One of the premier educational events related to injection molding and mold making are the Molding and MoldMaking Conferences presented by Plastics Technology and Gardner Business Media. In November 2022 these two conferences were held concurrently in Charlotte, NC.
These conferences and exhibits are where industry leaders meet and discuss the latest developments in various molding processes, equipment, materials, and management techniques, with special emphasis on adding value to your business. These conferences are widely recognized as an important forum for sharing technical information and business conditions in injection molding and mold making.
Common themes included sustainability, the lack of skilled labor, and disruptions in the supply chain due to COVID-19. On sustainability, the demand for bio-based and recycled sources of material and their obstacles were discussed. Presenters also focused on the need for a robust molding process to control these resins. The lack of skilled labor was emphasized throughout the event and how important automation is to account for this absence.
Easier Process Set Up
One of the very first presentations on the Molding side of the event was from iMFLUX’s very own Gene Altonen. Gene presented the concept of utilizing iMFLUX to set up a Universal Process™ for each component. A Universal Process enables the molder to establish a process to produce quality parts quickly and easily no matter the machine or material. The key to a successful universal process set up is iMFLUX’s Auto Viscosity Adjust technology.
Manufacturers typically perform a full validation when a mold is moved to a different injection molding machine (IMM) or there is a material change. In such an event, every variable involved must be accounted for and justified (and quoted). These full validations are labor-intensive, expensive, and not sustainable. The Universal Process approach could be a game changer in terms of time and cost. Stay tuned to future blogs where iMFLUX will talk more about this.
Sustainable Mold Manufacturing
To close out the second day on the MoldMaking side of the conference, iMFLUX was once again in the spotlight. This time it was Kelly Santini, Sr. Sustainability and Safety Manager, talking about how sustainability has become a core principle for the iMFLUX HQ, especially on the mold building side of the business.
The presentation summarized some of the initiatives that have worked for iMFLUX when it comes to achieving manufacturing sustainability objectives. iMFLUX has achieved zero waste to landfill status for their facility in Hamilton, OH. This is achieved in part by reusing graphite, mold bases, manifolds, hardware, parting line locks, stack components, and bolts; or recycling metal shavings, metal turning, carbide cutting tools, cardboard, plastics and packaging materials.
iMFLUX has also gotten creative and utilized an employee led group to implement sustainability programs: Earth Day activities, employee garden, lighting and HVAC upgrades, electronics recycling events and more!
Learning and Networking
The main take away from the event is that our industry cannot be setting long term goals without new technology to enable success. We need to collaborate and continue to encourage events like Molding2022 and MoldMaking2022 to share disruptive ideas.