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mold builder
Volume 24 No. 1

a message from our president

speak out



Steve Rotman

Fall Conference Recap

e’re back from a very exciting, successful Fall Conference in Washington DC. To all of you who took the time to make this worthwhile journey, I would like to say Thank You! We appreciate your willingness to take time out of your busy schedules to make our industry and business issues known to our elected officials. Kudos to Melissa and the rest of the AMBA staff for all their hard work and dedication to making the conference go smoothly as well as organized. The 58 congressional meetings were very impressive and required a lot of effort and dedication to assemble. I am sure that we learned a lot of “dos” and “don’ts” for future D.C. meetings. The biggest lesson to remember is that we have to keep ourselves in front of the politicians! During the conference our southeast delegation waited in Senator Hagan’s office for approximately 20 minutes. While waiting we watched as three young internists answered the constantly ringing phones. We could tell that the calls were from constituents asking the status of certain benefits controlled by the government, and then the questioning of either the Senator’s help or stand for an upcoming vote. We have got to be that same incessant voice that keeps the plight of small business, as well as manufacturing in the forefront as the answer to the high unemployment figures that are plaguing any sort of economic recovery. The opportunity to be heard is at the best level that I have seen in the past 10 years!! Shifting forward, it seems that mold orders are starting to trend upwards, and that is a welcome relief to all of our membership. Our trend in this industry has always been very forward looking in the economy and this bit of news is a strong indicator that there is a potential upswing coming. Not exactly sure how long it will be there, but we must take the good and try to build on it, being wary of the other issues that might be negatively affecting any sustained recovery.

Business Forecast Results
AMBA News Chapter News

Business Success Strategies

fall 2009

Plans continue to firm up for the 2010 annual convention in Orlando, Florida. Melissa and staff are again aggressively looking to bring value and content to the program with subjects that will bring up interesting challenges, as well as discussion with fellow (continued on Pg 8)

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

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October’s issue of Moldmaking Technology magazine showed that for the first time in two years, their Mold Business Index has climbed back above the 50-line. What this indicates is that the industry recession is ending and activity for moldmakers will gradually improve. I’ve been in this job for two years and am excited to see what this means for our members and for the AMBA! So now that business is getting better, what are you going to do with it? Are you prepared for the future of our industry? I urge all of you to come to Orlando in March 2010 for our Annual Convention. Our theme is “Mold the Future of Your Business”, and we have a phenomenal lineup of speakers. Our speakers are going to discuss the state of our industry, show you what to do to diversify your business into new industries, keep you updated on tooling trends, and give you tips to manage your business. You will not get this type of information in a single event anywhere else. The value of this convention and its inevitable return on investment make this 2010’s can’t miss event! If you’ve never been to an AMBA convention, make an appearance in Orlando. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! See everyone in Orlando! Melissa Millhuff Executive Director

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.

Fall Business Forecast Survey..............................................................................4 AMBA 2009 Fall Conference Recap .....................................................................7 2010 AMBA Convention Preview Manufacturing a Better Future for America ........................................10 Future of the Workforce ........................................................................12 The Flexibility Imperative .....................................................................14 What Are Banks Looking for in Today’s Economy? .............................16 Progressive Partnerships.......................................................................20 Registration is Now Open for the AMBA 2010 Annual Convention..................................................................21 Convention Registration Form ........................................................23 10 Things Most People Do Not Know About Injection Mold Making .............24 AMBA News........................................................................................................25 Member News ....................................................................................................27 AMBA Welcomes New Members .......................................................................29 Chapter News .....................................................................................................29 Chapter Spotlight - Wisconsin Chapter ............................................................31 West Michigan 2nd Annual Chapter Golf Outing ..............................................32 Minnesota 14th Annual Chapter Golf Outing .................................................33 AMBA Partner Spotlight: Welcome New Partners! ..........................................34 Partner News ......................................................................................................34 News for Die Casters ..........................................................................................35 Gibson Insurance The WARN Act .....................................................................................37 Pandemic Preparedness ........................................................................38 Good Housekeeping ..............................................................................38 Putting Their Best Foot Forward: Keeping Worker’s Feet Safe on the Job ................................................39 Human Resources Keeping Employees Happy While Tightening the Benefits Budget .................................................41 Staffing Up - Staffing Right ...................................................................41 Protecting Personal Information ..........................................................41 Managing Performance .........................................................................42 Business Success Strategies There Is Value in Struggle ................................................................42 In the Safe Zone: Parking Lot Safety ....................................................42 How Business Credit Ratings Are Determined .................................43 Corporation’s Annual Meeting and Corporate Minutes .................44 AMBA Answers...................................................................................................44 Classified Corner ................................................................................................45 Tech Corner ........................................................................................................45

In this Issue:


Fall Business Forecast Survey Showing Continued Improvement
The Fall 2009 Business Forecast of the AMBA shows continued improvement, but companies overall are expressing guarded optimism about any significant recovery to bring on large mold programs from their customers. The quarterly survey revealed that current business conditions have again improved over the past three months, with 7% of the respondents saying that business is Excellent - up from 5% of respondents in the Summer survey. That’s an increase of five percentage points from the Spring survey. Current business conditions are Good for 23% of the respondents (unchanged from the Summer survey). Fair business conditions exist for 38% of the respondents, up from 34% in the Summer survey, and Poor for 27% (compared to 26% in the Summer survey). Bad conditions exist for only 5% of the respondents, a huge improvement from the 12% reporting in the Summer survey and 11% in the Spring survey. Projections for business over the next three months show a continued lack of optimism of future mold programs among respondents with only 8% of the respondents expecting business to Increase Substantially, although that is up from 5% in the Summer survey. However, 44% of the respondents expect business to Increase Moderately, up considerably from the 28% in the Summer survey. Only 25% expect business to Remain the Same, compared to 51% in the Summer survey, indicating an expectation of some movement. Respondents expecting business to Decrease Moderately dropped slightly to 11% compared to 13% in the Summer survey. There were fewer respondents that expect business to Decrease Substantially (2% in the Fall survey vs. 4% in the Summer survey), offering some 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 38% of the respondents, compared to 34% of respondents in the previous survey; the Same for 42% compared to 37% in the Summer survey; and Down for only 20%, compared to 29% in the Summer survey. The uptick in quoting activity might indicate that some company’s engineering staffs are using up their 2009 budgets prior to putting in their 2010 budgets. Shipments are Up for 29% of the respondents compared to 25% last quarter, a slight upturn from the last survey, but still significant upward movement from Spring’s 10%. Shipments stayed about the Same for 43% of respondents compared to 32% in the Summer survey; and Down 15 percentage points to 28% of the respondents compared to 43% of the respondents in the Summer survey and 59% in Spring survey, indicating continued positive activity. Backlog is Up for 31% of the respondents, another nice jump from the 24% in the Summer survey and up significantly from 11% in the Spring survey. Backlog remained the Same for 33% (up from the 24% in the Summer survey); and Down for 38%, an improvement from the 52% in the Summer survey, and a big improvement over the 66% in the Spring 2009 survey. These responses would indicate that a nice percentage of the AMBA shops are busy and things are moving in the right direction after a very gloomy Spring outlook. Profits in the Summer survey are rising nicely, with 15% reporting an increase in profits compared to11% in the Summer survey, and a healthy

increase from 7% of the respondents to the Spring survey. Profits are the Same for 47% of respondents, compared to 32% in the Summer survey and 30% in the Spring survey, which is a positive signal. However, profits are Down for 38% of the respondents, compared to 58% of the respondents in the Summer survey and 63% in the Spring survey, perhaps an indication that many moldmaker’s get-tough attitude with customers as well as continued fallout of many Tier 2 suppliers, is having a positive effect. Employment is Up for 22% of the respondents compared to just 12% of the Summer respondents, and 7% of the respondents to the Spring survey. It the Same for 47% (up slightly from 41% in the Summer survey); and Down for 31% of the respondents, compared to 47% of respondents in the Summer survey, indicating continued hiring activity. However, the current average number of shop employees remains at 21, with the current average number of design and engineering employees moving up by one to five. Work-week hours for shop employees are up for the second consecutive quarter to an average of 43 hours for the Fall survey; and for design and engineering employees the hours also increased for the second consecutive quarter by one hour to an average of 43 hours. While the outlook is fairly positive for most respondents, answers to the question for this quarter, “Have you been experiencing more pressure for ‘low cost’ from your customers recently?” would indicate that pricing pressures from customers continue. A total of 109 respondents answered the question, with 80% saying Yes, they are experiencing more pressure for “low cost” molds. Comments to this question included, “Very hard to collect on invoices.” And, “Pressure is not only from overseas but also from hungry domestic shops,” said another, adding, “We have seen quotes as low as $40/hr from other shops.” “Everyone wants Chinese pricing, with North American quality and delivery,” commented another respondent. “Problem quoting against shops that take jobs at a loss,” a challenge noted by more than one respondent. “Some competitors are getting very aggressive in quoting jobs – even to the point where they are probably taking a loss on the jobs,” said another respondent. “While many AMBA member companies continue to struggle with pricing and demands for lower costs, we are seeing a lot of positive signs out there, as this survey reflects,” said Melissa Millhuff, Executive Director of the AMBA. “We’re optimistic that 2010 will prove to be a better year for the moldmaking industry, and especially for our member companies.” o

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AMBA Fall 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 Fall 2009 Survey resulted a response rate of 44% from AMBA members. Business remains "Good" for 23% of the respondents, and for 7% of the respondents it is "Excellent."
Projection of Business Over the Next 3 Months Increase
Excellent Good Fair Poor Substantially

AMBA Members Current Business Conditions 23% 38%


Increase Moderately Remain the Same




8% 2% 11%



Decrease Moderately Decrease Substantially

Current Level of Business in Last 3 Months
50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Up Same Down

Quoting Shipments Backlog Profits Employment

Current Work-Week Hours
50 40 Work Hours 30 20 10 0 Average Shop Hours Average Design & Engineering Hours 50 40 30 20 10 0

Current Number Plant Employees



Plant Employees



Average Shop Employees

Average Design & Engineering Employees

Have you been experiencing more pressure for "low cost" from your customers recently? 20% Yes No



AMBA 2009 Fall Conference

Washington, D.C.



Another Successful AMBA Fall Conference in Washington, D.C.
The American Mold Builders Association roared into Washington, D.C. on September 13, on the heels of one of the biggest Tea Parties ever held that took place on September 12. Many of the AMBA members arrived a day early in order to attend the Tea Party along with an estimated 1.2 million others. The Fall Conference was a huge success, with 57 attendees meeting with 58 Senators and Representatives from the various states and districts of members in attendance. On Monday, September 14, Melissa Millhuff, AMBA’s Executive Director, opened the morning session with enthusiasm. “It’s exciting to be here to do something positive for our industry,” she said. “Talking to congresspeople is what makes a difference for U.S. manufacturing, and especially for our member companies.” AMBA president Steve Rotman, (Ameritech Die & Mold Inc.) spoke to the attendees and encouraged them to help keep the American Dream alive of owning one’s own business so that future generations can follow in the footsteps of his generation. “For those coming up behind my generation, it’s becoming harder than ever for them to sustain that American Dream, take the risks and become successful,” Rotman said. “That’s why we’re here in Washington – to let our elected officials know what’s happening to the American Dream, and why we need to keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive: because it’s the life blood of this country.” Special guest speakers Alan Tonelson of the U.S. Business and Industry Council and Lloyd Wood of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition kicked off the conference with statistics and other information to help AMBA members approach Congressional people with the issues. Tonelson agreed with Rotman’s assessment. “The health of the U.S. mold industry is an indicator of the health of U.S. manufacturing overall,” he said. “You are all at ground zero of the efforts to strengthen U.S. manufacturing.” Tonelson noted in his report that the recession has hit manufacturing especially hard. “Whereas the entire economy grew by 0.74% in real terms in 2008, the non-bubble-ized manufacturing shrank by 2.74%,” Tonelson said. “Manufacturing’s output losses so far in this recession (down 16.7%) already exceed even those of the 1973-1975 recession (15.32%) – formerly the worst U.S. downturn since the Great Depression.” AMBA vice president and incoming president, Mike Armbrust of Mako Mold, commented in his remarks, “Unless we come here and tell them the challenges we face in our businesses each day, they are so far removed from the mainstream that they don’t understand the plight of manufacturers in this country.” Tonelson’s remarks supported Armbrust’s. “Congresspeople have no idea how to create wealth, capital, productive industry, and yet it’s the productive sector of the economy that must be revived if we are to restore this country’s economy,” he said. Tonelson pointed to some successes over the past year including getting “Buy American” language for government procurement for the Stimulus Act, “but this needs to be expanded upon,” he said. Also, Free Trade agreements are “going nowhere – that’s good,” he stated. “There’s no support in Congress for this.” Additionally, stated Tonelson, “After years of being ‘out’, talk of U.S. manufacturing in now ‘in’. Revitalizing U.S. manufacturing has gotten their attention, and they are at least talking the talk, and now we have to hold their feet to the fire and make them live up to what they’re saying.”

However, Tonelson added, “There are still constant challenges that confront us in spite of the fact that manufacturing is once again cool. The national governing class doesn’t get it yet. Obama is getting it.” Tonelson pointed to some struggles such as a China currency bill to get to peg the Yuan to the dollar. “There’s no zeal for this,” he said. “With respect to trade policy, I worry that they will game us forever. Trade-law cases have their use, but most others have limited utility. We can’t win fast enough [for it to help us].” U.S. manufacturing is not unified enough to have an impact, Tonelson said. Cap & Trade, which is essentially a tax on businesses in the House Climate bill, doesn’t seem to have much support with Obama or the Senate. Lloyd Wood of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition said he agreed with everything Tonelson said. “Some things out there are truly shocking,” he stated. “U.S. manufacturing never came out of the 2000 recession and was only made worse a year ago. We produce less today that we did 10 years ago, but demand has increased. That is absolutely stunning.” Wood also pointed to job losses in manufacturing. “Manufacturing employment is at its lowest level since May 1941 – yet the population has doubled and demand is up 10 times. Productivity gains don’t answer the problem.” Wood encouraged attendees to “Tell your Congressmen and women that we must get people to invest in the U.S. to manufacture here. We need a strategic plan to attract investments. That’s an enormous problem - there’s just no game plan to attract investment. If the U.S. wants to be rich, we all need to produce something – we can’t all be bankers or waiters.”

