. All discounts will appear at checkout. Membership discounts do not apply. This offer is valid through September 8th. Corporate Member Dues Cut in Half The NADCA Board of Governors has unanimously decided to reduce Corporate Member dues by 50%. This discount is applicable not only for current corporate members, but also for those companies interested in joining NADCA as a Corporate Member. NADCA has been actively responding to the economy and the affects on its member base since the last quarter of 2008. In December, the Board announced the suspension of the marketing and research and development assessments, for both corporate and individual memberships. This translated to more than 10% savings on dues, with no changes made to the benefits of membership. With the Board’s most recent decision to cut corporate dues for 2009 by half, NADCA is asserting additional efforts to be responsive to what the industry is experiencing. For any questions on membership and dues, please contact NADCA’s membership department directly at 847.808.3164. o



Every step employers take to promote healthy weight and healthy lifestyle is a step in the right direction. Taken from the Benefits Briefing (Employee Benefits News) newsletter Summer 2009. o

Plant Closing Checklist Obesity Related Health Costs
Current and expected future healthcare costs are escalating at an alarming rate in the United States, fueled in part by the problem of overweight and obesity. Medical issues caused by employees being overweight and obese are preventable, and some of the associated costs are avoidable. Employers can take action to reduce obesity-related costs, including lost productivity and increased absence from disability. Such action includes: • Share health information with employees and dependents to promote better awareness of health risks and encourage consumerism in healthcare decision-making. • Provide a range of incentives to encourage wellness and healthy lifestyle behaviors. • Improve the work environment to foster healthier habits. At least 8% of private employer medical claims are attributable to health issues caused by excess weight. Medical costs are roughly 60% of the total employer-paid costs attributable to overweight and obesity; the remaining 40% is due to paid sick leave, life insurance, and disability insurance. In addition to the medical costs associated with obesity, there are also human costs. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that obese children suffer higher levels of depression than do pediatric chemotherapy patients and report “low quality of life” at five times the rate of non-obese children. National health leaders are sounding the alarm, calling obesity the most serious public health problem we face. Employers are demonstrating strong commitment to workplace programs, even as concern about the rising cost of employee benefits increases. The body of evidencebased information to support a return on investment is growing. Research published in Preventive Medicine showed that men over 50 years old who increase their physical activity levels had significant declines in their annual medical claims which resulted in a savings of approximately $2,000 per active person annually. Employers should create opportunities and incentives for employees and dependents to increase their physical activity levels through both environmental changes in the workplace and health benefits incorporating financial incentives. It makes sense to rally around physical activity as a key strategy for reducing the cost burden of employees with excess weight. A recent Duke University study found that overweight workers had 13 times more lost workdays due to workrelated injuries, and their medical claims were seven times higher than their fit co-workers. Research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine confirms the significant negative effect of obesity on productivity: high healthcare costs, lower health status, more absenteeism, and problem relationships at work. The same research showed that the quantity and quality of work improved with increasing levels of physical fitness.

In these tough economic times, it’s unfortunate, yet more common than ever, for businesses to close their doors. Below is a list of 10 suggested actions to take to help control claim frequency and severity in the final days of a plant operation and after the plant is closed. 1. Collect contact information. Keep a current list of your managers’ and employees’ contact information - including mailing addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses. You may need their testimony to defend a claim. 2. Communicate contact information. Provide your insurance agent with the names and contact information of the people responsible for personnel files, wage information, payroll, sales audits, and power of attorney. 3. Keep employee injury and accident records current. 4. Conduct a claim review. Review prior claims to identify any issues with open claims. Discuss potential claimants and identify specific areas of the plant that have had claim issues. 5. Collect job descriptions. Make sure complete job descriptions are available for all jobs. Include job standards, average production, and production incentives for each work station. Personnel records should reflect which machine(s) an employee operated. 6. Perform a loss prevention survey. Find out when the latest loss prevention survey was completed and update it if needed. 7. Perform a noise survey. Find out when the latest noise survey was completed and update it if needed. 8. Secure a plant floor plan. Keep a current floor plan on file. Make sure it includes a diagram or blueprint of machines. 9. Take photos or video. Take photos or videotape jobs before the shut down. 10. Add a question to your exit interview. Ask employees in the exit interview if they have any work-related medical problems. Taken from the Spring 2009 issue of the Safety Net newsletter. o

Flood Insurance Facts
I know what you’re thinking. MORE INFORMATION ABOUT FLOOD INSURANCE! Unfortunately, insurance is something most people don’t want to think about until they need it. This is especially true with flood insurance since there is a waiting period before a flood policy will take effect. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for maintaining a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for each participating community. Based on where your property is located on your community FIRM, you may be in a high, moderate, or low risk


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zone which is a major part of what determines your flood insurance rate. Since the FIRM is occasionally revised and updated, it is possible that a property can change from a low or moderate risk zone to a high risk zone. This could significantly increase a property’s flood premium. If you are currently in a low risk zone, you may benefit from the “grandfather rule”. If you maintain continuous flood coverage (before a map was modified), you may still be able to qualify for the same premium as if your zone risk level had not changed. The National Flood Insurance Program will also extend this concession to a new owner if the previous owner maintained flood coverage. Similarly, if a home was built in compliance with a specific FIRM, the homeowner may still qualify for previous FIRM rates with proper documentation. No matter where you are on the flood map, it is a good idea to have flood insurance because we all have the potential of experiencing a flood. According to FEMA records almost a quarter of flood claims come from areas that are not considered high risk because rapid accumulation and runoff of rain water can be considered a flood. Don’t wait until you need coverage. By then it will most likely be too late. Taken from the Spring 2009 issue of the Insurance Advisor Newsletter. o

While it may seem as though furloughing workers may be an immediate and easy solution to cost-cutting, we urge you to do your homework before you make your decision so that you can be fully informed. You may also want to check out for additional background materials. Taken from the July 2009 HR Resolutions newsletter. Visit them at o

