The Rodon Blog - A Focus on American Manufacturing and Plastic Injection Molding

Plastic Innovations for a Healthier Planet

Posted by Paula Hynes

8/1/15 11:00 AM

Advances in the development of new and improved polymers have led many engineers and product designers to re-think their use of more traditional materials in the manufacturing process. Parts once thought of as impossible to create using plastic, are now being designed with polymers at a higher rate than ever before.

Plastics have historically offered many advantages over other materials, particularly metal. Plastic parts are lighter and afford more design flexibility. They tend to be less expensive than metals and need little if any finishing or additional assembly. And today's innovative polymers are developed with the environment in mind. Using bio-based solutions and easily compostable materials, the goal is to leave as little impact on the planet as possible.

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Topics: Plastic Injection Molding, Plastic Manufacturing, American Manufacturing and Products

[Guest Post] Reshoring in America: Current Issues and Future Outlook

Posted by Adam Robinson

7/28/15 7:00 AM

This article written by Adam Robinson originally appeared on the Cerasis blog on June 24, 2015

Future Outlook of Reshoring in America

Jobs & The Slow Movement of Reshoring
Notwithstanding many sound reasons for reshoring, an Information Technology and Innovation Foundation report indicates that U.S. manufacturing is not experiencing a "renaissance". Industry experts conservatively acknowledge that off-shoring has slowed, and perhaps "stabilized". Although around 80,000 manufacturing jobs have come back to the U.S. in the past 3 years, (about 60% from China), per research by BCG and others, there's no indication that a great number of additional jobs will soon return from Mexico and China.

In fact, since the recession, more manufacturing companies have been lost than gained in the U.S. There were 10% fewer manufacturers in 2011 than in 2008—a record low since 1977, when the Census Bureau started collecting Business Dynamics data. And, the labor force was 35% smaller in those days. Manufacturing has gained 700,000 jobs since 2010. However, there are a million fewer manufacturing jobs than in 2008. Job gains are largely due to increasing consumer demand, not to reshoring production back to the U.S. Productivity in factories continues to improve, however, and are more efficient than ever, so the best jobs picture we can hope for is flat as we don't believe that US Manufacturing jobs will ever be at the percentage they were at the peak in the late 70s.

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Topics: Reshoring, Videos

The Future of Plastics: The Material of Choice

Posted by Jill Worth

7/23/15 10:30 AM

Plastics make up the third largest manufacturing industry in the U.S. It is one of the most widely used materials in this country due to its durability and versatility.  According to SPI, the Plastics Industry Trade Association, the U.S. plastics industry employs nearly 900 thousand workers and creates more than $380 billion in annual shipments.

SPI just launched their first issue of the Plastics Market Watch, a series of analyses focusing on specific end-markets for the plastics industry. This series will look at the impact of the consumer on the business of plastics, including demographics, economics, policy developments and technological improvements. The first report discusses the trends for the automotive & transportation markets. Healthcare, packaging, and housing & construction will be analyzed in future publications. To give you a summary of this research, we have included a review from SPI’s blog “In the Hopper”.

The following post by Kimberly Coghill appeared on the SPI blog “In the Hopper” on June 10, 2015.  Follow SPI on Twitter

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Topics: Plastic Manufacturing, Manufacturing

Interested in learning more about plastic injection molding?

Posted by Paula Hynes

7/21/15 2:00 PM

Our eBook "An Introduction to Plastic Injection Molding" will give you everything you need to know to get started.  We developed this eBook with designers, engineers and purchasing specialists in mind.  It is written to provide a basic understanding of plastic injection molding presses, processes and costs.  Our goal is to make our customers and readers more knowledgeable about what goes into making a plastic part. You can download your copy of the free PDF here.

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Topics: Plastic Injection Molding, Plastic Manufacturing

The Integration and Collaboration of Design and Engineering

Posted by Jill Worth

7/16/15 9:30 AM

When creating an injection molded part, the collaboration of design and engineering is essential to the success of the end product. After the designer develops the idea for the part, it’s up the engineer to fine tune it so that it can be made into a mold for manufacturer.