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Wood confirmed Tonelson’s statement about Congress not being in favor of doing anything about the China currency issue. “A lot of people in this administration aren’t in favor of this,” Wood said. “Congress won’t actively do anything. Because of the massive amount of debt we can’t subsidize industries like China subsidizes industries. How can we attract productive investments? Perhaps a value added tax, because 90% of the countries have a VAT. China has a 17% VAT. We don’t have Uncle Sam, we have Uncle Suck.” Tonelson added that the big problem with China is that “it’s tough to pressure your banker.” Yet, he noted that “we’re still in the cat bird’s seat with China’s leaders because they need our market. If unemployment goes up in China, there’s trouble and we have leverage. However, the less credit worthy we become and roll over, this leverage is going to shrink. The Chinese are not the only holders of our foreign debt, and others might decide to cut us off. I worry that at some point they no longer have choices between good and bad outcomes, but between bad and worse outcomes. The longer we proceed down this road, as bad as it would be to cut us off, it would be worse for them to keep us on lifesupport.” Wood concurred. “The U.S. is the goose laying the golden eggs for China,” he said. “The number one political issue for China is political stability. A million jobs a year need to be created just to keep the growing population employed. If their export markets dry up, their economy is hurt far worse than if ours dries up.” In the afternoon, all eight AMBA delegations headed off to Capital Hill to begin a full schedule of meetings. Rotman said that his group had a total of nine meetings representing the southeast. “We found great discussions from both sides of the political spectrum, and felt that we were able to articulate the concerns of plastics manufacturing, moldmaking, small businesses, and the overall concern of how to get the economy going again. Everyone is our group feels that the time they invested was well worth it, and they hope to participate again.”

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On Tuesday, the meeting schedule on Capital Hill began early in the morning and continued through late afternoon. “With all of the changes that have been made, or are being considered, there has been no time like the present to get engaged and active,” said Rotman. “Without public participation, our politicians are not sure what we like and what we don’t like. This experience continues to bring out how proud and blessed we are to have the freedoms we enjoy every day. To see our government up close and personal is an experience I will never forget.” o

Speak Out: A Message From Our President
(Continued from front cover) shop owner/managers. The pricing has been kept low, and it will be one of the most affordable annual conventions in years. The accessibility of Orlando to all major airports will keep the travel costs at a minimum. This convention can not be a success without your participation! The interaction between the convention attendees as well as the different thoughts and discussions with fellow mangers and shop owners create a total package of value. Our association continues to be a leader in retention and positive influence amongst the membership, and that is due to everyone participating in the chapter level and national level events. I’ve been privileged to have spoken with quite a few of the first-time attendees during the last annual convention and Fall conference. Each of those people expressed the great value they experienced, the networking that they enjoyed, as well as their intentions to continue to pursue it. I look forward to seeing YOU in Orlando, you will not want to miss it! Fighting for the right/opportunity to manufacture in the United States of America! o

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2010 AMBA Convention Preview

Mold The Future of Your Business
Do you have the ability to mold the future of your business? Are you being blown around by the economic storms? Where will your business be a year from now? Where will your business be five years from now?

If you can’t answer those questions, then you need to join the

American Mold Builders Association for the 2010 Annual AMBA Convention!
For more information, visit or call 847-222-9402


2010 AMBA Convention Preview
Manufacturing a Better Future for America
By: Scott Paul, Executive Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing and presenter at the upcoming 2010 AMBA Annual Convention in Orlando, FL We’ve been privileged at the Alliance for American Manufacturing to visit with tens of thousands of workers and hundreds of manufacturers to see what’s happening on the ground firsthand over the past two years. As you can imagine, the news is grim. That’s because for manufacturing, this recession began about a decade ago. But recently, this decline has been turbocharged. It’s clear that bold solutions are required to revitalize manufacturing, which is why we have sought to collect the wisdom of innovative thinkers around the nation. now being transferred abroad at an alarming rate. A perpetuation of this transfer will lead to major trouble.” Martin Feldstein—former Chairman of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors—said, “The present level of the current account deficit is enormous, it is unprecedented and I believe it is unsustainable.” The consequences have been dire. More than 50,000 manufacturing facilities have shut their doors over the last decade. They weren’t making buggy whips; they were manned by some of the most efficient workers in the world. Now, we already have large and growing trade deficits in sectors such as advanced technology and clean energy, even though these supposedly represent “new economy” sectors and the jobs of the future in the eyes of many. The failure of our domestic and international trade policies to support manufacturing must be quickly reversed. We urgently need a national manufacturing strategy. The idea of a manufacturing strategy or industrial policy is hardly a radical concept. Alexander Hamilton constructed America’s first industrial policy in 1791. Setbacks during the War of 1812 due to a lack of domestic capacity to build naval vessels and military equipment cemented the determination of the federal government to grow manufacturing, a policy that continued until the end of World War II. Globalization and economic approaches such as a strong dollar policy favoring domestic consumption have helped to steadily erode manufacturing as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, private sector employment, and other key measures. If today’s leaders spent more time focusing on Hamilton and less time on Adam Smith and David Ricardo, I don’t think we’d be facing the prospects of a jobless recovery. The idea of a manufacturing strategy is also not a partisan one. President Reagan—spurred on by a Democratic Congress—adopted a flurry of measures to counter a grossly imbalanced trade relationship with Europe and Japan in the 1980s. The Plaza Accords, which raised the value of currencies in Japan and Europe relative to the dollar in a managed way, had a positive effect in lowering our trade deficit. Key government investments in the semiconductor industry and other technologies spurred their development and commercialization. President Reagan signed into law enhanced Buy America requirements for certain infrastructure projects to boost domestic employment. His Administration implemented the Market Oriented Sector Specific – or MOSS talks – with Japan that focused on market access with measurable results. Apply those principles to the economic challenges of today, and you have the foundation of a manufacturing strategy: raise the value of China’s yuan to market-based levels, invest in value-added manufacturing such as clean energy and industries with strategic significance, and engage in serious bilateral talks with China to ensure that it honors the commitments it made upon entry into the WTO in 2001 to eliminate its myriad mercantilist and protectionist policies. Finally, keep Buy America requirements in place so that tax dollars are re-invested in our economy and the employment benefits of infrastructure spending accrue not only to the construction industry, but also to our manufacturers. But a successful manufacturing strategy must go deeper than that. We must provide access to much-needed capital for small- and midsized manufacturers to help capture new clean energy markets, both here and abroad. At a time when access to capital is still very tight, a public commitment like this is essential. Moreover, those who say the market alone should dictate winners and losers forget three important lessons. First, some of the greatest innovations since World War II—

Scott Paul

To that end, we published Manufacturing a Better Future for America. With contributions from ten leading academics and experts, the book takes a comprehensive look at some of the major issues facing manufacturing today: international trade, an array of subsidies offered by our global economic competitors, the consequences of the offshoring of research and development, the shocking lack of support for investment in advanced manufacturing, the appalling state of skills and training programs, the challenges for domestic manufacturers in globalized supply chains, and the consequences of deindustrialization on society, communities, and our defense industrial base. Even without reading this book, we all know that something has gone terribly wrong with the U.S. economy. But chalking up the blame to a few bad apples on Wall Street and their risky financial instruments, and responding by simply providing appropriate regulation in the financial services sector, will ultimately be unsatisfying. There are much deeper, structural issues which must be urgently addressed. Otherwise, the absurd positive feedback loop between consumer debt, subsidized Chinese imports, American job loss and factory closures, the growing U.S. current account deficit, and burgeoning Chinese currency reserves reinvested in American debt, thus inflating new bubbles, will only be reinforced. Some of us warned that this day would come. We knew that an economic strategy predicated on replacing wage growth with debt and credit to maintain a certain standard of living was doomed to fail. We knew that this nation could not replace manufacturing jobs and their multiplier effect, as well as their positive impact on the trade balance and wealth generation, with lower-wage service and retail jobs. We knew that our national security would begin to suffer if we did not have a vibrant enough manufacturing base to resupply our troops and provide the armaments for the future. We knew that if our leaders viewed international trade as a foreign policy tool and a path to cheap imports, rather than as an essential element for economic growth and domestic production, the consequences would be disastrous. The warnings came not only from labor leaders, domestic manufacturers, and an insightful group of elected officials—they came also from very traditional economic quarters. Well before this new, great recession began, Warren Buffet said “Our trade deficit has greatly worsened, to the point that our country’s ‘net worth,’ so to speak, is


the semiconductor and the internet—were developed with public assistance. Second, our policies already pick winners and losers, but we tend to pick the wrong winners—those who profit through selling cheap, subsidized imports, or those companies heavily invested in fossil fuels. Let’s pick winners in more productive, sustainable, and wealthgenerating activities like domestic manufacturing instead. Third, other nations are aggressively supporting emerging industries like clean energy. Unless we want green manufacturing jobs created in Shanghai instead of Cincinnati, or Dusseldorf instead of Denver, we must support domestic development of these industries. A key component of any manufacturing strategy must be public investment, especially in infrastructure. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made a down payment on infrastructure investment, but our nation will still be hampered by what the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates is a $2.2 trillion deficit in infrastructure investment over the next five years. Improving our infrastructure provides a greater return on investment for taxpayers than tax cuts and virtually every other form of spending. In the process, it boosts construction jobs, stimulates demand for manufactured goods, and improves productivity and economic growth by making transportation more efficient. According to a recent study by economists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, ensuring that the materials purchased with tax dollars for infrastructure projects are sourced domestically creates 33% more manufacturing jobs. The cost, supply and composition of energy resources consumed by our manufacturers must also be considered, especially in the context of federal and international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It would be a grave mistake to put our energy intensive industries at a

competitive disadvantage as an unintended consequence of seeking to control greenhouse gas emissions. America can lead on climate change, but only if we can also prevent job and carbon leakage which would make our economic and environmental challenges even difficult. We must also look at changes to the federal tax code to incentivize domestic production, allow hard-hit manufacturers to make investments, and explore a Value Added Tax structure to give our exports a boost. Finally, our skills and training system has been decimated. We need to invest in a seamless, four year program of high school vocational and technical programs and community college-level technical training to prepare young people for manufacturing careers. Does anyone still believe it is a good thing to outsource not only our manufacturing but also our debt financing to China? Revitalizing manufacturing, reducing our trade imbalances and bringing down our public debt are interconnected. We need a results-oriented trade and manufacturing policy. Let’s put our ingenuity and innovation to work, and let’s get government policy working for us. o

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



2010 AMBA Convention Preview
Future of the Workforce
By: Ryan Pohl, President, Expert Technical Training, and presenter at the upcoming 2010 AMBA Annual Convention in Orlando, FL As this article is being written headlines are running across a variety of news sources proclaiming the ‘end of the recession’. Please forgive my cynicism but it is clear these people are not looking at the tooling industry to get their numbers. Of course if the overall economy is doing better that is a great thing for us, but the numbers for our industry have remained in a consistent downward trend since the late 1990’s. Projected decline for the tool and die industry in the U.S. according to the Department of Labor Bureau of Ryan Pohl Labor Statistics (BLS) still shows an almost 10% industry reduction by 2016. This is obviously due to a number of factors, foreign competition not being the least of them. Regardless, if you’re in the tool and die industry in this country ‘business as usual’ is business in decline, and it could be that way for a while yet. Despite all this I look to the future with a great deal of optimism. I have yet to find a single report, even one survey from OEM’s, government, or anyone else that has proclaimed the tool and die industry in America officially dead. In fact, a recent study done by the Harbour-Felax Group out of Detroit indicates there could be substantial opportunity for select companies to experience growth within the next five years, provided they have done the right things for their businesses to lay a strong foundation. In spite of the projection of an overall industry decline, those that make the right moves now may even thrive. It has been my pleasure and honor to get to know a number of moldmaking companies that have responded appropriately to the variety of challenges the current market has presented. Many moldmaking companies have invested heavily in the latest CNC and design technologies. They have also taken the time to implement Lean initiatives; thus helping them eliminate waste, increase productivity and ultimately reduce their lead-times by as much as 30% or more. These efforts have served them well; not only are they still in business, but they are even managing to turn a profit. The company that has the foresight to invest when the time is right will be one of the select companies poised to take advantage of opportunities for growth when they arise. There is, however, one investment that continues to be overlooked as part of a growth strategy; the investment in employee training and education. When the moldmaking industry was experiencing growth it was easy to assume there would be a competent workforce available because the industry was heavily supported by our education system. I can tell you from experience, the money for public education programs follows growth industries. It is simple; someone at the Department of Education that knows very little about a specific industry looks at the BLS projections and drives their fiscal plans based on those projections. When an industry grows, they serve it. When it shrinks, they back away. They give no thought to the long-term implications of the decision, or the foundational importance of many of the industries they decide to stop feeding. So in the last 10-15 years as the moldmaking industry has been in decline, public education has responded the way they historically do – they have backed away from us. There have been other reasons for backing away too. The technology has advanced over a short amount of time and it has been very difficult for schools to keep up. The new technology is extremely expensive, and requires a lot of specific training for the instructors to know where to even begin teaching it. These issues, coupled with a diminishing public perception of the industry, have made it very easy for educational administrators to cut moldmaking feeder programs whenever they get the chance – and they are doing it at an alarming rate. So here we are, on top of the countless other struggles tooling companies are faced with, there is a dangerously low amount of people entering our industry with the requisite skills to be successful. In 1998 the BLS rated the average age of tool and die workers at 47. The BLS hasn’t updated that statistic since ‘98, but reports from a variety of independent sources estimate an average age currently at anywhere between 53-60 years old, depending on the region. If an industry is doing a good job of talent management as a whole, the Department of Labor indicates that the average age of the worker should be around 38. This would mean there is a healthy entrance of workers as others exit. Our great moldmaking industry simply does not have a healthy replacement rate. Some projections estimate that over 35% of our workforce will either change careers or retire within the next five years. This means, even if the tool and die industry shrinks by 10% that still leaves approximately 25,000 jobs available, simply due to attrition. Considering the public perception of our industry, and the fact that moldmaking related education programs are closing all over the nation, it is an understatement to say we need to have a plan to deal with this. We are talking about numbers that cannot only restrict growth, but may affect long-term survival if left unaddressed. As most in this industry are used to by now, nobody is going to bail us out. We are going to have to handle this problem ourselves. There are two things that I believe moldmaking companies should start working on today to prepare for this challenge, if they have not started already. First, start developing an internal training program that specifically meets your needs. A good training program covers four primary bases: 1. Worker recruitment and hiring. You must have established criteria for where you are going to find future workers and what attributes those workers must have to start at your company. 2. Structured new employee training plans. You must know exactly what your new employees are going to do when they arrive. The days of “go work with Bob over there, he’ll show you the ropes” are long gone. Training should be viewed as a controlled process just like anything else in your shop. You do not want to spend six months with a new employee before you find out s/he does not have what it takes. 3. Existing employee training. You need to make sure your existing employees have the top-of-the-line skills they need to make your company successful. A common mistake companies make is buying all the latest and greatest technology but fail to invest in the people running it. A million dollar high-speed mill will not make you any money if it is run like an old duplicator. Your existing employees need to be trained to use the technology. They will not learn by just being around it. 4. Continuous-education plans. To compete in manufacturing, companies must continuously improve. This means the workers must continuously learn. Put a plan in place that forces your employees to learn something new regularly, this will keep their minds flexible