Retaining Key Employeess
Unless you have capable successors and employees, your closely held business may not survive your departure if key employees leave instead of adapting to the new owners and management. Therefore, a business succession plan should be in place and contain strategies to identify, retain, and reward key employees. There are numerous methods for retaining and rewarding a key employee’s commitment, loyalty, and hard work. The most effective incentives are usually monetary and include, but are not restricted to, the following types of incentives. Incentive stock options. Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) can provide key employees additional compensation through the opportunity to share in the appreciation of the company’s stock value. ISOs are usually granted to the employee at no cost with an exercise price at or above the stock’s current market price; however, they might have alternative minimum tax implications. Nonqualified stock option. A nonqualified stock option (NQSO) is an option that specifically states it is an NQSO or one that does not meet the requirements of an ISO. Like an ISO, you can use an NQSO to provide key employees additional compensation through the opportunity to share in the appreciation of the company’s stock value. Restricted stock. A restricted stock plan transfers stock to an employee subject to certain restrictions. Often, the shares are transferred to the employee at little or no cost, but are subject to forfeiture if the employee fails to fulfill the terms of the plan. A common restriction requires employees to forfeit their shares if they terminate employment within a certain number of years. Stock appreciation right (SAR). A stock appreciation right (SAR) is the right to receive compensation based on the increase in value of a specified number of the employer’s shares of stock. When an SAR is exercised, the company usually pays the employee cash equal to the stock’s appreciation, although payment can be made in shares equal in value to the appreciation. Because the employee does not have to spend any cash to benefit from the plan, he or she may prefer an SAR to a stock option, which often requires cash to exercise. However, the employee does not receive any dividends paid on the company’s outstanding shares with an SAR. Please contact your accountant to discuss the characteristics and tax aspects of these plans. Taken from the November 2008 issue of the Tax & Business Alert. o

Human Resources
Did You Know...To Furlough or Not to Furlough?
Employers continue to search for ways to lower their overhead and contain their costs and often look first to cut wages. Payroll is often the first target and one option often entertained is to furlough workers. In a recent article from SHRM, the subject of furloughing workers came with a word of caution. One word of caution comes from the confusion of the term itself. “The word furlough is used by different people to mean different things,” noted Attorney Gerald Hathaway, of Littler Mendelson’s New York office. “To some it means taking a day off once a week. To others, it means a rotating one-week layoff. To still others, it means an unscheduled (until now) plant wide shutdown of a fixed period. There is no general, universally accepted definition.” Along with the confusion of the term itself, points of caution raised by SHRM were focused on wage and hourly employee issues, possible unlawful discrimination, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requirements and possible labor relations challenges to benefits issues. So, while the cost savings of the furloughs may give a short-term help to the employer, it’s important that those savings not be jeopardized by legal costs if compliance risks aren’t considered upfront. In addition to the issues noted above, employers should know that there are many details that relate to furloughs. For example, a furloughed worker should not perform any work-related activities during the time of the furlough - including checking emails!

Fall Conference Testimonial The Fall Conference in Washington, D.C. was a great move in empowering the members that the competitor might not be overseas, but in Washington trade policies, and we need a strong and compelling voice. We need to learn how to play politics. Sean Shafer, Makino





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By: Karla Dobbeck, PHR, Human Resource Techniques

Holder Steel for improved plastics mold tooling

FACTA (Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act) – Get Ready!
According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are several steps employers should take now in preparation for the sweeping FACTA rules that will soon apply to many, if not most, employers. Below is a partial list. • Check references or do background checks before hiring employees who will have access to sensitive data. • Ask every new employee to sign a confidentiality agreement and security standards for handling sensitive data. • Make sure employees understand that following your security plan is an essential part of their duties. • Regularly remind employees of your company’s policy—and any legal requirement—to keep customer and employee information secure and confidential. • Know which employees have access to consumer and/or employee sensitive personal information. • Pay particular attention to data like Social Security numbers, addresses, license and account numbers. • Limit access to personal information to employees with a “need to know.” • Make sure that workers who leave your employ or transfer to another part of the company no longer have access to sensitive information; terminate passwords, collect keys, change file names, etc. • Have a system in place to destroy outdated files and anything else containing personal or credit information. • Check out vendors before releasing personal data. Taken from the May 2009 issue of Ei Ei Oh! HR Newsletter. o

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A Dozen Ways to Prepare for Flu Absences
If you have been listening to the news, you are aware that a new strain of flu is rapidly infiltrating the country. The number of suspected cases grows each day. As an employer, there are steps you can take to ensure that your workplace remain as flu-free as possible. 1. Provide small bottles of hand sanitizer to each employee. They can be found in most discount stores and/or pharmacies. 2. Post the symptoms so your employees will know what to watch for in family members. They include: o Fever o Lethargy o Lack of appetite o Coughing o Possibly runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. 3. Let employees know that if they are sick, they should STAY HOME! 4. Allow for excused absences due to the flu in your attendance policy.

10/23/08 1:33:02 PM

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5. If an employee calls in with the flu, require an employee either bring a Dr. note indicating he/she is no longer contagious. 6. If an employee merely calls in sick, require a Dr. note or require the employee sign an affidavit stating that they have no symptoms before allowing the employee to return. 7. Encourage your employees to stay away from crowded venues. 8. Ask parents of young children to re-think sporting events for the kids this season. 9. Accommodate a parent’s need to stay home with children who are ill. 10. Allow employees to use paid vacation time in lieu of unpaid absences. 11. Put supervisors on alert to watch for employees who might be ill. 12. Create a contingency plan to cover work should the flu hit your facility. Decide now how you will manage to get the work out. You might not be able to avoid absences due to the flu completely but if you take precautions, you might be able to limit its affect in your workplace. Taken from the May 2009 issue of Ei Ei Oh! HR Newsletter. o

Tax & Business
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It’s no big secret that a college education can cost you or your children years of debt. But guess what? More and more universities, and not just the U.S. military academies, are now offering some students everything from free tuition to free room and board. Check out some of the sweet deals offered by these unique universities. 1. College of the Ozarks - Students pay no tuition in exchange for at least 15 hours a week at a campus work station at this top liberal arts school in the Midwest. 2. Deep Springs College - This two-year, all-male liberal arts college in California offers free tuition, room and board in exchange for at least 20 hours a week of hard work on its ranch. 3. Berea College - This Kentucky college provides a full-tuition scholarship to every student, in exchange for at least 10 hours a week in one of the school’s 130 labor departments. 4. Olin College of Engineering - One of the top undergraduate engineering programs in the country, this school provides every admitted student free tuition for four years. 5. Cooper Union - Located in Manhattan, this school offers degree programs in art, architecture, and engineering, and every admitted student receives four years of free tuition. Other more specialized schools with similar deals include: Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky, the City University of New York’s Teacher Academy, and UC-Irvine School of Law (this year only) in California. Taken from the 1st quarter issue of the Homes & Money newsletter. o

