While work on the first issue of 2020 is well underway, we paused to see which Plastics Business articles from 2019 caught the eyes of our readers. The following stories were the top reads from 2019 for visitors to the website.
Founded on the power of a good idea, Intralox, a global, comprehensive conveyance solutions company based in New Orleans, Louisiana, has held true to the values, environment and culture instilled by founder J.M. Lapeyre. Now, more than 40 years later, Gregory Washington, extrusion supervisor, describes Intralox as “a company of ideas and self-managed people who play well together, respect one another’s contributions and have lots of fun at work.”
Costing, designing and developing a robust and repeatable manufacturing process, regardless of the application or industry, is a daunting task. In the plastics industry – specifically injection molding – the challenge can be amplified by tight tolerances for form and fit, meticulous surface finishes, the individual processing characteristics of resins, existing machine capacity, efficiencies and personnel resources.
The new worker on the production floor at Metro Plastics is a real go-getter: punctual, tireless and precise. The Metro crew might be excused for resenting this new wunderkind. But, since the manufacturing area now is decluttered and quality inspection is taking place in record time, the crew at Metro Plastics instead cheers the newbie – a collaborative mobile robot nicknamed UBER.
Injection molders invest time, skill and capacity to meet the needs of their external customers. Those customers, after all, are the lifeblood of the business – the determiners of the bottom line. However, some molders have an internal customer in the form of a proprietary product that can fill the void in custom work, add revenue, be leveraged for new custom business and bring a greater awareness of a plastic molder’s capabilities.
From Washington to Colorado to Texas and across the country, plastics manufacturers struggle with many of the same challenges in workforce acquisition, training and management: low unemployment, baby boomer retirements and a scarcity of potential employees with the essential technical skills. To solve the problem, some have turned to apprenticeships and internships, starting to build relationships with potential employees as early as middle school.