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2010 AMBA Convention Preview
and adaptable. Continuous education is like doing maintenance on machines. If you fail to do it, you will not feel the effects until it is too late. The second thing I would like to recommend is that you get involved with the AMBA immediately. Working together as an industry is much more powerful than working as a single shop. The AMBA board recently formed an education committee, call Melissa Millhuff, the AMBA Executive Director and volunteer your help. I guarantee you are doing things that can help others, and it is time we share our best practices. We are in this together. It is not too late to tackle this issue. The writing is on the wall for those that choose to read it. The only real question remaining is what will be done about it? With great challenge comes great opportunity, and it is my hope that through working with the AMBA, we will all work together to develop a resolution that is the model for other industries to follow in America. I am looking forward to expanding on this topic in Orlando at the 2010 AMBA annual convention. I hope to meet many of you there so we can discuss your ideas for conquering this challenge. And please, go to my blog and contribute your thoughts on how to restore the public’s perception of the work we do: For more information, contact: Ryan Pohl, President, Expert Technical Training at 616-785-5733 or by email at com. Visit his website at . o

The Flexibility Imperative
By: Laurie Harbour-Felax, President, Harbour Results, Inc. and presenter at the upcoming 2010 AMBA Annual Convention in Orlando, FL The automotive industry is revisiting how it makes decisions to determine if design differences unseen by the customer really matter to the marketplace. As design complexity grows so do the cost of achieving the same. Managing the intersection of design and build decisions is pivotal in achieving cost objectives while delivering value to a challenging marketplace. Moldbuilders live at this intersection and are pivotal in the success of the automotive industry.
Laurie Harbour-Felax

Complex products, diverse and global markets, increased competitive brands, segments, and models have made production and delivery flexibility an imperative in today’s challenging vehicle marketplace. As the global economies struggle to find their balance, with diminished sales in virtually every product line targeted at specific markets, the need for dedicated high volume manufacturing capabilities is quickly vanishing. The automotive industry understands that it can no longer invest in high-volume production capacity and large dealer inventories believing that all that it makes will sell. It requires flexibility, where production resources such as people, materials, equipment, tools, methods, and

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information technology must demonstrate a high level of adaptability required of matching supply to demand exactly. The cost of missing the target in today’s marketplace is not just a local profit and loss debate, but quickly escalates into an industry and global economics conundrum with heads of state and industry leaders all struggling for solutions. Flexibility definition Flexibility is “the organizational ability to adapt to changes in the marketplace with the goal of matching supply to demand exactly.” Demand defined as the point of consumption, where the product is used for its intended purpose by the customer. It requires that all entities involved in the design, build, delivery and service of vehicles are to be engaged. In the flexibility value chain raw materials are procured and processed by tiered suppliers which produce parts, refine materials, assemble subsystems, and so on, eventually being assembled by vehicle OEMs, for sale to dealers who in turn resell the vehicle to the intended enduser, in this case the public consumer. This value chain has been built over a century of emerging production, business, and societal practices and continues to transform itself today. Achieving flexibility Bringing all value chain resources together to achieve flexibility requires remarkable foresight and strength of leadership. The Manufacturing Integration & Flexibility model guides a process that begins with a clear understanding of market and customer requirements, product designs that flex at customer decision points and commonize where practical, adaptable manufacturing processes that match capacity availability to demand, and ends with a synchronized supply chain. Product & loyalty planning OEM’s make choices as to what markets and customers they intend to deliver their vehicles. Conversely markets and customers make choices as well. The flexibility model requires a fundamental understanding of market and customer permission; permission to sell specific products and permission to sell to me specifically. The fragility of these choices has been tested in the current economic and political climate. When developing a product and loyalty plan consider the following. Listen to the market with the intent to understand. Define customer wants and needs using broad market information and subsequently refining it into specifics. Detail customer requirements by translating customer wants and needs into product characteristics. And manage demand by accurately forecasting demand and using this information to drive production, procurement, and logistics activities. Design & product development With design characteristics in hand, the flexibility challenge begins… How can product designs meet customer expectations and at the same time be built and delivered profitably without constraining production and supply chain operations? The solution we believe lies in making the right design decisions with the right resources. Develop a Common Bill of Design which consists of the associated product requirements, specifications, models, prints, and so on, as well as the engineering practices to achieve the best possible design. Define Common Platforms where practical. A common platform is essentially the underbody in which a vehicle rides on and shares common principle locating points (PLP) that enable the multiple vehicle designs to shingle together in a uniform manner. Define and deploy a Common Architecture that addresses the entirety of the vehicle design and is inclusive of common platforms. Establish Common Global

Components that integrate with common platforms and architectures. Ensure that product development leads supplier selection. With common architectures, platforms, components well defined, world class “flexible” companies utilize their product development teams to lead the supplier selection process. Manufacturing engineering The path to flexibility passes through manufacturing engineering, but how it does so can make or break a company. Manufacturing engineering practices must not diminish the value of the product, nor should they add unnecessary production costs to the vehicle. Right thinking must precede right doing; flexible manufacturing practices must be driven by the “lean” paradigm supported by capable resources, which produce and deliver products to match supply to demand exactly. Apply lean manufacturing – very few would question that the tenets of lean manufacturing built around the Toyota Production System as the right paradigm. Inclusive of lean activities, organizations should develop a Bill of Process as a practical realization of the lean manufacturing strategy. Clearly define the Bill of Resources for each process to achieve the desired capability and capacity. Inclusive to the bill of resources is the Bill of Equipment whose primary goal is to achieve common equipment, plant to plant. This must be an ongoing and integrated effort. Supply chain integration Historically achieving flexibility meant outsourcing work or purchasing parts, and requiring the source of supply to flex at a moment’s notice. This hasn’t changed. Suppliers still need to flex at moment’s notice, but they need significant help from the OEMs to do it in the most effective and cost efficient manner. Several factors impact supply flexibility. Earn supply loyalty – customers make choices, OEMs make choices, and to be certain suppliers make choices. They can choose either to closely align their capabilities to one or more customers, focusing on delivering value throughout the design-delivery cycle, or simply adopt a “capacity” for hire business model. Achieve business integration by fully connecting business practices and enabling technology in terms of Product Development, Manufacturing Engineering and production in order to achieve flexibility vis-à-vis match supply to demand exactly. Require early supplier involvement as a key to building supplier loyalty and driving flexibility in production practices. Consider supplier involvement 3- 4 years before the start of a new vehicle. Assign design responsibility where it makes sense ensuring that suppliers work in partnership with OEMs to achieve common platforms, architectures and components. Define commercial relationship based on value, trust, and fairness, while rewarding on the margins not price. Together create value by continually improving “intangible” organizational capabilities and “tangible” products. Manufacturing integration & flexibility At its core flexibility requires a clear understanding of market and customer requirements, product designs that flex at customer decision points and commonize where practical, adaptable manufacturing processes that match capacity availability to demand, and a synchronized supply chain. Consider these factors in making flexibility a reality. Integrate the whole of the Flexibility Value Chain to ensure its ability to effectively adapt to changes in the marketplace. Develop and deploy flexibility analytics that drive the right decisions and behavior throughout the value chain. Actively facilitate communication and coordination with resources engaged at all points of consequence. Leverage information technology at all points and intersections of


2010 AMBA Convention Preview
collaborative communications. Apply the five rights to Flexibility Process activities by leveraging the right resources, right time, right place, and right activities, in the right order. Integrate past, present and future product and process designs when advancing flexibility objectives and practices. Lastly and perhaps most importantly play fair by understanding and applying the rules of value-based decision making. Forward towards future flexibility Nothing is more inflexible than the past. As oft quoted by Sparky Anderson, former Manager of the Detroit Tigers “I don’t live in the past, there is no future in it!” Achieving flexibility is a future oriented proposition. True leaders understand how to respond to the everchanging needs of the market through measured and risk-based decision making that guide future investments and current practices. We believe that the automotive industry has a bright future; but not for everyone and certainly not for the usual industry players. Both Honda and Toyota having achieved unparalleled success against domestic rivals using business and operational practices, repeatedly shared to the point of exasperation… don’t appear to be heeded by all. The domestic model is broken not because it can’t design an appealing vehicle or balance an assembly line. It is broken because it has not enjoined a culture of value and loyalty, from its customers, its employees, and its supply base. Flexibility requires not only integrated product, manufacturing, and distribution processes that match supply exactly to demand, but challenges leadership to build a culture or completely re-architect a culture, where “we the producer” understand that our actions, impact “we the consumer.” This unity in purpose is the societal balance that flexibility seeks. o

What Are Banks Looking for in Today’s Economy?
By: Susan Raef “The banking world works in cycles, just like the economy,” said Patrick McNally, partner in charge of corporate finance consulting for Blackman Kallick in Chicago and presenter at the upcoming 2010 AMBA Annual Convention in Orlando, FL. “For years, we were in a period of low interest rates and easy credit availability. But the world has changed.” On Wednesday, August 12, 2009 McNally and Michael Moran, principal/first vice president at American Chartered Bank, led an AMBA-sponsored webinar, “What Are Banks Looking for in Today’s Economy?” Here are some highlights from the online seminar. “Collateral has become much more important to bankers,” McNally acknowledged. “The pendulum has swung quickly from good times to today’s tight credit market, and interest rates have nowhere to go but up.” What has stayed the same in today’s economy? Michael Moran “If you’re over-leveraged, it’s hard to get financing—and it’s even harder now,” said McNally. “If you’re not over-leveraged, banks still need to lend money to make money. But banks need to lend people who will pay them back.” A look at things from the banker’s perspective As the old saying goes, a banker is someone who will loan you an umbrella on a sunny day and take it back as soon as it starts to rain. But if you need to borrow money, it’s important to understand the banker’s side of the equation. “Only a small percentage of a loan is the bank’s own money. The vast majority comes from depositors. Whether the borrower pays a loan back or not, the bank’s customers expect to get their money back. “If a bank makes one bad loan, they must make 19 good loans just to break even,” McNally adds. Consider ‘patient’ sources of capital McNally discussed several alternatives to bank financing. “There could be more patient sources of capital,” he explained, “but they expect a higher rate of return and there could be hidden costs.” Sources of patient capital include:

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• Family or friends. “This could work well—or might place a strain on the relationship,” said McNally. • Angel investors. “These investors may not expect to see a payback for five to 10 years,” McNally explained, “but they will extract a high cost—equity in your business—an upside you will have given away forever.”

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• Private equity. “Well-established companies can attract private equity investors willing to wait five to seven years for a payback,” said McNally, “but they also get equity in your business. These investors might also want to exercise some control through board seats or management. • Mezzanine financing. “This is a bit more like bank financing, often with a three to five-year period,” said McNally. Mezzanine financing can be structured in many different ways. “For example, monthly interest payments might be made at one rate while interest accrues at a higher rate. The additional accrued interest and principal might be due as a balloon payment in three years. Cash flow demands can get heavy later in the life of the loan,” McNally cautioned. “The loan might also convert to equity or options later on.” • Factoring. “This option involving selling receivables to the factors,” McNally explained. “But it’s very expensive—interest rates are now in the teens.” • Purchase order financing. “This is one option to fund a project— but it’s very expensive,” McNally warned. What are the options for bank financing? • Cash-flow lending—borrowing against the cash flow of the business. “These loans are much harder to come by these days,” said McNally. • Asset-based lending. “The banker is looking at the cash flow of the business, but also at the underlying collateral, such as accounts receivable and inventory or equipment” McNally explained. Match the source of financing with its use McNally stressed the need to choose financing according to your company’s needs. “A start-up business is probably going to need patient money,” he said. “Make sure the type of bank financing you choose matches its use. Don’t allow yourself to get cash-strapped. “The more you understand the kind of financing you need and what to expect, the higher your chances of getting what you need,” McNally advised. “To increase your odds of getting financing, look at your business through the banker’s eyes,” McNally added. “Banking committees review loans regularly. It’s important to understand what they talk about.” What do bankers talk about in credit committee meetings? Michael Moran explained that bankers focus on the five Cs of credit: 1. Character. “We want to know we’re dealing with people who have integrity and are trustworthy,” Moran explained. “We gauge this sometimes in subtle ways, like the way a business owner returns phone calls or handles personal credit. And banks prefer to lend to business owners who guarantee it personally.” 2. Capacity. “This encompasses both financial and management capabilities,” said Moran. “Does the business have enough cash flow to make monthly payments with a sufficient margin? Do you have the operational capacity to produce what you need to? Can management handle the task at hand in a changing environment?