Cutting Hours & Furloughs – Food For Thought
Over the past few months, HRT has received many calls regarding how to best cut hours and what to keep in mind when doing so. This article addresses some of the key items to keep in mind. 1. Unemployment – employees may or may not be able to collect partial benefits depending on a number of factors that are individual to each employee. To learn at what point an employee may be entitled to partial or full benefits, each employee should meet with their local u/c office. 2. Benefits – most group insurance plans have a ‘minimum hours’ requirement so before cutting hours, check to see the number of hours your individual plan requires. Your insurance carrier or your plan application will have the information you need. 3. Exempt staff – the law requires that exempt employees receive the same salary each week that any work is performed. At the same time, employers can cut salaries or place move their exempt staff to an hourly wage. Another option is to require a certain number of days off during a set period such as a quarter or a month. For this option, employers can recalculate the salary taking into account the number of days off. This third option leaves the employees’ base salary intact since when the furlough ends, the rate returns to the original rate. 4. ERISA – if you have a retirement plan, the law requires that any employee who has been with the company for at least 1 year and who works 1,000 hours be included. The minimum age requirement is 21. 5. COBRA – the newly enacted stimulus rebate for COBRA only applies to an involuntary termination of employment. It does not apply to an employee whose hours have been cut so if cutting hours is something your company is considering, take into account how your employees will be able to continue to meet their premium obligations. Taken from the June 2009 issue of Ei Ei Oh! HR Newsletter. o

A Tax Law (Captive Insurance) That Actually Cuts Your Cost of Doing Business, While You and Your Business Enjoy TaxAdvantaged Benefits
By: Irving L. Blackman, President of WCPN, LLC and chairman of the board of the New Century Bank The Internal Revenue Code is not a friendly creature. It is designed to “taketh” your money; “giveth” is not in its vocabulary. Yet, there is a section of the Code [Section 831(b)], dealing with captive insurance companies (Captives) that when properly used, is primarily an income tax-saving machine for your business and can be structured to offer taxadvantaged benefits that create wealth for you (or even your heirs). A real tax winner. About 80% of the Fortune 500 take advantage of the Captive benefits. But much smaller businesses can join the tax-saving/wealth-building fun. If you own all or a part of a business, listen up, you’ll love what you are about to read.



Note: The Obama administration has made it clear: Income tax rates on high earners are going up. As you are about to learn, a Captive is an especially welcome friend in a rising-tax-rate environment. It’s difficult to find a CPA or lawyer who has even heard of Captives. The few that know Captives exist (like yours truly for many years) don’t have a clue of how to take advantage of the many benefits offered by Captives for family owned businesses or small public companies. Just what is a Captive?… First and foremost it is a bona fide insurance company, an insurer established to provide coverage for the company or people who founded it. An example is the easiest way to explain Captives. First, a simple example: Joe owns Success Co, which has some “uninsured risks” (explained in greater detail later) that his current property and casualty insurance (PCI) company will not insure. Joe creates New Co. (a Captive), a corporation, which is an insurance company (covering Success Co.’s uninsured risks). The stock of New Co. is owned by Joe’s children. Now for the fun part. Suppose the insurance premium for the uninsured risks are determined (professionally by a consulting actuary) to be $500,000 per year. Success Co. pays the $500,000 premium to New Co. The entire premium is immediately deductible by Success Co. like any other PCI. You’ll like this: Under the Captive rules, all of the $500,000 is income tax-free to New Co. Say Success Co. is in a 40% tax bracket (state and federal combined). Success Co. is only out of pocket $300,000 ($500,000 less $200,000 in tax savings). New Co. has the entire $500,000 to invest. A good start. But remember, New Co. is a Captive and must hold the $500,000, plus earnings as a fund to pay potential claims for the risks it insurers. Next, let’s explain “uninsured risks.” Every business has risks: some insured, some uninsured. The most common risks – like workmen’s compensation, vehicle, property and general liability – are transferred to a third-party (your traditional property and casualty insurance carriers) and are insured risks. Now let’s list some typical “uninsured risks,” the kind that you can’t buy coverage for in the traditional insurance market (as you scan down the list below, check off those that apply to your business): • Litigation defense/asset protection • Loss of a key customer • Loss of a key supplier • Change in a law/regulation/ruling • Product warranty • Product liability • Professional liability • Strikes/labor problems • Traditional policy exclusions/deductibles • Employment practices The list could go on and on. You probably have one or more uninsured risks peculiar to your business. Go ahead, add ‘em on. Let’s face it, your business is self-insured for all of the above risks, either by choice or because the risk just can’t be insured commercially. A Captive reduces the amount needed to fund such possible future losses. How?… The premiums paid to your Captive are immediately deductible. There are many more ways that the use of a Captive can save your business significant insurance costs.



Following are two (of dozens of possible) examples: Example #1. You own a new (or very up-to-date) building in an area with “zone coverage.” Your building is in total compliance with stringent building codes. Many older buildings in the zone are not complaint. Your building can obtain lower rates from your Captive if you can show that your building is a better risk than the Zone’s rating. Example #2. Success Co. pays premiums to the Captive to insure for litigation defense, strikes and product warranty. Remember with a commercial insurance company (CIC), if the insured has no losses, the CIC keeps the entire premium. No refunds. Even though a Captive cannot reduce (actuarially determined) premiums, a financial windfall results (unused reserve) if the insured’s actual losses are less than actuarially predicted. For example, suppose Joe’s Captive (New Co.) has an unused reserve. A portion of the unused reserve can be (a) refunded to Success Co.; (b) reduce future premiums; or (c) paid to the Captive’s shareholders (Joe’s children) as a dividend. Three nice fringe benefits. There are a number of other what I call “fringe benefits” to a Captive structure. Following are a few: (a) Someday liquidate your Captive and take out the unused reserve at capital gains rates; (b) have the Captive invest a portion of its reserve funds to pay premiums for life insurance on the Captive’s founder or his family members (in effect, deducting the life insurance premiums); (c) use the Captive as an estate planning strategy, passing the Captive (and any life insurance proceeds) to your heirs. Make no mistake, your Captive must be formed and operated for a business purpose. The Captive must demonstrate that it is, in fact, acting as a proper insurance company. Follow the rules and the IRS is not a problem. Try to fool the IRS by forming your Captive to take advantage of only the tax-advantaged fringe benefits, without a real business purpose, is almost certain to cause the loss of the sought-after benefits. No attempt is made in this article to explore all the rules, traps and opportunities in forming your own Captive. It is essential that you work only with qualified, experienced advisors that specialize in Captives. The right advisors can easily tailor your Captive to fit you, your business and your circumstances perfectly. Now the key question: Is a Captive for you?… If costs were not an issue, the answer would be a resounding ‘YES’ for almost every business. Unfortunately, costs are a factor. For a Fortune 500 company, it’s a slam dunk: The insurance cost savings and tax-benefits are well worth the required costs to create and administer a Captive. If you can answer ‘Yes’ to any of the following questions, you should strongly consider forming a Captive: 1. Is your before-tax profit $1 million (or more) per year? 2. Are your traditional insured property and casualty expenses $1 million (or more) per year? 3. Is one (or more) of the “uninsured risks” listed above (or one you added) a significant factor in your business?… and worth a premium of about $200,000 a year (or more)? Logic tells you that the larger your business, the more likely a Captive should be a top priority for your next year’s business plan (i.e. make $1 million – before-tax – or more, Captive is a must). Costs are easily covered by Captive benefits. But what about smaller family businesses?… The answer can be ‘Yes’