At Rodon, our design and engineering team has an average of 20 years of experience in designing molds that optimize the manufacturing process. In one of our previous blog posts “Plastic Part Design and Manufacturablity”, we discuss the importance of integrating the design and engineering process from the beginning. “The process of plastic injection molding is designed to produce precision parts at a low cost. The part design must be developed to maximize the efficiency inherent in high-volume molding. With the right design, parts can be made consistently and with quality. Without a good design, costly processing mistakes can be made.

Design and engineering at The Rodon GroupDesigners and engineers in today’s manufacturing environment need to take an inter-disciplinary approach. It helps if companies provide a framework to cultivate this experience. All of the design engineers at Rodon started out building plastic injection molds from the bottom up. They learned how to utilize a CAD design to build a manufacturing tool. This experience has helped them develop creative solutions to part design and manufacturability

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Topics: Plastic Manufacturing

Improve Learning with Hands-on Activities

Posted by Paula Hynes

7/14/15 10:30 AM

The Rodon Group is a sister company to K’NEX construction toys.  We have been manufacturing these toy components at our facility since they launched in 1992. As a company, we are strongly committed to supporting STEM education through school tours and events. And, we encourage the learning process through the hands-on experience of building innovative creations.  From the K’NEX Thrill Rides to the recently launched Mighty Makers construction sets, these toys help reinforce math and science concepts.

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Topics: American Manufacturing and Products, K'NEX Brands, Made in America, STEM

Can Robots + Humans = the Ideal Workforce? 

Posted by Jill Worth

7/9/15 9:30 AM

Portions of this article were written by Jeff Green, Social Media Manager at Rethink Robotics and appeared on their blog

In a recent article from American Express Open Forum, our CEO and President Michael Araten spoke about what it’s like to hire a robot, in particular, Baxter, a collaborative robot from Rethink Robotics. The article states “employing a mix of human and robotic employees could become a more mainstream staffing strategy among small businesses in the near future.”

Robots such as Baxter can also help companies save money and increase productivity. At Rodon, robotics and automation have given us a competitive edge, especially against overseas manufacturers. A robot such as Baxter can work 24/7, has no need for benefits or breaks and can be taught a task within minutes.  "The employees love it. They've personalized the machine, and it feels like you're living in the future when you have a friendly-looking robot working alongside you," Araten says. 

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Topics: Manufacturing, Manufacturing Automation and Innovation, Rethink Robotics and Baxter

A Well-Designed Injection Mold Leads to Manufacturing Success

Posted by Paula Hynes

7/7/15 11:05 AM

In our first installment in this series of articles on how to make a quality custom plastic part, we discussed the design factors you need to consider when developing your product.  Designing for manufacturability is the first step in making a high-quality part.  In this article, we focus on building and testing a plastic injection molding tool.

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Topics: Plastic Injection Molding, Plastic Injection Molds and Presses

Celebrate July 4th and Buy American-Made

Posted by The Rodon Group Marketing Team

7/2/15 9:30 AM

There is no better time than the Fourth of July to begin a "Buy American-made" tradition.  It's starts by checking the labels.  Nutrition labels on food tell you what contents are in a product. Country of origin labeling tells you where the contents came from and where they were assembled. With a few exceptions, the government does not require this labeling; however companies are typically proud to display their "Made in the USA" origin. More than ever, American consumers want to purchase products made here and support jobs throughout our country.

Tips on buying American-made

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Topics: Made in America, The Rodon Group

How Reach Regulations Impact Exports

Posted by Guest Post

6/30/15 11:00 AM

This article was written by the Vinyl Division of Teknor Apex and originally appeared in the Teknor Apex, Pellets2Parts blog on August 2014.

REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation,Authorization and restriction of Chemicals and it took effect on June 1, 2007. It is a regulation of the European Union (EU) and it establishes the procedures for collecting and assessing information on the properties and hazards of substances; it is a system for controlling chemicals in the EU. Any company can be affected by REACH so it is important to understand where your company fits in the supply chain – this will determine what you have to do and when you have to do it. Under REACH, companies play one of four roles: manufacturer of chemicals; importers buying from outside the EU; downstream users using chemicals within the EU; and those companies outside the EU doing business with importers. To comply with the regulation, companies must identify and manage the substances they manufacture and market in the EU.

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Topics: Plastic Manufacturing

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