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2010 AMBA Convention Preview
“Bankers want to look at your cash flow over the last one to two years,” Moran explained. “We realize that projections are wrong the minute you put them on paper—but we’re interested in the assumptions that go behind them.” 3. Capital. “This is simply equity in the business,” said Moran. “The bank wants to know you have money at risk. If a customer has nothing to lose, they tend to take a lot more risk. The more capital and less leverage you have, the more you can weather the storm.” 4. Collateral. “Banks have to be very conservative because of high leverage and federally insured dollars,” Moran explained. “We need two ways out of every loan. If cash flows are very strong, we might be able to live with less collateral, or vice versa.” 5. Conditions. “By ‘conditions,’ we mean everything from the general economic environment to the economy in your industry,” said Moran. What can you do to increase your chances of getting financing? Moran offered several recommendations for improving your odds of being approved for financing: • Have solid financial statements. “Banks want to see that a certified public accountant is reviewing your bank statements—or even auditing your financial statements,” says Moran. • Know your numbers. “If a banker asks you a question about your financial statement, be ready with the answer,” Moran advised. 19647_EDRO_ADfinancial statements.PM Page 1 “Study your 7/12/07 3:42 Have someone play banker and ask you questions.” • Have well-thought-out plans and projections. “If your business is changing—growing a segment, getting into a new product or business line—do a short plan of how your business will change in the next year or two,” Moran advised. • Maintain capital/equity base/capital structure. “Build a cushion by paying down the debt,” said Moran. “The bank will not finance all your working capital growth. Retained earnings are very important.” • Have repayment sources. “These could include your accounts receivable, cash flow and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). Demonstrate that sources are there to repay your loan,” Moran stressed. • Have available collateral. “Collateral must be saleable,” said Moran. “Be aware that equipment values have gone down dramatically lately.” • Stay well within covenants. “Banks use profitability and leverage covenants,” Moran explained. “If you violate these covenants, the bank may need to adjust your loan profile. Most loan covenant violations are waived, with or without a fee.” Communicate openly with your bank. “It takes a long time to build trust, but only a short time to destroy it,” said McNally. “If you think you’re going to be in a hard situation, contact your bank up front and explain the situation and how you plan to deal with it.” What should you do if you’re experiencing financial problems? “Communicate,” said McNally. “Good communication builds partnership, understanding and credibility. At the first sign of a problem—like losing a big customer—talk with your bank. Outline a plan and discuss it with your banker. “The bank is going to find out about the problem eventually,” McNally advised. “Telling them early can help build your credibility, and there might be something the bank can do at that point. If you wait, it might be too late. Avoid an ‘us vs. them’ mentality. Banks want to work with you if they can. “Ask, ‘What can I do to improve the bank’s situation?’ You’re in a partnership closer than ever before, especially if you’ve made a personal guarantee,” said McNally. “And ask questions of the bank— communication must be two-way. Find out what’s driving their decision-making” Moran advised. “If you turn your company around and begin making payments again, take the pulse of banking relationship,” McNally advised. “Is there lender fatigue? Are there bad memories? Is the relationship still working? Even if you’re doing well, it might be time to start looking for another bank.” Want information on debt service coverage ratios? In response to AMBA members’ questions, McNally and Moran have prepared examples of debt service coverage ratios and an industry financial ratio comparison for NAICS 333511—Industrial Mold Manufacturing. To request a copy of this information, please email McNally at or Moran at mmoran@ Questions? Call Patrick McNally at 312.980.2934 or Michael Moran at 312.492.1104 o

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2010 AMBA Convention Preview
Progressive Partnerships
By: Glenn Starkey, President of Progressive Components and panel presenter at the upcoming 2010 AMBA Annual Convention in Orlando, FL Creative mold builders are emphasizing the performance and service advantages that they provide. Similarly, suppliers within the industry are looking for ways to assist. Too many / too similar With continued input over the years from the mold building community, mold design software has advanced to enable a complex tool to be designed in hours or days, rather than weeks. Optimizing processes and increasing machining speeds have slashed mold building hours. The result is that we wanted: “Lean” – and we got it. with the OEM, and make a case that will be different than others quoting the program. Recently, a mold shop owner partnered with a supplier to assist in a sales presentation to his customer. Facts were gathered on the approach that was being quoted, and an alternative approach was formed. Side-by-side, a 16-cavity unscrewing tool estimated at $170,000 was compared with a 16-cavity collapsible core tool estimated at $175,000. It showed that the cycle time was reduced on the collapsible core mold by eliminating the time required to actuate gears and gaining the ability to eject a “warmer” part through easier release from the undercut compared to unscrewing molds. Ease of maintenance then had a dollar figure associated with it, as well as the savings of running in a smaller press. Annual savings could be estimated at $32,000, and over the life of the tool an expected savings arrived at over $150,000 – a compelling argument for how the mold builder’s competitors were quoting the tool. How often is a mold builder responding to a quote with an ROI analysis showing savings over competing bids? Selling a mold’s productivity performance is a clear differentiator from others. Service advantage All mold builders service what they sell, and typically they are addressing major repairs. Sometimes these are at a premium due to clear abuse in the field. Other times, the root cause is debatable and the molder often absorbs the costs due to this ‘gray area’ with their customer. There are now mold maintenance systems and software, as well as training and services, available that are intended to eliminate ambiguity and disputes over mold repair costs. A mold builder teamed up with a mold maintenance expert to conduct a maintenance capability assessment of his customer’s repair room. Taking dozens of factors into account, a ‘1-5’ rating was arrived at for seven key performance indicators and presented in a clear and concise snapshot. An overall negative rating, such as below ‘three’, and lack of clear documentation of diligent maintenance, can help a ‘verdict’ to be delivered by an impartial source. The molder can further develop its maintenance capability through onsite training and exclusive certification of its maintenance technicians. Rather than waiting for a dispute, a mold builder can proactively recommend an assessment, and be the one to introduce the topic of a mold warranty. How often is a mold builder receptive to the topic of mold warranties? The hesitancy towards this discussion is not due to a lack of confidence in one’s mold. Rather, it is based on a lack of certainty towards the conditions the mold will encounter. Rather than warranties being of value for litigating any “gotchas”, what is really being attempted is some advancement in eliminating the mold’s downtime and expenses. Liability isn’t the priority, productivity is. With that in mind, the mold builder can work together with the customer while armed with systematic processes and training to arrive at the best

Glenn Starkey

With global use of these mold design software tools and the global use of optimized processes and machining techniques, there is now a global overabundance of mold building capability. While there is a range of differences in mold design ‘approaches’, and there is a varying degree of accuracy and quality of the mold details themselves, one fact stands out: The differences in the world’s tools from past decades have narrowed as the world’s toolmakers now have similar technologies in place. With this glut of capacity, and narrowing differentiation of capabilities, how can one better serve the injection molder and OEM? Faced with pricing pressure, many mold builders emphasize reliable adherence to delivery dates, while also stressing ‘quality’. But increasingly, mold buyers aren’t differentiating quality, and instead are seeking an applesto-apples comparison of price and delivery, with a large number of candidates to get bids from. Communicating differences Two differentiators that can still be harnessed are the tool’s production performance along with the servicing of the tool. Together these factors lower the tool’s lifetime ownership cost and maximize the return on the tooling investment. Challenging OEM customers to not simply procure “the same old same mold”, and doing the math with them, isn’t easy. Some mold buyers aren’t technical, and often the savings that could result, even if it is exponentially positive, might not benefit the mold buyer’s budget. There is often little interest level towards any bold new approaches. Some new approaches have been developed by mold component suppliers for improving a mold’s production performance, while other suppliers have developed products for mold servicing. Both collaborate with mold builders in order to communicate the savings with their prospective customers. Increased production performance For decades, companies have specialized in unique technologies that give mold builders a particular advantage over traditional approaches. Some suppliers to mold builders for products such as collapsible cores, unscrewing core systems, alternative mold cooling approaches, and stack mold systems have partnered with mold builders to co-call on the OEM. Through this collaboration, the mold cost is not the primary focus, and instead the mold’s productivity is. One can ‘do the math’


possible maintenance practices and the most appropriate maintenance plan for the tool. Mold builders looking to utilize ‘service’ as a differentiator can access companies for software installation and training, assessment of their repair system capability, and certification of their repair technicians. A mold builder with a favorable MCA rating has a selling point towards winning prospective customers for whom ‘servicing what we sell’ is a high priority. Home court advantage Throughout the world there is a common supply of mold steels, components, and hot runner systems to tool builders who are utilizing the same software and machine tools. This has made it difficult to differentiate the mold itself from others. It’s less easy for a faraway mold builder to match the factors that work together closest to home. Pre-build consultation and performance optimization is difficult from a distance, while conscientious servicing of the tool from a long distance is impossible. When one thinks about what one is really providing for the customer – an optimally performing aspect of the OEM’s product development process – then tool performance and the servicing of it emerges as a differentiating advantage. Glenn Starkey is president and co-owner of the Progressive Components group of companies, which includes ToolingDocs LLC, Roehr Tool Corporation and AST Technology GmbH. Email Glenn at, or call him at 800-269-6653. o

AMBA featured convention topics and speakers are: AMBA Status Report The American Mold Builders Association has worked hard over the past year to provide top-notch benefits and services such as webinars and lead lists, among other unique benefits. Don’t miss this informative report on your organization as we seek to help guide the future of mold manufacturing in the USA. Melissa will provide an insightful look at the AMBA organization and its recent accomplishments.
Melissa Millhuff

Mold the Future of Your Business AMBA’s President and mold manufacturing company owner Steve Rotman will discuss the importance of molding the future of your business and what you can expect to gain from attending this years convention.

Steve Rotman

Registration is Now Open for the AMBA 2010 Annual Convention

Manufacturing a Better Future for America Richard McCormack and Scott Paul, our Keynote Speakers, will take pages from their newest book; “Manufacturing a Better Future for America ,” and present attendees with a look at what American manufacturers need to do to create a better future for ours and future generations.

March 21-25, 2010 Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa , Orlando, FL Do you have the ability to mold the future of your business? Or are you being blown around by the economic storms? Where will your business be a year from now? Where will your business be five years from now? If you can’t answer those questions, then you need to join the American Mold Builders Association for the 2010 Annual Convention and learn how to “Mold the Future of Your Business”!
Richard McCormick Scott Paul

Richard McCormick, is the editor and publisher of Manufacturing & Technology News, a publication he created in 1994. Scott Paul is the founding Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Their combined expertise and knowledge will bring a new perspective on how we can help ensure the success of the moldmaking industry and manufacturing in America.



2010 AMBA Convention Preview
The Future of the Mold Industry Are you concerned about the industries you currently serve? Looking for new business in new markets? Don’t miss these panelists as they provide analysis and commentary on these markets to help you decide in what direction your company needs to move. This expert panel will provide unique insights into these three major markets that mold manufacturers serve: “relationship” sales people to make the sales team more effective and the company more profitable. Preparing Your Employees for the Future Ryan Pohl’s Expert Technical Training practice evolved from his work as the Training Coordinator at Commercial Tool and Die in Comstock Park, MI . “We must start laying the groundwork for building the next generation of skilled workers,” Pohl states. “A renewal of pride in workmanship, updated training content and methods, as well as careful planning can secure our futures as leaders in the industry.”

Ryan Pohl

Jack Shedd

Laurie Harbour

Jerry Siedelman

Ryan’s presentation will raise awareness in our industry of the coming skilled-labor shortage and how it has the potential to dramatically hinder future sustainability and growth Building Strategic Relationships with Suppliers Todd Schuett of Creative Evolution, Scott Fernandez of Vega Tool, Rob Esling of Industeel, Glenn Starkey of Progressive Components, all suppliers to the mold manufacturing industry, can help you secure your future in many ways. The days of the supplier and the moldmaker being on opposite sides of the fence are over. Learn how you can work with your supplier to promote the value of your business to your customers, how your suppliers can help you provide more value to your customers, and how together we can all come out winners! At the 2010 AMBA Annual Convention you will: * Network with Peers and Suppliers * Get new ideas * Learn new business strategies * Find the information, and the people you need to “Mold the Future of Your Business!” You can’t afford to miss this opportunity to learn about best business practices, new mold manufacturing technology that is coming to your future, and hear solutions to finding skilled employees, implementing training programs, and how to keep your business growing and thriving! Join us in Orlando in 2010 to “Mold the Future of Your Business”! For more information go to o

Appliance Market: Jack Shedd, Vice President Marketing & Sales, Hoffer Plastics Inc. Automotive Market: Laurie Harbour-Felax, President of Harbour Results Inc. Medical Device Market: Jerry Seidelman, Sales & Marketing Manager, Tech Mold Inc. Strategically Planning Your Future Patrick F. McNally, a partner of Blackman Kallick’s Corporate Financing Group, has provided the AMBA members with much valuable advice over the years. His insights into financial issues, business valuations, and what to do when your customer files bankruptcy have proven helpful to many of our members. McNally’s presentation will give you the answers to all those questions you’ve Pat McNally wanted to ask – answers that will provide you strategic direction to help you formulate your future. Building a Sales Team for Your Companies Future After years of working with mold manufacturers and seeing a need for better structure in their sales efforts, Scott Smith, Managing Partner of SalesPro Inc., realized that many mold manufacturing companies lacked an understanding of what it takes to develop a sales team that is truly effective. Based on Scott’s many years as a successful sales person, his presentation Scott Smith will provide tips on how to develop longterm goals in sales organizations, how to accept rejection and overcome objections, and teach people to be

Why I Joined the AMBA: “I joined because AMBA is the largest and best lobby group fighting for us!” Doug Northup, CEO, A&O Mold and Eng., Vicksburg, MI


AMBA 2010 Orlando Convention
Registration Form
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e Up a Suit awing! Dr

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Convention March 21-25
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Monday, March 22 The Art of Dipping Strawberries Disney By Design Tour (must be 16 years old) $30 x __________ $99 x ___________ ___________ ___________

Tuesday, March 23 –
Spirit of Aloha Luau Adult $69.99 x ___________ Child (3-9) $39.99 x ___________ __________ __________ ___________

Please: One registration form per room, copy if you need additional forms. Reservation will not be accepted without deposit payment. Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be made in writing. For cancellations made after December 31, 2009 a minimum two-night penalty will result along with other convention penalties. The convention package is nonrefundable as of February 1, 2010.

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American Mold Builders Association
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Balance due to AMBA by January 31, 2010.