with a new strategy the experts have perfected, if your before-tax profits are in the $250,000 per year range. Benefits are the same as for a larger company but costs are substantially reduced. What, you are even smaller?… well, we need your help. Show this article to the decision maker(s) of your trade association. Have your trade association adopt a Captive program… then you and the other members can participate. The cost is minimal. Finally, if you are lucky enough to be a Florida resident and your business is located in any other state there is a little known – legal – tax strategy that enhances your tax savings. How can you learn if a Captive will work for your business? Please fax the following (on your company letterhead) to 847-674-5299: Your name, title, type of business, total number of employees and any other information you think would be helpful. Also include all phone numbers where you can be reached (business, home, cell). Please mark “Captive” at the top of your fax. o

One Overlooked Business Tax Credit— The Work Opportunity Tax Credit!
In today’s economy, the concept of “squeezing every dollar” has become a necessity. Businesses are looking for ways to cut expenses so that they are not only competitive, but also to keep the doors open. Looking at the federal government as a source of extra money is not often a business owner’s first choice. However, there are several programs designed to provide businesses with tax incentives in hope of getting the economy moving again. One such program is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program. Often referred to as WOTC, this program is one in a set of strategies put forth by Congress that is designed to move certain disadvantaged people into gainful employment and obtain on-the-job experience. As the name implies, WOTC is a tax credit, which means a dollar-fordollar reduction of a tax bill. As a credit, WOTC allows corporations or individuals to increase any tax overpayments or decrease tax bills. For S corporations and partnerships, the credit will flow through to the shareholders or members, increasing their potential refunds or reducing the total amount due. WOTC applies to employers who supply their work force with newly hired people who fall into one or more of 12 target groups. These groups range from ex-felons and recipients of various types of public assistance to summer youth employees, disconnected youth and even veterans of the armed forces returning to employment. Employers who hire from these target groups are eligible for substantial federal tax credits. For example, each new summer youth hire could potentially generate a $1,200 credit, each new adult hire could generate a $2,400 credit and a disabled veteran hire could generate $4,800 of credit. Obtaining WOTC is essentially a two-step process. The first step involves preparation of two forms, IRS Form 8850, and either U.S Department of Labor Form 9061 or 9062. The most difficult step is to have the new employee complete page 1 of Form 8850 by the day the offer of employment is made. If the applicant is able to check any of the boxes on page 1, the applicant will sign page 1 and return it to the employer. The employer has 28 days from the date the applicant is hired to fill out page 2 of Form 8850 and have the employee complete Form 9061 or sign Form 9062. Form 9062 is used when the applicant has been conditionally certified by a state work force agency or other participating agency, Form 9061 is used for everyone else. Once Form 8850 and Form 9061 or 9062 are complete, the employer


mails the forms to the appropriate state work force agency, which reviews the applications and determines if the applicant qualifies as a member of one of the target groups. Please note that these forms are not mailed to the IRS or the U.S. Department of Labor. Once this certification is received from the state work force agency, the potential credit has been established. The second and final step in the process of qualifying for the WOTC is for the employee to meet the minimum number of hours worked requirement. Each target group has different requirements. For example, all new adult employees must work a minimum of 120 hours, while summer youth employees must work at least 90 days from May 1 to September 15. Once the minimum requirements have been achieved, the employer is entitled to claim the WOTC on their next income tax return. Claiming WOTC is an effective way for employers to generate tax credits and produce larger tax refunds. Still, most employers do not realize these benefits when they hire new people. Many employers believe the process is too complex. A little administrative effort could go a long way toward reaping some very large benefits. As an alternative, many payroll processing firms and other employment consulting firms will process all the paperwork for a fee (generally 15% to 20% of the potential credit). For further information, please contact your tax representative. Taken from the July 2009 Tax Highlights from Blackman Kallick. o

must be made and the computations can grow quite complex, depending upon your particular circumstances. So, please contact your tax advisor to discuss how a business loss might qualify as an NOL and turn into a tax refund to supplement your cash flow during this difficult economic period. Taken from the January 2009 issue of the Tax & Business Alert. o

IRS Proposes Change to Tax Treatment of Employer-Provided Cell Phones
As cellular telephone technology continues to evolve, many employers and employees are finding the tax substantiation requirements for employee-provided cell phones increasingly cumbersome. Recently, the IRS issued Notice 2009-46, which aims to change the substantiation requirements for employee-provided cell phones. Advocates of the proposed simplified substantiation methods argue that technological advances have rendered the current rules obsolete. The Internal Revenue Code currently disallows a percentage of expenses, based on personal usage, related to employer-provided cell phones as nondeductible (or a taxable benefit to the employee) and classifies the cell phones as “listed property.” This classification limits the deduction allowed for depreciation expense on the cell phones to the percentage used for business. For example, an employer-provided cell phone used half for personal use and half for business use would allow the employer to deduct only 50% of the current year’s related expenses and depreciation expense for tax purposes. While the concept is fairly simple, the application is not. In order for the employer to claim any deductions related to business use, the individual employees must substantiate the amount he or she used during the year for business as opposed to personal use. This requires the employee to go through all phone bills in detail and classify which calls fall into each respective category. Further complicating the matter is the advent of text messaging and the ability to link e-mail to cell devices, making the determination of a business use percentage even more difficult and time-consuming, if not impossible. Notice 2009-46 was issued on June 16, 2009 and asked for input to simplify compliance. The Notice provided the following three potential simplified substantiation methods currently under consideration: 1. 2. 3. Minimal Personal Use Method Safe Harbor Substantiation Method Statistical Sampling Method

Managing Business Net Operating Losses
Poor economic conditions and the need to control expenditures, particularly during tough economic times, are obvious. But, the anemic economy has also impacted small business owners, many of whom may have an operating loss for 2008. That’s the bad news. The good news is, if your business sustained an operating loss, you may be able to benefit from carrying what is called a net operating loss (NOL) into a different tax year—a tax year in which you had or will have taxable income—and take a deduction for the current NOL against that different year’s taxable income. This is what is known as taking an NOL deduction, which could result in a refund of previously paid taxes (or a reduction of future taxable income). Generally, an NOL can be carried back two years and forward for up to 20 years to offset taxable income in those years. The NOL first offsets taxable income from the previous two years (the earliest year first), and is then carried forward to offset taxable income in future years. The initial result is a refund of all or a portion of the taxes you paid for the two prior years, limited by the amount of the NOL. There are more advantageous rules for treating NOLs arising from special situations. For example, a three-year carryback applies for NOLs sustained by small businesses and farmers and arising from federally declared disasters, no matter when they arose. A special fiveyear NOL carryback is available for farming losses (whether or not related to disaster areas) incurred in tax years after December 31, 1997. Finally, for NOLs in tax years beginning after 2007, there is a special five-year carryback period to the extent of a qualified disaster loss occurring in a federally declared disaster area before January 1, 2010. These extended carryback periods allow taxpayers the opportunity to receive a quick refund of taxes paid in several prior years versus waiting to carry the NOL forward. In determining the amount of your NOL, you don’t simply use your negative taxable income from your tax return. Several modifications