10 Things Most People Do Not Know About Injection Moldmaking
By: Randy Hough Over the course of the last 30 years I have only met a handful of people outside the manufacturing community who know anything at all about plastic injection moldmaking. I still find this surprising; why should something as essential to our modern way of life be so unknown? Some comments I have heard when I tell people that I’m an injection moldmaker are downright comical! 4.

and splitting it along the thickness. Now split it again and you have a thickness of .0002 in. That is small! A moldmaker must have a very wide range of skill and experience. Trigonometry, geometry, metallurgy, computer skills, hydraulics, electronics, hand working skills, and an almost endless amount of machining skills. It literally takes years to acquire the knowledge to master the many facets of injection moldmaking. Many moldmakers have completed two years of technical school, after high school. This is just to get hired as an apprentice. The normal apprenticeship lasts at least three more years. This is a rather intense learning period, after which he is becomes a journeyman. This means he is supposed to know most everything, but really, it is just enough to get into a lot of trouble! It takes a lot of concentrated effort to truly master the skills required. Some of the smartest people you will ever meet work as moldmakers. Some of these guys do things like build airplanes in their spare time. The nature of the trade is to be inventive, so, if they ever have any spare time, you can be sure that most guys are busy making electrical generators powered by the sun or a river, building race car engines, or building a timber-frame house by hand. The typical moldmaker works a 10 hour day, and often five hours on Saturday. Despite the fact that a Chinese tradesman will do approximately the same thing for about $2 per hour, there is still a huge amount of work in certain markets, such as medical. Injection moldmaking is incredibly global. It is normal to use tools and components from the U.S., Europe, and Japan. It is truly remarkable that you can use a machine made in Switzerland, use tooling made in Sweden, cutters made in Japan or Korea, steel made in the U.S., and it all works, very well. Moldmaking has never been successfully unionized. This is highly unlikely in the future either. Most moldmakers are highly independent and not the least bit interested in a union. This is a good thing for the consumer, otherwise things made of plastic would be much more expensive!


Randy Hough

Here are 10 things that most people just don’t know about this interesting and essential trade. 1. A typical injection mold might take well over 1,000 hours to manufacture. This always draws a frown, how could it take so long? Many jobs run well over 2,000 hours. All this for a cell phone or medical device that is just taken for granted! A mold might cost anywhere from $20,000 to $500,00! It’s a wonder things don’t cost more than they do! It also helps to explain why the wages do not really reflect the skill level of the worker. The individual components of the mold all fit together extremely accurately: typically all the pieces are within a tolerance of .0002 in/.005 mm. This doesn’t mean much, until it is put into perspective. Just imagine taking a cigarette paper 7. 6.



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10. Moldmakers are the types of people that would stop to help you, if you had a flat tire on the highway. Not only that, but if you had no jack, they would give you their own! Next time you use something made of plastic, thank an injection moldmaker! o

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AMBA 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


Dates To Remember
AMBA Annual Convention March 21-25, 2010, Orlando, FL. Save these dates! Registration now open!

Annual Convention Registration Now Open!
March 21-25, 2010, Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa, Orlando, FL Register now and learn how to “Mold the Future of Your Business”! Visit the AMBA event calendar online at for more information.

Automotive Plastic Part Design November 16 - 18 - Dearborn, MI This three-days in-depth automotive seminar will provide information on material selection, design procedures, processing techniques, and the assembly methods required when designing with plastics in the automotive field. EuroMold December 2 – 5, 2009 in Frankfurt, Germany The 16th EuroMold is the world-wide leading trade fair for Moldmaking and Tooling, Design and Application Development. As the international meeting point of the industrial sector, it presents products and services, technology and impulses for tomorrow’s market PLASTEC West 2010 February 9-11, 2010 - Anaheim, CA Plastics News Executive Forum 2010 March 7 - 10 - Tampa, FL Plastics News is pleased to announce its renowned Executive Forum conference will return to the Saddlebrook Resort next March 7-10, 2010. The event, previously held at the resort in March 2008, combines 2-1/2 days of conference sessions led by industry experts with prime networking opportunities including evening receptions, breakfasts, lunches and more. PLASTEC South 2010 April 28 - 29, 2010 - Charlotte, NC PLASTEC East 2010 June 8-10 - New York, NY The largest advances in primary processing machinery, computeraided design and manufacturing, production machinery, contract services, materials, molds and mold components, automation technology, materials handling/logistics, enterprise IT...and much more. PLASTEC Midwest 2010 September 28-30 - Rosemont, IL SOURCE the latest technologies and ideas in primary processing machinery, computer-aided design and manufacturing, production machinery, contract services, materials, molds and mold components, automation technology, materials handling/logistics, enterprise IT…and much more. o

Nominate the 2010 Mold Builder of the Year!
Nominations are now being accepted! The AMBA Mold Builder of the Year Award was instituted to recognize outstanding contributions made by an AMBA member. The recipient of this prestigious award will be an outstanding business leader, dedicated to the industry, and an active member of the AMBA. If you believe, and you are very proud that you have built a good solid business: a company that is doing positive things in the industry...we encourage you to nominate yourself! Do you work hard toward business growth? Try to find new ways to be competitive? That’s what it takes to be the Mold Builder of the Year! Tell us about it and why you believe you deserve to be the award winner. Previous Mold Builder of the Year Award recipients are:

• 2009 Bill Mach, Mach Mold • 2008 Pete Manship, Mold Craft • 2007 Jim Florian, QME, Inc. - Quality Mold & Engineering • 2006 Roger Klouda, M.S.I.Mold Builders • 2005 Bill Kushmaul, Tech Mold • 2004 Donna Pursell, Prestige Mold • 2003 Olav Bradley, PM Mold Company

The 2010 AMBA Mold Builder of the Year Award recipient will be announced during the Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, March 21-25, 2010 at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa. Announcement of the award recipient will be made to local newspapers, national industry publications, AMBA’s publication, and posted on the AMBA website. This years award recipient will also choose the industryrelated educational program or students(s) that will receive a $5,000 Progressive Components scholarship grant. Contact the AMBA National office at 847-222-9402 or sdaniels@amba. org for more information on the Mold Builder of the Year Award.



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Nominate the 2010 AMBA Chapter of the Year!
The AMBA Chapter of the Year Award was established to recognize those chapters that have made outstanding contributions to the moldmaking industry. AMBA chapters may nominate themselves or be nominated by individuals outside the chapter. The award recipients will be the chapter as a whole. If you believe that a particular AMBA chapter is doing positive things in the industry...we encourage you to nominate them! Does the chapter work toward implementing or maintaining apprenticeship programs? Or does your chapter work to promote moldmaking in your state and nationally? Those are some of the things that we’re looking for from the Chapter of the Year! Tell us about it and why you believe your chapter deserves to be the award winner. The 2009 AMBA Chapter of the Year Award will be presented during the Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, March 21-25, 2010 at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa. Announcement of the winning chapter will be made to local newspapers, national industry publications, AMBA’s publication, and posted on the AMBA website. A representative from the winning chapter is highly encouraged to attend the convention. The Chapter of the Year award winner will not only be presented with the prestigious Chapter of the Year Award, but the winning chapter will also choose the industry-related educational program or students(s) that will receive a $5,000 Progressive Components scholarship grant. Contact the AMBA National office at 847-222-9402 or sdaniels@amba. org for more information on the Chapter of the Year Award.

Member News
Commercial Tool & Die, Inc., (Comstock Park, MI ) Commercial Tool & Die, Inc. of Comstock Park, Michigan has achieved AS9100:2004 Rev B registration as certified by Perry Johnson Registrars, Inc. of Southfield, Michigan. The AS9100 standard was established by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) for the purpose of achieving significant industry improvements in quality and safety, and reductions in cost throughout the value stream. This standard includes ISO9001:2000 requirements and specifies additional requirements which help the organization focus on the rigorous expectations and requirements of the aerospace industry. Commercial Tool designs and builds medium to large plastic injection molds for the Automotive, Furniture, and Appliance industries. Aerospace registration means Commercial Tool can also perform aerospace-related manufacturing. The scope of Commercial Tool’s AS9100:2004 Rev. B registration includes the… (Manufacture and Repair of Tooling, Machined Components, Plastic Injection Molds, and Plastic Injection Molding for Aerospace, Aviation, and Defense Markets. ) Craftsman Tool & Mold (Aurora, IL) On September 22, 2009 representatives from AMBA member company Craftsman Tool & Mold (Aurora, IL) attended a manufacturing roundtable organized by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. It was held at Aurora Metals Division in Montgomery, IL. There were eight manufacturing companies in attendance, in addition to Mark Denzler who is in charge of government affairs for the IMA,

Nominations are Now Being Accepted for AMBA National Board of Directors
If you are interested in serving on the national board or wish to nominate another person, please contact the AMBA national office for a nomination form and return it to Melissa Millhuff, executive director, by FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2009. Board members serve for a three-year term. Nominations received after this date will not be accepted. All nomination applications received by the deadline will be submitted to the respective local chapter board for review. In the case of non-chapter members, nomination applications will be submitted to the chairperson of the Nominating Committee for review. Any nominee to be considered for the national board must receive chapter board approval, or in the case of non-chapter members, approval by the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee will also have the responsibility of preparing the slate of directors and presenting it to the general membership via fax or email for a ballot vote not less than 21 days prior to the date of the annual meeting. The newly elected national board of directors will be announced during the annual business meeting to be held at the Buena Vista Hotel & Spa, Orlando, FL on Wednesday, March 24, 2010. Full convention dates are March 21-25, 2010. o

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Illinois State Representative for the 83rd District, Linda Chapa Lavia, and Illinois State Senator for the 42nd District Linda Holmes. The goal of the roundtable was a chance for local manufacturers’ to voice their issues and concerns to their representatives. All manufacturers present had experienced a downturn in business over the past year. Some the issues discussed were: • What is being done about Illinois being one of the only nofault states for Workman’s Compensation? • Where can we find trained employees? • What is being done to keep manufacturing alive? • In general, what is the benefit of owning a business in Illinois? Both State Representative LaVia and State Senator Holmes seemed to understand the plight of manufacturing in today’s market, but also expressed the frustration of politics. Mark Denzler indicated that State Senator Holmes has really been a champion for manufacturing and for business owners. He also indicated that real change in Illinois politics will not occur without a strong governor. They asked him who we should vote for in 2010. He indicated that Kirk Dillard would be his choice for Illinois Governor! Electroform Company (Rockford, IL) A manufacturer of high-end injection molds and molding cells, has added another press to its R&D facility, bringing the total to eight and ranging in clamp size from 30-300 tons. The new press, an Arburg Allrounder 520A, is a 165-ton all-electric equipped with an Arburg MultiLift robot and an integrated Electroform inmold label-loading station. Arburg and Electroform displayed a similar cell in Chicago in June during the NPE2009 tradeshow, where toy cars were molded, inmold-assembled, and inmold-labeled. The new machine is the second Arburg that Electroform owns; the first was for a turnkey two-shot project. “Many of our customers have Arburg machines and Electroform has become a technical resource for complete manufacturing assistance including molding, tooling and automation,” said Wade Clark, president of Electroform. “It benefits us to have Arburg equipment to provide that level of expertise as a manufacturing cell integrator.” Clark adds, “Our offerings go way beyond making molds for our customers. We help customers become knowledgeable about new manufacturing processes, machinery technology and auxiliary equipment so they can optimize their manufacturing and reduce costs,” he said. “Having the molding equipment in the R&D facility, and our ongoing development of future tooling technology, allows us to show customers what new manufacturing methods are available to them, how they operate, and answer their questions with respect to optimizing their process.” Mach Mold, (Benton Harbor, MI) Mach Mold has announced that it has been approved for Tool and Die Recovery Zone status. The highly-talented and respected shop specializes in the build of custom molds such as thermoplastic injection, compression and extrusion blow molds. o

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AMBA Welcomes New Members
We want to welcome the following new members the AMBA: Cape Fear Mold & Tool, (Wilmington, NC) Robert Rockwell founded Cape Fear Mold & Tool in March 1996, after moving to Wilmington from northwest Massachusetts in search of warmer weather near the ocean. The company specializes in small to medium-sized multi-cavity, hot runner molds for the medical and fire arm markets and employs 10 people. In addition to moldmaking (70%), Cape Fear Mold & Tool provides some molding services including sampling of all the molds the company makes, and short production runs. Bob’s affiliation with Carolina’s chapter president, Scott Phipps got him interested in the AMBA, and he’ss looking forward to being active in the AMBA Carolina’s chapter. Select Tool & Die Inc., (Baroda, MI) Select Tool & Die is a small tool shop specializing in the building of new tooling, and repair and maintenance of existing die cast dies and plastic molds for the automotive, electronic and furniture industries. The company also does prototype tooling for the automotive industry. Select Tool was founded in 1995, and currently has eight employees, operating in a 7,500 square foot facility. Michael J. Conrad is the President and owner of Select Tool. Eifel Mold & Engineering, (Fraser, MI) Eifel Mold & Engineering began life as Eifel Pattern & Model, founded 1973 by Josef Hecker, a master pattern and model maker. Eifel is named after a mountainous region in Germany. In the late 1980s, as the industry changed and the need for patterns diminished, Josef’s

son, Richard, joined the company. Richard holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech, and had worked for a period of time at General Motors as an engineer. During the 1990s, Richard turned the company toward CAD design and making injection molds. Today, Eifel offers product development, mold design, prototype molds, production molds and fixtures for the medical, automotive and aerospace industries. The company is ISO 9001-2000 certified and is working toward AS 9100 certification. Eifel Mold has nine employees and operates in 10,000 square feet. Welcome Back!! Industrial Perfection Mold & Machine, formerly Industrial Molds, in Twinsburg, OH. o

Chapter News
California The chapter met for a general meeting on August 20th. Speaker, Bud Guitrau of Makino did a presentation titled, “The Care and Feeding of EDM’s”. There were 17 people in attendance. The California chapter board held a lunch meeting on October 1st to discuss the next general membership chapter meeting. The chapter met on November 10th for a general membership meeting. AMBA Executive Director Melissa Millhuff was in attendance at the meeting. Speaker Clare Goldsberry, discussed “U.S. Manufacturing Survival: Outsourcing to China Losing its Luster.” Carolinas Members of the Carolinas chapter met in conjunction with the SouthTec 2009 show on October 7. There were 13 people in attendance. The

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speakers at the meeting were chapter members that had attended the recent Fall Conference in Washington, D.C. They reviewed the events of the meeting with members that were not able to attend. Chicago The chapter is welcoming its new chapter coordinator Karen Norville. Her duties will include, coordinating board meetings and general membership meetings for the chapter, creating a chapter newsletter and more. Karen Norville has worked for the past eight years as a program coordinator for an after-school enrichment program which she developed with parents and teachers. She also organizes student tours for schools. In her many volunteer roles, Karen has planned large- and small-scale Karen Norville events, published newsletters, developed new programs, and written several grants with successful outcomes. Karen feels all of these skills and experiences will greatly benefit her as the new Chicago Chapter Coordinator. Karen resides in Homer Glen, IL with her husband and two sons. She looks forward to getting to know the members of the AMBA Chicago Chapter.