Each of these proposed methods would remove cell phones from being classified as listed property and would simplify the process of determining a business use percentage for deducting related expenses. The specifics of each method are described below. 1. The Minimal Personal Use Method would allow the employer to deduct 100% of cell phone-related expenses given that personal use of employer-provided cell phones is “minimal.” Under this method, the employee would be required to either substantiate that he or she maintains a separate cell phone for personal use or adhere to keeping personal use minutes under a specified amount deemed “minimal.”






Mogadore, Ohio 330-794-1716 800-321-0983 Fax: 330-733-7189

Grand Rapids, Michigan 616-453-2400 800-962-4140 Fax: 616-453-2929

Spartanburg, S. Carolina 864-595-1025 800-998-1025 Fax: 864-574-4140




The Safe Harbor Substantiation Method would allow employers to deduct a specified percentage of expenses related to all employer-provided cell phones regardless of actual business and personal usage amounts. Currently, the IRS and U.S. Treasury are proposing a 75% deduction. The Statistical Sampling Method would allow employers to measure the personal and business use of an employee using statistical sampling techniques to determine a percentage of use that could then be applied to all employees to calculate the deductible amount of related expenses.

Business Success Strategies
Should You Sell Your Company Now
By: Richard Tanner, Ownership Advisors, Inc. Should you sell your company now? Not only does the answer depend on you (how much fire you’ve got left in your belly) and on your exit goals (can a sale achieve your retirement needs?), it also depends on what you’ve got to sell, what industry you are in and M&A market conditions in your market segment. Let’s look at each. What are you selling? There are several characteristics (that we call “Value Drivers”) that buyers look for when deciding whether to buy (or pay a premium) for a company. These include: • Stable, motivated management and a high-performing workforce. • Systems that sustain the growth of the business. • Realistic growth strategies. • Effective and documented financial controls. • Appearance of facility consistent with asking price. • Growing cash flow, profitability, revenue and sales. • Protected proprietary technology. • Attractive business sector. Niche industry: Buyers look not only to your company’s Value Drivers, but also to whether your business is in an attractive business sector. In today’s economic climate, business sector alone may determine if your company is saleable. According to investment banker Kevin M. Short of Clayton Capital Partners, today’s buyer is looking for companies in the following “niche” industries: • Energy • Healthcare • Technology • Infrastructure • Consumer staples Non-niche industries would include: retail, financial, home-building or those related to consumer discretionary products or services. Market conditions The M&A market for multi-billion dollar companies is tenuous, but the market for well-prepared, well-positioned (in a favorable business sector), and well-performing companies in the $5 million to $150 million range is healthy. Valuation multiples are likely lower than those during the boom part of the cycle, but solid companies can still receive a solid valuation — and there is financing available for these transactions in this marketplace. If you and your company are ready to sell, let’s look beyond the hysteria to the facts: Private Equity Groups (PEGs) have hundreds of billions of dollars available to acquire operating companies. These PEGs are looking for profitable companies in the $5 million to $150 million range. It is most important to collect and evaluate your industry’s market data before eliminating this option. If your company is worth less than $5 million, what are your options? First, assuming that the current storm is more than you can stomach,


Also included in the notice is a stipulation that employers wishing to use any of these methods would be required to implement a written policy defining the method to be used and any subsequent employee requirements. In addition to these three methods, employers would also have the option of continuing to treat employer-provided cell phones and their related expenses as currently defined in the Internal Revenue Code Taken from the July 2009 Issue of the Blackman Kallick Tax Highlights. o

Subscribe to The American Mold Builder
The official publication of the American Mold Builders Association. It will keep you up-to-date with the latest moldmaking industry news, and management solutions. Subscriptions are free with AMBA membership or may be purchased for $50 annually. (shipping & handling included). Visit to subscribe today!

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you have a solid company and an earlier-than-planned departure does not affect your retirement goals, you can pursue a sale. With local bank financing still available for good acquisitions, your company may very well be someone else’s target acquisition. Your job (and that of your advisors) is to make your company as attractive as possible by paying close attention to the Value Drivers described above, and creating and implementing a short-term action plan to increase each driver. In addition, if conventional financing is not available to a buyer, financing is available under the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan guaranty program. This loan guaranty program can be used to acquire businesses, with loans of up to $2 million. The Obama team has promised to increase the loan limit and temporarily suspend all SBA loan fees. The bottom line is that financing, especially for “smaller” companies may be more available than you think. If that is indeed the case, does it affect your decision to sell or stay? If you decide to sell… No matter the size of your company, if you decide to sell, you must do so in a way that leaves no money on the table. This means that you must make it as attractive as possible to buyers (see Value Drivers above) and that you must retain a transaction advisory team skilled in sales of companies like yours. We can help you find these skilled advisors. Subsequent issues of The Exit Planning Review™ discuss all aspects of Exit Planning. The provider of this Newsletter (Richard Tanner) offers you unbiased information about what you may need to know — How To Run Your Business So You Can Leave It In Style™. o

Ten of the Worst Networking Myths
By: Liz Ryan Some people just have a knack for getting out and meeting many kinds of people and building meaningful relationships. They see the value of how interacting with others increases their knowledge and creates opportunities. Conversely, so many other people stifle themselves by creating excuses for staying in their shells. Here are ten of the worst myths about networking and their current, more sensible replacements that will help see the light to an important and valuable social activity. 1. Networking means meeting as many people as you can. If possessing a huge stack of business cards or having met every business person in your city was a ticket to riches, this might be true. But it’s not. Networking gives you a chance to meet new people, but quality trumps quantity in human relationships, every time. 2. Networking means telling people about your business whenever you get a chance. There’s nothing wrong with letting the folks at your gym, at your place of worship, and at your book club know what you do for a living. But people will quickly forget the details of your professional life. What they’ll remember is you -- if you approach them with a desire to learn about them, as well. 3. Networking is hard work. It may be that you’re working too hard. Networking happens naturally if you introduce yourself to people, stay in touch with people you’ve met, and think, in every interaction, “How could I help this person?”



4. Networking should start when you’re job-hunting. If you get the call that you’ve been selected to compete on “American Idol,” it’s too late to start an exercise program or go on a diet. When you’re out of work, it’s a bit late in the game to start networking toward your next job. If you have to start then, do it; but it’s far better to start networking now, and build contacts for the job search that will inevitably come your way if you’re a working person who isn’t close to retirement. 5. Networking is for schmoozers. Schmoozing is by far the least important networking skill. Good listening is far more useful to a relationship-builder than the ability to spit a thirty-second elevator pitch into someone’s face. 6. Networking is only for entrepreneurs. If you don’t believe that having business contacts and experts at your disposal would be useful for you as a corporate person, talk to any top business leader and ask his or her opinion. It’s essential to be connected to other professionals, not just for “it’s-who-you-know” reasons but in order to get perspectives on your business and career issues that are different from your own. 7. Networking is a waste of time. Your networking time will surely be wasted if you approach each interaction as an opportunity hawking your wares. Ditto if you believe that your job as a networker is to tell every person you meet all about your job search and express no interest in him or her. If you can get past these bad networking ideas and cultivate some relationships, your time will be well spent. 8. Networking is expensive. Joining a Yahoo! group is free. The popular networking site LinkedIn has a free membership level and 15 million users. Plenty of face-toface networking events in your town will cost you nothing more than parking or bus fare. 9. Networking is phony. If you go to a party at your sister’s house and meet her boyfriend’s dad, is your conversation phony? Networking conversations need not be any different than any other interactions between new acquaintances. It’s up to you. 10. Networking is a thing of the past. Person-to-person relationships are more important in business than ever. If anything, networking is a thing of the future. Liz Ryan is a 25-year HR veteran, former Fortune 500 VP and an internationally recognized expert on careers and the new millennium workplace. She is the author of “Happy About Online Networking,” a popular speaker on workplace and work/life topics, and the leader of the global Ask Liz Ryan online community. Contact Liz at liz@ o

Business Tips – Free Faxing Through Email
Tired of maintaining a fax machine and a fax line? MyFax is an online service that allows you to send and receive faxes through email, and it now has a free version: This free version lets you: 1.) Send two faxes per day for free 2.) Fax documents up to 10 pages in length 3.) Send MicroSoft Word documents, PDFs, and files in 175 other formats Simply go to: Enter your contact information and the name and number of the person to whom you want to send a fax. Easy! o

The Birds Always Sing After the Rain
By: Joe Schmieder, of the Family Business Consulting Group Do you remember the Y2K crisis? During the final years of the 1990s there was such concern over the “embedded computer software” switchover to year 2000 that people spent billions of dollars on capital goods to prepare for this transition. Surprise, there was no catastrophe. The vast majority of systems transitioned smoothly. All that capital spent on technology and office support in the years leading up to 2000 led to an abrupt spending decline on officerelated goods. A devastating 40% drop in revenues over an 18-month period revealed the house of card models of many upstart technology companies, leading to the very painful bursting of the tech bubble. This rapid falloff in technology companies affected other sectors of the economy, like commercial real estate and office furniture. But unlike the current economic crisis, it did not affect the entire economy. Nevertheless, there are some important lessons to learn from that free fall experience. Back in 2000 I found myself and the family company I was running in the midst of this sudden and profound downturn. Many noncompetitive family businesses started to compare notes. We were all reading the same business articles and management guru books. But we could not get from 40,000 feet to the grass roots level of what actions to take. We knew we had to strengthen our balance sheet and improve cash flow, but we did not know what actions would work best. Thus, The List was born. It started out as an itemization of actions to trim costs, stay competitive, and still be prepared for the next uptick. Most of us brought our leadership teams together and worked the list for our specific situation. We would now all agree that it helped us weather that storm. Many of those same companies made record profits once the turn-around began. Eight years later, the current storm has turned into a category five hurricane. As a result, the list has resurfaced. This time, with more social and business networks in place, we started to grow the list and categorize the actions. It is now referred to as 100 Action Thought Starters for Surviving a Severe Downturn. It now has a life of its own, growing daily, as more people refine and add to it. Sources for the list come mostly from family business leaders who run mid-size the operations. However, it also includes the more actionable concepts from management experts, like Tom Peters and Jack Welch.

Why I Joined the AMBA: “AMBA is a great way to talk to people that have the same issues as I do and you get ideas, encouragement, but most of all, wonderful friendships with folks all across the U.S. AMBA is a very effective, useful tool in the day-to-day operations of a mold manufacturing business.” Steve Rotman, President, Ameritech Die & Mold, Mooresville, NC


Here are a couple items from each category. General 1. Continuously estimate the depth (degree of severity) and length (timeline projection) of the downturn in your specific markets. 2. Make your calendar one of your most strategic documents by not only scheduling meetings, but also scheduling time for working on key issues impacting your performance in the downturn. Family Leadership 3. Tap into the wisdom and experience of senior generation leaders who have likely experienced two or three downturns in their career. 4. Accelerate the range of responsibility for the younger generation, keeping in mind that some young people will rise to the occasion when tested. People 5. List every benefit provided and quantify amount company provides each employee FICA, 401k match, etc.). 6. Lure your competitor’s best talent. Financial 7. Strengthen banker relationships - Meet with banker(s) and discuss current arrangements/covenants, and other possible changes. 8. Improve order-to-cash cycle by sending out invoices as soon as possible, not waiting for end of week or other set time for batching. Purchases 9. Audit inventory and reduce slow moving, obsolete items with special sale, return to vendor or dispose. 10. Defer capital expenditures. Purchase essentials (repair & maintenance) and invest in selective developments for new services, products, channels. Manufacturing 11. Review Shingo Award assessment list ( for areas of improvement to world-class status. 12. Eliminate the eight wastes of Lean: overproduction, motion, inventory, waiting, transportation, defects, underutilized people, extra processing. Facilities 13. Consolidate plants. 14. Increase use of energy efficient practices (e.g. replace expensive lighting). Marketing 15. Use the digital world more for promotions— email blasts, website ecommerce. 16. Do not stop marketing and selling efforts, but adjust approach. Sales 17. Visit all major customers—thank for business, seek input on outlook, discuss needs of your products, services and any opportunities. 18. Ask customers where your company can save their company money. Pricing 19. Increase pricing if in niche markets with limited competition. 20. Implement an environmental surcharge (for trash, recycling, hazardous waste handling, green material usage, etc.). Business Development 21. Analyze sales and profitability of each product offering and prune nonstrategic, low profit products. 22. Seek lower-priced, fire-sale acquisition opportunities, particularly