The chapter also met on October 7 with a cocktail hour sponsored by AMBA Partner Vega Tool Corporation. The chapter heard a presentation called, “Marketing Tactics for Mold Builders”, by Kent Gladish, Marketing Director of the TMA. There were 43 people in attendance – a great turnout! Attendees of the recent Fall Conference in Washington, D.C. discussed with the group what meetings they had with their Congresspersons and what their stance was on manufacturing.

The next meeting will be scheduled in late November/early December. A round table of mold buyers will be held, discussing what they look for when choosing a mold builder. More information will be sent when available.



Florida Florida AMBA members met on November 12 for a general meeting, and to discuss finalizing details for forming a Florida chapter. The group heard a presentation called, “Design Flexibility and Increased Profits Using Collapsible Cores and Expandable Cavities”, by Al Hikock of Progressive Components. AMBA Executive Director Melissa Millhuff was also in attendance. Minnesota The Minnesota chapter held their annual fund raiser Golf Outing at the Oak Glen Golf Course on July 23rd. See more detail and photos of this event on the Minnesota Golf Outing page. UltraPolishing AMBA Ad 2009.pdf The Minnesota chapter board of directors held a meeting on October 15th to discuss the next general meeting. Pennsylvania AMBA’s newest official chapter will meet on December 1st. Members will hear a presentation by Evan Howell, Regional Manager at Makino, discussing “True Five-Axis Machining for Die & Mold Applications”. AMBA Executive Director, Melissa Millhuff, will attend. West Michigan The chapter hosted their 2nd Annual Golf Outing on September 18. The chapter raised $6,000 towards our AMBA scholarship fund. As always the money will be given in scholarships to the children of employees in West Michigan chapter shops. See more detail and photos of this event on the “West Michigan 2nd Annual Chapter Golf Outing” page. The chapter also met on November 10th with guest speaker, Ryan Pohl, of Expert Technical Training. He spoke on “Workforce Development in Trying Economic Times”. Ryan Pohl will also be presenting at the upcoming 2010 AMBA Annual convention. Wisconsin The chapter met on October 13th for a general membership meeting. Eleven people were in attendance. The group heard a presentation called, “Design Flexibility and Increased Profits Using Collapsible Cores and Expandable Cavities”, by Al Hikock of Progressive Components. o

Speakers discussed the impact of the financial crisis and offer strategies to help identify and seize opportunities in this changed economic environment. It was an all-day meeting, running from 9am - 4pm. Additionally, the Wisconsin Chapter of the AMBA has joined the Wisconsin Precision Metalworking Council that also consists of the NTMA and the TDMA. “Between these groups we have about five people that get involved each month to discuss issues pertinent to the metal-working business,” said Glass. “We try to team up with other groups with like interests and by consolidating our 10/6/09 and collaborating on issues; we hope to be more effective efforts 3:02:05 PM in Wisconsin.” 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 sub-contracting 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.

Chapter Spotlight - Wisconsin Chapter


The Wisconsin Chapter President, Dan Glass of Strohwig Industries (Richfield, WI) says that while attendance at the Chapter meetings has been down lately, they always plan educational and informative events. The meeting on October 13 featured Alan Hickok of Progressive components, discussing alternatives to traditional tooling such as unscrewing molds or slides, and looking at collapsible cores and expandable cavities.


To help boost attendance at their respective meetings, the Wisconsin Chapter has been collaborating with the NTMA. A joint meeting was scheduled for November 10 at the Waukesha County Technical College, Navigating the New Landscape.

Dan Glass


West Michigan 2nd Annual Chapter Golf Outing
By: Andy Baker, Byrne Tool & Die, West Michigan Chapter The second annual West Michigan AMBA Golf Outing took place on September 18, 2009. It turned out to be a beautiful day with a cool start and plenty of sunshine, much nicer then the soggy weather we experienced last year. Attending the outing were a record 88 golfers representing 10 member companies and 20 different vendors! We were truly amazed at how this community came together for a good cause. Even in Michigan’s challenging economic climate our members and vendors came out to support our AMBA scholarship fund and ultimately the employees of our member shops. We feel truly blessed that we raised $6,000 towards our AMBA scholarship fund. As always the money will be given in scholarships to the children of employees in West Michigan chapter shops. We would like to personally thank everyone who helped make this a great event. When you come across one of our sponsors or golfers, we ask that you do the same. Without the support of our vendors and members, this outing would not have been such a great success. Thank You!



Minnesota 14th Annual Chapter Golf Outing
By: Justin McPhee, Mold Craft, Minnesota Chapter The AMBA Twin Cities chapter in Minnesota had another successful annual golf outing. All Twin City chapter shops and suppliers were invited to attend the July 23rd, 2009, 14th Annual, four-person, Best Ball Scramble at Oak Glen Golf Club in Stillwater, MN. Each year the local shops come together for an afternoon of golf, raffles, door prizes and a wonderful meal at the end of the day. There was a turnout of 76 players from nine shops and 14 suppliers. The local chapter would like to thank all the shops that participated including: Mo-Tech, Mold Craft, Isometric Tool and Design, Metro Mold and Design, Dynamic Engineering, Tooling Science, Twin City Tool, Mold-Tech & Imperial Tool. The golf outing is the #1 event for the Minnesota chapter to raise money for educational scholarships. This was a successful year as we were able to raise enough money for the (four) $1000 scholarships that are donated each year to applicants who are pursuing careers in the moldmaking industry. We would also like to thank the suppliers and sponsors that helped make this possible by graciously donating generous prizes for the raffle. Metal Treaters, EDM Sales, A. Finkl, Stone Machinery, Progressive Components, Schmoltz & Bickenbach, Bohler Uddeholm, Midland Tech, Productivity, Machine Tool Supply, Precision Punch & Plastics, Capitol Machine Solutions, DMG American, Open Mind Software & EDM Tech Center. The AMBA Twin Cities Chapter would also like to thank Tom Nielsen and his staff at Mo-Tech Corporation for donating their time and resources to organize this event and helping to make this another successful year.



AMBA Partner Spotlight – Welcome New Partners!
The AMBA Partner Program is rolling along full speed, and this quarter we’d like to introduce you to these new partners and encourage you to get to know them: JMF Precision Welding Dacula, GA Micro laser and micro TIG welding for the molding and plastics industries. Visit them on the web at Mold Surface Technologies Rockford, MI MST is a full service mold texturing facility. Specializing in new mold texturing, refurbishing textures, repair of mold surfaces, benching, polishing, engraving, and full glossing. For more information contact them by phone at 616-863-2100, or on the web at Ohio Carbon Blank, Inc. Willoughby, OH Ohio Carbon Blank Inc. (OCB) is celebrating 30 years as a full service graphite products manufacturer specializing in the production of precision blanks for electrical discharge machining (EDM) applications. We offer rectangular, round, hexagonal and special CNC milled shapes in several material grades including copper impregnated graphite. Graphite taps, metallics, including multi-channel tubes, tungstencopper rods, EDM wire and diamond coated cutting tools are also offered. OCB’s standard is same day shipment on most orders. An online graphite store now offers over 500 standard size precision blanks

(+/-.0002”) at deeply discounted prices. OCB is also ISO9001:2000 certified and offers our volume UPS shipping rates to all. Visit them on the web at : SalesPro, Inc. Farmington, NY SalesPro, Inc. was founded in August 2009 to provide sales tutelage and strategies to American mold builders. By utilizing state of the art technologies and machinery, moldmakers have been creating masterpieces for years. Unfortunately, sales have never had the same focus for some smaller companies. SalesPro, Inc. was formed to help bridge the gap between shop and sales during these very challenging times. Ten hours a week can yield high rewards for those whom dedicate themselves to the program. Visit them on the web at www. o

Partner News
Makino Makino’s 2009 Advanced Manufacturing and High-Precision Technology Expo held at the Auburn Hills, Michigan Tech Center provided industry leading advice and innovative machining solutions from Makino and other prominent companies. “I think it’s amazing they put on the event in the first place, given how bad the economy has been to the die and mold industry,” said Corey Greenwald, an attendee of the Expo and owner of Hard Milling Solutions of Michigan. “I think it shows Makino’s commitment to the industry--bringing in top-notch speakers to help us understand the economic situation we’re in and where it’s going, putting over 20 machines under power to show off new technologies, and presenting on

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topics like micromachining and automation to help us succeed and be more efficient.” Several hundred shops attended the event, and a number of select manufacturers also exhibited products at the Expo. Mold-Masters Ltd. Mold-Masters Ltd. (Georgetown, ON) announced the acquisition of PMS Systems Ltd. (Hereford, UK). The combined businesses will become one of the world’s largest hot runner controller manufacturing companies, and the global leader in hot runner control technology, said Mold-Masters in its announcement. “Mold-Masters and PMS have worked together for many years in the development and supply of the highest-quality and -performance microprocessor-based temperature controllers,” said Jonathon Fischer, president and CEO of Mold-Masters. “This seamless working relationship has enabled our two companies to take the next natural step and become a single company. We believe strongly in the strengths of PMS and together we will create additional value for our growing customer base.” Bruce Catoen, Mold-Masters’ VP of marketing and product development, told PlasticsToday earlier that the acquisition has great potential for customers. “We know the PMS control technology very well. It’s excellent and a great complement to Mold-Masters’ hot runner products. Extending its reach through our global distribution and support network is both a logical move for us, and a definite benefit to customers.” o

News for Die Casters

NADCA Board Approves Discounted Membership Rates for 2010 The NADCA Board of Governors, at its October 2 meeting, unanimously approved a 25% reduction in the original Corporate dues rate for 2010, and individual dues will be decreased to $75 for 2010. This reduction in dues follows the pattern of 2009, for which the Board had approved dues reductions up to 50%. The purpose of this dues reduction is to help retain membership during the economic challenges facing the industry. Also at this meeting, future Board terms and positions were decided. Chairman Mike Stroh resigned his position in September due to business reasons, and Leonard Cordaro took over as acting chairman through the end of 2009. Cordaro was also elected as the chairman for 2010. Vice chairman for 2010 will be Bob Dathe and secretary/treasurer will be Eric Treiber. Also, the 2010-2012 slate of Corporate Board members was approved: re-elected for a second term – Hal Gerber, Doug Harmon and Eric Treiber; selected for first term – John Littler, Rick Rogel and Doug Taylor. Chapter Board member nominees that were approved are as follows: re-elected for a second term – Bob Worthy and Mel Koenig; selected for a first term – Larry Larsen and Tom Troxclair.




Seeking Candidates for 2010 Award Nominations Once again, the North American Die Casting Association will recognize individuals and companies for their significant contributions to NADCA and the die casting industry. A broad range of these prestigious awards will be presented at the International Reception and Awards Ceremony during CastExpo ‘10 in Orlando, FL. Nominations for the awards are welcome from die casting industry professionals. They will be forwarded to the NADCA Awards Committee for consideration. A special nomination submission form appears below. Those wishing to mail/fax can download the award nomination form. For 2010, the Committee will present the following awards: Austin T. Lillegren Award: Presented to members in recognition of loyal and extraordinary service, this award was established in 1960 in memory of Austin T. Lillegren, whose devotion and leadership exemplified unselfish service. Doehler Award: Presented for outstanding contribution to the advancement of the die casting industry or to the art of die casting as represented by: • Technical Achievement • Advancement in Plant Operations • Other Activities Edward A. Kruszynski Supplier Excellence Award: Recognizes a supplier to the die casting industry that has demonstrated a long-standing record of NADCA membership, participation in and furthering of NADCA’s education efforts, longevity as an exhibitor at the Cast Expo and advertiser in Die Casting Engineer magazine and participation in NADCA committees and boards. Originally introduced as the Achievement Award in 1960, it was renamed the Edward A. Kruszynski Achievement Award in 1987, and given its new designation as a Supplier Excellence Award in 1991. Gullo and Treiber Award: Presented for marketing or sales activity expanding the knowledge of die casting. Established in 1969 by Chicago White Metal Casting Inc. Nyselius Award: Presented for the contribution to the industry of a significant technical accomplishment or device. Established in 1965. o

and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) became effective on February 4, 1989. WARN offers protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. This notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union); to the State dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government. In general, employers are covered by WARN if they have 100 or more employees, not counting employees who have worked less than six months in the last 12 months and not counting employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week. Private, for-profit employers and private, nonprofit employers are covered, as are public and quasi-public entities which operate in a commercial context and are separately organized from the regular government. Employees entitled to notice under WARN include hourly and salaried workers, as well as managerial and supervisory employees. What triggers notice Plant closing: A covered employer must give notice if an employment site will be shut down, and the shutdown will result in an employment loss for 50 or more employees during any 30-day period. Mass layoff: A covered employer must give notice if there is to be a mass layoff which will result in an employment loss at the employment site during any 30-day period for 500 or more employees, or for 50499 employees if they make up at least 33% of the employer’s active workforce. Notification period With three exceptions, notice must be timed to reach the required parties at least 60 days before a closing or layoff. All notices must be in writing. Any reasonable method of delivery designed to ensure receipt 60 days before a closing or layoff is acceptable. The exceptions to 60day notice are: 1. Faltering company. This exception covers situations where a company has sought new capital or business in order to stay open and where giving notice would ruin the opportunity to get the new capital or business, and applies only to plant closings; Unforeseeable business circumstances. This exception applies to closings and layoffs that are caused by business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time notice would otherwise have been required; and Natural disaster. This applies where a closing or layoff is the direct result of a natural disaster, such as a flood, earthquake, drought or storm.