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those where the seller may provide the financing or take an earn-out. Office/Admin 23. Increase use of technology—move quicker to on-line ordering, tracking, and shipping. 24. Reduce the number of computer hardware and software license fees. “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” says Warren Buffet. We can learn and apply many actions now that will get us through this storm and be much stronger when conditions improve. Now is a time execution. Clinical studies demonstrate that the best antidote for depression is action. So instead of overly lamenting about our dire condition, the healthiest thing to do is to act. Hopefully, The List helps trigger you and your team to meaningful action. And as the sun is sure to rise in the morning, so too will the birds be singing when this storm subsides. Taken from the March 2009 issue of The Family Business Advisor, www. Reprinted with permission by the Family Business Consulting Group Publications. All rights reserved. o

FOR SALE - Kent Surface Grinder Description: Model PFG200N, 6x16 Table, 3,480rpm Spindle Speed, 60Hz, 1KW-2P Spindle Motor, May be purchased with or without mag chuck. Contact Info: David Drawert, 480-921-9939, Tempe, Arizona Price: $1,200 w/o Mag Chuck or $1,400 with Mag Chuck. o

Tech Corner
TOOLOX® – the new generation HASCO tool steel
HASCO is now offering for the first time the modern TOOLOX® - tool steel as an alternative to the conventional plastic mould steel materials 1.2311 and 1.2312. The advantages of the TOOLOX - steel grades 33 and 44 are particularly highly valued, not only in mould making, but also in the production of high quality tool and machine components. TOOLOX 33 is a pre-hardened and tempered tool steel with exceptionally low residual stresses in ESR quality. As a result of its extraordinarily high toughness, with a 1080 N/mm² tensile strength, and its high dimensional stability, it is particularly well suited for injection moulding tools. Despite its high strength, TOOLOOX 33 can be machined very much more easily than other pre-hardened and tempered grades of tool steel. TOOLOX 33 is available in the familiar HASCO standard dimensions as a P1100 standard plate. Special sizes can be supplied on request. TOOLOX 44 is the only quality tool steel supplied ex stock worldwide that is pre-hardened to 45 HRC. Normal pre-machining and heat treatment processes are not required, thus reducing costs and the risk of scrap. TOOLOX 44 can also be supplied in special dimensions to meet customer requirements. For more information go to or email o

Classified Corner
FOR SALE - 2001 FIDIA K165 3+2 Hi Speed CNC Description: Bought this machine at the 2002 IMTS show as a demo model. All service records, recently upgraded FIDIA C-20 control.3,000 - 30,000 RPM Spindle. X- 1,000mm by Y - 600mm by Z -500mm. 1574 In/Minute feedrate 20 position tool changerHSK 50E Spindle FIDIA Laser Tool Measurement, Excellent condition - Fantastic finishes and accuracy Priced for QUICK sale! Have new machines coming in!!!! Contact Info: Steve Rotman Ameritech Die & Mold, Inc Mooresville, NC 28117 704-664-0801 Office Price: $82,000 OBO FOR SALE - Blanchard Grinder Description: 20CD-36 38” swing 3/4” chuck life Contact : Raymond Mueller III Price: call 314-522-8080 FOR SALE - Blanchard Grinder Description: 32-60 60” chuck 1/2” chuck life 72” swing 100 hp Contact: Raymond Mueller III Price: call 314-522-8080 FOR SALE - Blanchard grinder Description: 1993 model 54HD-100 100” chuck 120” swing 54” segmented wheel 250hp soft start 3/4” chuck life Contact Info: Raymond Mueller III Price: call 314-522-8080 FOR SALE - KM-80-220C2 (88 TON) Description: Tie bar spacing 405 X 405 mm. (15.945 X 15.945 in.)Mold Height 250 mm. (9.84in.)Daylight 750 mm (29.52 in.)3.7 oz. barrel Contact Info: Jarrod McKay, 814-724-8687 x28, FOR SALE - KM-50-90C2 (55 TON) Description: Tie bar spacing 320 x 320 mm. (12.598 x 12.598 in.)Mold Height 200 mm. (7.87 in.)Daylight 550 mm (21.65 in.)1.66 oz. barrel Contact Info: Jarrod P. McKay, 814-724-8687 x28,

OEMs & Mold Purchasers Connect with Mold Shops! OEMs and mold purchasers can access AMBA’s member companies through AMBA’s Find a Moldmaker feature at U.S. mold shops can be searched by geographic area, market penetration, quality processes, CAD/CAM systems, mold type, etc. Handy web links get you connected to potential customers! Find a Moldmaker is a useful resource to get information on mold shops fast and easy. Visit and click on “Find a Moldmaker!”


Progressive Components Releases ProFile 6 for Mold Management
Progressive Components, a leading supplier of components for the global production tooling industry, introduced the industry’s first mold management software, ProFile™, in 1996, advancing the way tooling activity and data are tracked. Now, Progressive announces the release of the latest version of the popular program, ProFile 6, offering more enhanced features for even easier mold management. ProFile is a contact database for molds where last and next actions for a tool may be recorded and tracked, plus it houses critical vendor and customer information for each tool to streamline the management process.Other features include: • When an action is due, the user is prompted when ProFile is launched. • Work orders and memos that carry over the mold information for the recipient, saving retyping. • Embedded spreadsheets allow for tool-specific data to be stored as well as general information via a program-specific spreadsheet, perfect for calculations and general lists. • An integrated Bill of Materials program that gives users histories of costs for the products within the mold and links costs back to the actions being performed. • Several canned reports to submit status updates to colleagues or mold owners. Plus, the data can be exported to Excel or other programs for further manipulation. For more information about ProFile 6, visit, email or call 800-269-6653 (outside the U.S. call +1 847 487-1000) to speak with a customer service representative. o

Absolute Machine Tools adds AccuteX and TopEDM to its National Product Lines
Absolute Machine Tools, Inc., is pleased to announce it has acquired exclusive rights to the AccuteX wire EDM line and TopEDM CNC EDM drills and diesinkers. This 5-year exclusive contract became official May 1, 2009, when Absolute Machine Tools assumed the AccuteX line from Global EDM Machines. As the exclusive distributor, AccuteX EDM, a division of Absolute Machine Tools, will be offering a complete line of wire EDMs to customers in the U.S. and Canada. Absolute will also be offering TopEDM CNC EDM drills and diesinkers to these markets. According to Steve Ortner, president of Absolute Machine Tools, “AccuteX and TopEDM are high-quality, user-friendly products that are highly competitive in the EDM field. We expect these EDM lines to be an excellent addition to the existing Absolute Machine Tool lineup (Johnford, Tongtai, Ecoca, and You Ji), further expanding our reach into aerospace, mold/die, and medical, among other industries.” For more about Absolute Machine Tools, its product lines, and services, please visit or call (800) 852-7825. o