The WARN Act
During these challenging economic times, it’s important to remember the exposures to liability for Employment Practices that an employer can inadvertently escalate under the pressures of the day. If it is essential to reduce your workforce, be aware of and abide by regulations that apply to that difficult decision. The Worker Adjustment

Penalties An employer who violates the WARN provisions by ordering a plant closing or mass layoff without providing appropriate notice is liable to each aggrieved employee for an amount including back pay and benefits for the period of violation, up to 60 days. An employer who fails to provide notice as required to a unit of local government is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $500 for each day of violation. Enforcement of WARN requirements is through the United States district courts. Workers, representatives of employees and units of local government may bring individual or class action suits. In any suit, the court may allow the prevailing party a reasonable attorney’s fee as part of the costs. Information Specific requirements of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act may be found in the Act itself, Public Law 100-379


(29 U.S.C. 210l, et seq.) The Department of Labor published final regulations on April 20, 1989 in the Federal Register (Vol. 54, No. 75). The regulations appear at 20 CFR Part 639. General questions on the regulations may be addressed to: U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Office of Work-Based Learning (202) 219-5577 o

• Identify possible social-distancing and other means to minimize exposure and spread of illness within the workplace. • Review methods for providing ongoing information about both the pandemic threat and the status of the business to employees at work and at home. • Make sure the plans allow for staff to work at home where possible and appropriate. • Consider any vital processes that must be maintained at a central location in a pandemic, such as call centers, health services, and services vital to the vulnerable. • Review the structure necessary to manage the crisis effectively. This includes how to implement multiple business continuity plans, cope with significant increases in the number of employees working from home and substantial changes to the marketplace and the supply chain. Make sure crisis management and business continuity management plans include pandemic scenarios and exercise the plans where possible. Taken from the Summer 2009 Insurance Update newsletter from Gibson Insurance. o

Pandemic Preparedness
As H1N1 flu cases in Europe and areas outside North America mounted, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the global threat level to six, proclaiming the world’s first flu pandemic in 41 years. Although many health officials say that the further spread of the virus is inevitable, it’s not at all clear how much threat it poses. While we’ve seemed to dodge a bullet, the threat remains very real. Now is the time to be vigilant, to prepare for the very real possibility that a stronger strain will reemerge in a few months. Even if it doesn’t, there will be something, sometime, for which your efforts to be prepared now will pay off later. Businesses will need the following: • A crisis management plan that includes tailored elements for pandemic, including policies for business travel, locating staff, social-distancing, medical screening, and an extensive awareness and communications plan and process. • An alternative workforce or work-at-home policy and plan in the event that a large portion of the workforce is or may be impacted by pandemic. • A strategy for taking special precautions to assess the health of the workforce and potentially turn back infected workers who report for work. • A process for dealing with emotional impacts of such events as death on the individual’s family members and on the workforce in general. • A process for orderly shut down or reduced service delivery based on reductions of customer demand, labor force, raw material supply, or energy resources. • Continuity procedures for core functions that must be kept running. • A process for working collaboratively with suppliers to maintain critical flows of supplies, business services, and products. Evaluate your firm’s risk management controls, human resource, and other pandemic policies, as well as update crisis management plans and crisis communications capabilities based on the threat of a pandemic. Additionally, there are preventive and preparatory actions that can and should be taken now, including: • Prioritize business activities. • Review and understand any potential impacts to your supply chains. • Review company travel, hygiene, medical screening, anti-viral medications, and healthcare support policies. • Provide anti-bacterial sanitizer and other materials.

Good Housekeeping
Do you recognize the importance of good housekeeping practices? Understanding the role of developing and maintaining good housekeeping habits will help your organization identify and eliminate potential safety hazards before they have a significant impact on your bottom line. Some of the benefits of good housekeeping are: • Eliminates accidents and fire hazards • Maintains safe, healthy work conditions • Saves time, money, materials, space and effort • Improves productivity and quality • Boosts morale • Reflects a well run organization Some of the costs of poor housekeeping are: • Slips, trips, and falls • Fires • Chemical and machine accidents • Injuries from electrical problems • Collisions and falling objects • Health problems Make time for housekeeping, evaluate your work space, and remove hazards before starting work. A great practice is to clean as you go, and never ignore a safety hazard. A simple daily check list: • Floors • Aisles • Workstation • Equipment • Storage • Waste disposal


The benefits of good housekeeping do affect your safety culture and are far reaching in every organization. Let each one of us ensure we have established these practices for the benefit of our organization. Taken from the Summer issue of Gibson Insurance Safety Network Newsletter. o

Putting Their Best Foot Forward: Keeping Worker’s Feet Safe on the Job
The simplest foot injury could leave one of your workers off the job for days or even months and could cause other chronic issues down the road. To make sure this doesn’t happen to one of your workers, you need to make sure you know all there is to know about foot protection so your employees start off each day on the right foot. Each year thousands of foot injuries occur in the workplace. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 500 foot injuries happen per day in the United States. Improper footwear results in lost toes, crushed bones, sprains, breaks, burns, punctures, and other injuries that could be prevented simply by ensuring your employees are wearing the right footwear for the job. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is any equipment or attire that should be worn to keep workers safe on the job. Everything from eye protection to gloves and hard hats helps keep employees from suffering workplace injury. Foot protection is also a key component when considering PPE and evaluating ways to protect your worker’s health. Conditions requiring footwear safety According to OSHA guidelines, foot and/or leg protection should be worn when the following work conditions are present: • When there are heavy objects such as barrels, tools, beams, bricks or other objects that could roll, fall or be dropped on an employees feet. • When employees are working with sharp objects such as nails, spikes, or tools that could potentially pierce the soles or uppers of ordinary shoes. • If employees are exposed to molten metal or other hazardous chemicals that might splash on feet or legs. • When a worksite contains hot, wet, oily or other slippery surfaces. • If the job includes electrical hazards such as cables or wiring. • When the work area has uneven surfaces or holes where workers could easily twist or sprain their foot or ankle. Nearly all jobs require some sort of footwear precautions. Even the average person going out to mow his or her lawn should choose a heavier leather shoe or boot over flip-flops or bare feet. For employment purposes, footwear must not only be appropriate, it must also meet certain standards. According to OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment booklet, “Safety footwear must meet ANSI minimum compression and impact performance standards in ANSI Z41-1991 (American National Standards for Personal Protection – Protective Footwear.) or provide equivalent protection. “ What to wear: some basics • Metatarsal guards: made of aluminum, steel, or plastic, they fit over the toes of regular shoes and protect from impact.
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• Safety shoes: These shoes can have impact-resistant toes, heat resistant soles and metal insoles to protect the wearer against puncture wounds and burning from hot surfaces, and prevent static electricity in areas where there are electrical hazards. Special purpose shoes include: • Electrically conductive shoes • Electrical hazard, safety toe shoes • Foundry shoes, with built-in toe guards Proper care and regular inspection of footwear are also important for keeping your workers safe. All boots and shoes should be regularly inspected for tears, holes or other damage. Footwear must be in good condition in order for it to keep workers safe. Make sure you are walking the walk when it comes to foot protection for your employees. Taken from the 3rd Quarter 2009 edition of The Worforce Forum. o

• Coverage summary for employees. Surprisingly, many employees don’t realize the extent to which their employers are paying for these benefits; they only know their own out-of-pocket costs. A brief, to the point “Capsule of Your Benefits” can summarize coverage for employees, and include the price tag being shouldered by the employer. Taken from the Leavitt Group Summer 2009 Benefits newsletter. o

Staffing Up Staffing Right
By: Karla Dobbeck, PHR, Human Resource Techniques As business begins to be on the upswing, many employers are finding the need to increase staff. If you are in the staffing mode, take the time to hire the right people. First, determine the criteria you will use to sort through the resumes you receive. Pick four or five ‘musts’ and then only contact those who meet that list. Examples include years of experience, education level or experience with certain types of machines, equipment or software programs. Instead of doing most of the talking during the interview, try listening. Asking open-ended questions can give you a good indication of how that applicant will fit into your environment. Make certain you ask all of the applicants for a position the same basic questions and make sure those questions are related to the position. Asking the same questions will help you determine which applicant has the best set of skills and knowledge while ensuring equal treatment of all applicants. Take notes! Look at areas of the job that cause the most problems; perhaps communication or cooperation is lacking in the department. If so, ask for specific examples of past experiences of working through problems with others or ensuring everyone was informed about production needs and hot jobs. For management or leadership positions, ask how the applicant developed his/her staff in the past or what qualities the applicant looks for when selecting new workers. Even non-skilled labor applicants should be able to give examples of work behaviors (attendance, teamwork, etc.) to ensure they will be assets to your company. Instead of comparing the applicants to each other, compare each to the job itself. By working this way, you will more likely find the best person for the job instead the best out of the applicant pool. Over the past several months, savvy employers downsized by removing the least productive employees. By taking the time to develop a process for hiring right now, you will be more likely to re-staff with employees who are right for the position and for your company! o

Human Resources
Keeping Employees Happy - While Tightening the Benefits Budget
Within any business, the Human Resources (HR) department faces unique challenges during trying economic times. The benefits budget may be cut in order to help overall company finances leaving HR tasked to motivate employees who feel the squeeze of any cuts. What can an HR department do when faced with such a challenge? Consider the following ideas for containing benefits costs and easing the additional financial burdens today’s employees face. • Offer qualified transportation benefits. Commuting costs are becoming more burdensome for many employees. You can offer qualified transportation benefits at little cost to your company through a reimbursement arrangement funded with employee pre-tax dollars. Qualified transportation benefits can include transit passes, qualified parking, and rides to and from work in a commuter highway vehicle (also known as vanpooling). This type of arrangement can save employees money on federal, Social Security, and (in most cases) state taxes, making it less expensive for them to commute to work. • Consider implementing flexible work schedules, if this is an option for your type of business. For example, consider four 10-hour work days per week. This saves the business on energy costs and employees on transportation costs. Plus, many employees will appreciate the additional free day, whether it gives them a three-day weekend or a day during the week for running errands or relaxing. • Add voluntary benefits to your benefits package, or expand the voluntary benefits choices you currently offer. Voluntary benefits are paid in full by the employees who choose to enroll. They offer advantages to employees over purchasing these benefits in the open market: Employees typically enjoy some savings and convenience, since they are purchasing the benefits at a group rate and paying for them via payroll deduction.

Protecting Personal Information
Many of you may have heard about the FACTA regulations governing privacy issues for entities who allow credit or credit card use; or for financial institutions. What you may not have heard is how these new regulations are also affecting the employment relationship.



All employers are required to collect personal information about their employees including the social security number, date of birth, address and in some cases, driver’s license number. Employers also have an obligation to keep this information private and put security measures in place to ensure the information is not stolen. Personnel files should be locked at all times with access only provided to those with a need to know. For years, the law has required that medical information is stored and locked separately from the employee’s file (ADA) but there is no requirement to store other personal information separately. To ensure complete privacy, consider creating file folders within the employee’s file to separately store payroll information, job related information and other personal information such as mortgage verification and/or wage assignments. This way, when a supervisor asks to see a file, you can be assured that the only information he/she receives is information about job performance and work behaviors. Always file the I-9 Form separately and away from all other employee information. Next, develop procedures to ensure electronic employee data is kept separately from other company data. Consider creating a wall or separate drive within your server so that no one, except the person authorized to have access, can get into the information. Finally, develop procedures for destruction of old files and information. Employers should retain the files of terminated employees for six years and then burn, shred or deliver to a document destruction company for final disposal. This procedure should be in writing and a statement should be added to your employee handbook. o

Business Success Strategies
There Is Value in Struggle
By: Tom Reilly, Tom Reilly Training “In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.” Albert Bandura, Stanford University. There is value in struggle. I didn’t say there was pleasure or enjoyment in struggle, just value. The survivors of this Great Recession will one day be able to tell their stories of struggle and success to new generations of managers and salespeople. By now, most companies have shed the inefficiencies and practices that no longer add value. Most people have shed the excesses that have defined lifestyles for many. Neither of these corrections is inherently bad. Both are good for companies and individuals. Many have learned there is value in struggle and have developed a sense of self-efficacy in their efforts to prevail. There is value in getting lean. Streamlining and returning to one’s roots is invigorating. It’s the organizational equivalent to the vine dresser’s pruning and prepping the vines for future growth. He removes the unproductive branches so as not to distract valuable resources from those that will produce. There is value in being strong in weakness. It’s not so much the promise of the philosopher, Nietzsche: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” It is more about finding strength you didn’t know you had prior to the struggle. Each of us possesses a wellspring of strength we dip into when times get tough. The really good news is that the strength is also there for good times. There is value in the synergy one must find to prevail in tough times. If energy is the resource for individuals, synergy is the indefatigable resource for survivors. John Donne wrote, “No man is an island…” Survivors understand the power of we over me. The wonderful part of a support network is that when one is weak, another can be strong. That reciprocity ensures someone is always willing to carry the load. There is value in releasing the creativity and inventiveness that struggle calls for. Is necessity the mother of invention? Maybe. Resilience researchers at ASU found that survivors are inventive. They rely on their resourcefulness to find a way out of their difficulties. They make do with what they have. There is value in the humility that accompanies adversity. Adversity strips away façades and introduces to our naked and vulnerable selves, generally the most likable part of any of us. It is in those dark moments that we cry out for the help that only the humble can appreciate, “I can’t do this on my own.” Then, miraculously, help arrives. For those who read these Sales Bytes, you know my optimism is relentless; I am always looking for the light. It sure beats sitting in darkness. Contact information: Tom Reilly Training, Chesterfield, Mo., 636-5373360 or visit them on the web at o

Managing Performance
Many companies have experienced a slow down and wage cuts or freezes. Don’t let this affect your decision to discuss performance with your employees. Especially now, they need to know that you are appreciating their work and their effort. According to a recent report on the extent of typical supervisorsubordinate misunderstanding, supervisors and workers don’t always see eye-to-eye when it comes to what the job really is. In fact, they only agree about 60% of the time. To combat this misunderstanding, consider basing your performance discussion on the actual job description. Doing so will ensure everyone is talking about the same work and be able to better identify performance issues. In addition, look at what work behaviors are expected. These might include clear communication, taking responsibility for one’s own errors, leadership or ability to follow instruction. Finally, look at skills needed for the position. These could include computer or software/system skills, math, blue print reading, machine knowledge, mechanical skills, professional continuation coursework, etc. If you currently use a rating system, reconsider your overall goal to see if ‘rating’ your employees really helps you meet that goal. Most rating scales are completely subjective and open the door for disagreement and hostility. In addition, rating someone as ‘average’ or ‘meets expectations’ might lead an otherwise good employee to begin doubting his/her value to the company while giving out ‘excellent’ or ‘greatly exceeds expectations’ gives the company no cover for performance based decisions later! Remember, if your goal is to get your employees to work harder, use tools that help, instead of hinder, that goal. o

In the Safe Zone: Parking Lot Safety
Parking lots are a special issue for many employers: they’re a part of everyday work life, but because most employees don’t do their work there, they’re easy to overlook in terms of workplace safety. But they can—and do—pose a real hazard for employees, whether as drivers or pedestrians.


More often than not, simple changes to a parking lot’s design and maintenance can help improve its overall safety. For example: • Traffic flow. Is it clear which way cars should move within the parking lot? Are pedestrian walkways clearly marked? Creating a predictable flow of cars and people can help reduce parking lot accidents between cars, as well as those between cars and pedestrians. • Snow and ice removal. Parking lots, by their nature, provide space, and storing snow typically poses no problem. Still, it’s important to take a close look at where that snow is piled. Does it block the view of drivers or force pedestrians to walk in the road for an extended period? If so, re-examine where snow is piled. And don’t forget to adequately sand or salt the parking lot and walkways on icy days to prevent sliding, slipping and falling. • Lighting. Adequate lighting is a normal part of parking lot design, as is making sure the lights are on at appropriate times—taking into account the changes in sunset and daylight savings time. If your employees work different shifts, or if they can come in especially early or late, consider lighting the parking lot throughout the evening. • Landscaping. Your parking lot may contain trees or shrubs that enhance the aestheticsof the area, but don’t forget that their untended growth may affect the line of sight for drivers and pedestrians. You may also want to examine the lot’s lighting as it relates to landscaping: does it create shadowed, secluded areas that may affect the perception of personal safety? • Preventing falls. Getting to work from the parking lot is another area where lot design can make a big difference. Locating speed bumps away from pedestrian traffic and ensuring tire stops are well marked

and maintained can go a long way toward preventing trips and falls. Pay attention to— and quickly repair—any hazards such as broken pavement or gratings to maintain a safer walking environment for pedestrians. o

How Business Credit Ratings Are Determined
Not unlike a personal credit rating, a business’s credit rating is a review of the company’s transaction history. Such a rating is used to measure the level of financial risk of the business to a lender and the probability of the business defaulting on the loan. The information used to create a rating is gathered from companies with which the business has had financial relationships, such as suppliers or other lenders. Additional data can be included from corporate finance reports, business filings, or lawsuits, as well as liens and judgments filed against the company. Among the primary determining factors of a business’s credit report is how prompt the business is in meeting its payment obligations, such as paying suppliers, repaying loans, and paying monthly leases and bills. Does it pay on time, or is it late with payments? What is the structure of the company’s debt? Are loans secured or unsecured? How much debt is the business carrying? Along with the payment history, strong consideration is also given to cash flow, the financial resources of the company, working capital, and net worth. The fiscal information, however, is not considered in a vacuum. The business profile is also factored in, including the business’s size, history, and reputation, along with the background of the principals and company stock, number of employees, and structure of the business. By factoring in the business profile, the rating will also reflect the size and scope of the business.



All these factors are included in a mathematical formula that comes up with a credit rating. The credit rating illustrates whether a business: • Is responsible in its payment procedures • Has the assets to repay debts or provide collateral if necessary • Has the character and background to stand behind its business transactions A good credit rating provides a company with the ability to obtain the necessary funding for expanding or purchasing new equipment. It can also help in matters of liquidity, ensuring that the business has the necessary cash on hand for day-to-day operations. In addition, a good credit rating can benefit your business if you’re looking to: • Partner with another company • Increase your inventory • Hold a special promotional event • Increase your line of credit • Attract new investors • Sell the business To enhance your chances of obtaining a higher business credit rating, separate your personal credit from your business credit. This means that you want your business to be structured as a corporation (an LLC is most common for small businesses). Although one of the major credit reporting companies now has a score that reflects the combined business and personal credit lines of an entrepreneur, it’s best to separate the two as soon as you can. You’ll also want to make sure your business has all the necessary licenses, and is registered with the major reporting companies such as Experian and D&B. It’s important to do most of your business with companies that will report to the major credit reporting agencies. After all, you can have a marvelous track record for paying everyone on time, but if it’s not being reported, then it won’t factor into your credit rating. Taken from the August 2009 issue of the Stellar Risk Report & Journal. o

of company-owned assets (particularly automobiles); and how other transactions between the company and its officers/owners should be included. Please be sure to contact your accountant if you have questions about your company’s annual meeting and making sure tax-effective minutes are prepared. Taken from the September 2009 issue of The Sunderland Group E-Newsletter. o

AMBA Answers
Have you used “AMBA Answers”? The AMBA offers this unique networking option that you can use right from your office! It’s located on the AMBA website under “My AMBA”. My AMBA is the “Members Only” section of the site. You can post a question to AMBA Answers and your question will be broadcast to all the AMBA members. If you have a question that you need assistance with, please visit the AMBA Answers section of the website and post your question! Your fellow members will be happy to help you out and get you the answers that you need! Here are some examples of the kinds of questions and responses you’ll find on “AMBA Answers.”: Question: Can we use titanium mold plate in a mold to save weight? How does it machine? Answers: • We’ve used titanium for several tools for different reasons. We have not found it easy to EDM, machining it is not too bad. You might want to talk to your tooling sales rep and see what types of tooling is recommended for your application. Also, be aware of what the cost will be for a plate of it. You might want to consider other ways to decrease the weight of the tool other then this. • Titanium is considerable harder to machine. To save weight, you would be better off Drill or wire cut out sections where ever possible, waterjet cutting would also work. • You “could” use titanium to save weight however it is very expensive, somewhat “gummy” to machine, and difficult to bench or polish. Why not simply use a nice grade of Aluminum (7075, QC7, etc.) or with either steel or aluminum you could machine out some pockets to remove excess material of weight is really that critical of a concern. I think either would be more cost effective than using Titanium. Question: What amount are you using to reimburse for travel expense(mileage)? The IRS suggests an amount, but an employer can set the amount at their own discretion. $.55 is the current IRS rate. Answers: • We have a couple company cars that keep people out of their personal vehicles for company business as much as possible. When they do take their vehicle we pay mileage at the IRS suggested amount that way there is no issue and everyone is treated fairly. • We pay .45 cents per mile, $.5.00 Breakfast, $10.00, lunch and $15.00 for dinner, unless accompanied by a customer. We also drive to destination if it is less than eight hours instead of fly. • We stick with the IRS suggestion. It is generous but then again there is a fair amount of hidden cost in a vehicle. o

Corporation’s Annual Meeting and Corporate Minutes
If you are operating a corporation (including an S-corporation) you are probably aware that one of the requirements for maintaining a corporation’s existence (and the liability protection that it affords) is that the shareholders and Board of Directors must meet at least annually. Although most view this as a necessary evil, it doesn’t have to be a waste of time. In addition to being a first step in making sure the corporation is respected as a separate legal entity, an annual meeting can be used as an important tool to support your company’s tax positions. The timing of the Annual Meeting should always be scheduled within one or two months before the corporation’s tax year-end. This allows the meeting to be used as a tax planning session; the current year’s results and operations can be reviewed, a discussion on budget items for the following year can be discussed, and the corporation’s legal and tax advisors can meet together to ensure everyone is on the same page. A few other important items to be addressed at the meeting and identified in the minutes include outlining the officers’ responsibilities, skills, and experience levels along with assigning a reasonable amount of compensation; buy/sell agreements should be reviewed; personal use


Classified Corner
FOR SALE - Herbert Devlieg Spiramatic 3H-48 Jig Mill Description: Model: 3H-48 S/N 4-1707 Spindle Dia - 3” Spindle Taper - #40 Table Size L x W - 48” x 35” Horizontal Travel X - 48”Vertical Travel Y- 36” Spindle Bar Travel Z - 16” Table Retraction W - 16” Spindle Speeds (16) - 25 - 1200 RPM Spindle Drive - 7.5HP Milling feeds per minute - 16-.5-36 Spindle Bar Feed Rate (16) - .002 - .024 Overall Height 8’ 6”Length - 13’ Width - 11’ 7” Equipped with Digital Readouts - X,Y - Newall Topaz Power Draw Bar, Mill reconditioned in 1996. Contact Info: Jon Winter - 269-422-2137Quality Mold & Engineering, Baroda Michigan Price: $7700.00 OBO FOR SALE - Starrett Digi-Chek II, Master Height Gage, With Starrett Digital Read-Out Description: Starrett Digi-Chek II—Model 49, with Starrett Digi-Chek Read-Out...1991 Measures up to 48” high, In Excellent Condition It is Similar to the One on Page 126 on the Starrett Website—Under Precision Tool/Height Gages/Digi-Chek, Except the Read-Out is Different, probably due to the DRO’s age. We bought it from a machine shop that recently shut down due to retirement, and we can see that it was calibrated regularly, etc. It would be of good use to any shop needing to measure a tall height accurately. It is a nice piece of equipment. Contact Info: Radius Precision Mold, LLC. kevin.jensen@ K.C. Jensen, cell phone 801-518-3454 Price: $1,500.00 OBO FOR SALE - (2) Charmille Bench Top EDM’s Description: Radius Precision Mold, LLC...In January of this year, RPM purchased two Charmille Bench Top EDM’s from a local machine tool company. We purchased the following: Charmilles Eleroda 110 (Bench Top EDM )Erowa-Swiss Tool Holder Attached—With No Tool Holders Available Orbiting Head Digital Read Outs Attached In Absolute Excellent Condition. EDM Color is Green Sits on Top of a Lista Work Bench (Green). Pictures are available. We were told that it was in great working condition, but we never got around to hooking it up and running it. However, we do a lot of business with the company we bought it from and would have no reason to doubt them.Charmilles D-10 ISOCUT (Bench Top EDM)Unique Tool Holder System— Unknown to us: It came with a large variety of tool holders and adapters, etc. Also, unique flushing systems with numerous fitting and adapters for flushing, etc. Also, included was a lot of special fixtures and tools, etc.Large Orbiting Head It appears to be in Great Condition. EDM Color is Green and Tan. Has a much larger controller and setting selection, than the Eleroda. Pictures are available. This EDM came with the other, however they didn’t think it was in running order, but sold it as a package deal. They said it could most likely be easily fixed, or used for spare parts for the working EDM. Our plan was to get it running, but again, we just didn’t get the time to hook it up and get it running. We are trying to sell these items as a package deal. We are asking for $3,000 for the total package, or a “best offer.” We can crate/box them up and pallet them, shipping them to wherever you need them. Buyer will need to pay for the freight charges, but we will package them up nicely. Contact Info: Radius Precision Mold, LLC kevin.jensen@ K. C. Cell phone 801-518-3454 Price: $3,000.00 Total Package 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: 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 - 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 david@ Price: $1,200 w/o Mag Chuck or $1,400 with Mag Chuck. o

Tech Corner
Makino Introduces V56i for Large Part Hardmilling of 50+ HRc
Updated version of the popular V56 now available Makino has upgraded its V56 vertical machining center. The new V56i, designed specifically for large part, high-speed hardmilling, will provide users with tighter accuracies, sustained dynamic performance, superior surface finishes, and long hours of continuous, unattended operation. “Shops can’t afford to let an operator babysit a machine because their machine loses accuracy,” says Bill Howard, Makino product manager. “Our new line of vertical machining centers, including the V33i and V56i, give shops the confidence to run complex, long-running jobs in hardened materials accurately, reducing scrap, reducing overhead, and making every job more profitable.” The V56i’s refined spindle provides increased stiffness and rigidity to reduce potential chatter during machining of 50+ HRc materials. An enhanced machine design reduces potential machine movement and associated thermal growth, common errors that could induce inaccuracy during long die and mold applications. These additional features help retain superior accuracy during long periods of unattended operation. Makino is a global provider of advanced machining technology and application support for the metalcutting and die/mold industries, for more information call 1.800.552.3288. o


Advertiser’s Index
Absolute Machine Tools, Inc. ......................... 19 Alba Enterprises, Inc . ..................................... 25 Bico Steel Service Centers ............................... 13 The Bodeau Group ........................................... 24 Choice Mold Components .............................. 11 Crystallume Engineered Diamond ................. 35 CVD Diamond Corporation ............................ 46 DMS ................................................................. 40 Edro Specialty Steels, Inc. .............................. 18 A. Finkl & Sons Co. ......................................... 43 Gibson Insurance Group ................................. 48 Graphic Products North America ................... 39 Graphite Express ............................................. 14
Think_metric GB 3_75x4_875:Layout 1 28.04.2009 9:49 Uhr

Harroun Seit

Enterprises ....................................... 30

Hasco America ................................................. 46

Think metric – it’s time !

Incoe Corporation ........................................... 17 Kelbros, Inc. .................................................... 28 M & M Tooling .................................................. 7 Makino ............................................................. 47 Millstar, LLC ...................................................... 8 OMNI Mold Systems, LLC .............................. 26 Osco ................................................................. 27 PCS ................................................................... 14 Proceq USA, Inc. ............................................. 39 Progressive Components .................................. 2 Rocklin Manufacturing Co. ............................ 16 Superior Die Set .............................................. 35 Tarus Products, Incorporated ......................... 36 Ultra Polishing................................................. 31 Wisconsin Engraving Co., Inc. / Unitex ......... 28 Yellow Transportation, Inc. ........................... 29

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