Helical Introduces New 2-flute End Mill for Aluminum Applications
Helical Solutions LLC is introducing a new, two-flute high-performance, non-serrated end mill for roughing in aluminum applications, and has improved the design of three existing rough and finish aluminum-cutting tools. Each of the previously available tools has been special-order products but now are standard and available from stock. Crafted of certified premium sub-micron grain carbide, the H35AL-2R is ideal for roughing and slotting applications and is available in stub and regular lengths. In testing with tool path optimizing software cutting 6061-T6 aluminum, a Helical Solutions end mill achieved 1,000 IPM, compared to the 300 IPM for aluminum cutting tool designs previously available in the marketplace. The test conditions were 1-inch depth of cut, ½-inch width of cut, 12,000 RPM and .0277-inch chip load per tooth. This 100-cubic-inch-per-minute metal removal rate was achieved with a mere 10 percent load on a 20 HP (14.9 kW) vertical machining center. Over time, putting less stress on the machine results in longer machine life and longer tool life. Helical Solutions LLC supplies high-quality, high-performance cutting tools for aerospace, energy, medical and every other industry and application. Visit them at o

New 10xD HELIOS™ Drills from OSG
OSG has expanded the HELIOS™ line to include 10 times diameter drills! Now you can drill 10, 15, and 20 times diameter without pecking or the use of internal coolant. HELIOS™ new patented technology gives it the ability to process deep holes without the use of internal coolant supply. State-of-the-art flute design improves chip evacuation, making it feasible to drill up to 20xD without pecking. Patented thinning decreases thrust by nearly 50% when compared to the competition during testing. By utilizing OSG’s WXL® coating, HELIOS™ can handle a wide range of materials with up to three times greater wear resistance versus conventional coatings. Visit them on the web at or call (630) 790-5167. o



Moldmaker's Crossword

For the answer key, go to

Created by American Mold Builders Association with EclipseCrossword —
1 3 4



7 9


10 11

12 13 14 15 16 18 21 22 23 19 17 20

24 27 28






1. A place where steel meets steel in order to stop the flow of plastic. 2. A protrusion above the surface of a plastic part 3. Forms the restricted transmission from the runner to the molded part 4. A moving plate which carries the mold components 5. Molds are made out of this material 7. A process involving controlled heating of metals 8. A semi-crystalline thermoplastic, with the acronym of PP 12. Produces the external or outside feature of a molded part 15. Streaking lines on molded parts, when plastic is too cold or too wet 16. Made out of copper or carbon, that EDM’s use to shape steel 17. A metal form consisting of a core and a cavity 20. A person who makes molds 21. Processes that produce parts through the removal of material 23. A process which makes a product by forcing material through an orifice or die 24. A group of synthetic materials which may be shaped when soft, and then hardened 25. Produces holes or internal shape in a molded part 26. An acronym for computer aided design 28. Melt processable thermoplastics, with the acronym PA 29. The trade association with the best members in the U.S.

6. 9. 10. 11. 13. 14. 18. 19. 21. 22. 24. 25. 27. 29. 30. 31. A groove cut under a leader pin bushing An opening where plastic is injected into mold Used to push the molded parts from the mold An acronym for electrical discharge machining A thin sliver of plastic formed by a small gap between two steel shutoff surfaces Mold components relating to the cavity stack An acronym for Low Density Polyethylene A type of mold in which plastic is melted and injected into the mold cavity Unit which retains & supports the molding insert components A relief in the mold near the last places to fill An acronym for Polyethylene Terephthalate An acronym for computer numerical control It’s purpose is to evenly distribute the molten plastic to the molded part An acronym for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Also known as a Cam The largest plastics trade show in the U.S.



Advertiser’s Index
Absolute Machine Tools, Inc. ..........................30 Alba Enterprises, Inc . ......................................13 Bico Steel Service Centers ................................37 Choice Mold Components ...............................26 Creative Evolution............................................24 Crystallume Engineered Diamond ..................41 CVD Diamond Corporation .............................15 Edro Specialty Steels ........................................32 Exact Metrology, Inc. .........................................7 A. Finkl & Sons Co. ..........................................39 First American Payment Systems ...................16 Gibson Insurance Group ..................................48 Graphic Products North America ....................18
CONTACT| | 800-521-0546 |

Graphite Express ..............................................15 Harroun Enterprises ........................................34 Haas Automation .............................................23 Incoe Corporation ............................................27 International Mold Steel, Inc. .........................28 Kelbros, Inc. .....................................................24 Makino ..............................................................10 Millstar, LLC .....................................................12 OMNI Mold Systems, LLC ...............................47 PCS ....................................................................46 Proceq USA, Inc. ..............................................18 Progressive Components ...................................2 Rocklin Manufacturing Co. .............................46 Tarus Products, Incorporated ..........................42 Ultra Polishing..................................................41 Wisconsin Engraving Co., Inc. / Unitex ..........32


Permanently Repairs Ferrous Metals with Metallic Ribbon, Wire, Powder or Paste.
P-20, H-13, 420SS, S-7, A-2, Nickel, M-2, etc.

Parting Lines Pin Holes Design Changes
Low Heat / No Shrink Adjacent Surfaces Unaffected Rotary Handpiece for Continuous Welds Easy Operation - Portable Minimal Finishing On Repairs Fully Hardened Non-Arcing Welds

Corners / Edges Scratches / Dents D. C. Arcs

FOR LITERATURE • CD • DEMO CALL:800-255-6046 • FAX:712-252-5619
email: web:

110 South Jennings Street P.O. Box 1259 Sioux City, Iowa 51102-1259 USA



• (2) New series of slides • A total of (18) new sizes • In stock ready to ship • CAD files are available on our website • Call for more information

OMNI Mold Systems customers have been asking for more size options for our Versa-Slides®. We have listened and are now stocking two new series (45 series) and (55 series). • The (45 Series) will fill the gap between the 40 and 50 series slides with a 4.375” slide face width. • The (55 Series) will fill the gap between the 50 and 60 series slides with a 7.125” slide face width. That’s 18 new sizes in all! No more need to custom build those in between sizes.
Proudly made in the USA

Toll Free Ph 888-666-4755 Toll Free Fax 888-816-2850

American Mold Builders Association P.O. Box 404 Medinah, IL 60157-0404 (Change Service Requested)

PRSRT U.S. Postage Medinah, IL Permit No. 20


Insuring the AMBA
Provider of Leading Provider of
Commercial Insurance Employee Benefits Personal Home & Auto

Risk Management
Claims Consulting Loss Prevention OSHA Compliance Consulting
Photo courtesy of PM Mold Company



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