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Reshoring and FDI Surging in 20167

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Reshoring Initiative

The rate of jobs coming from offshore is up 200+% since the 2016 presidential election (Fig.1)
Reshoring Initiative
Fig.1 Data on reshoring and foreign direct investment (FDI) from the Reshoring Initiative Library.
We made a great start in 2017, but even at this higher rate, it will take 30 years to bring back five million jobs and eliminate our $700 billion non-petroleum goods trade deficit. A National Manufacturing Strategy is needed to ensure the current progress is maintained and further accelerated.

Our Current Initiatives

Help define the National Manufacturing Strategy: Complete the Reshoring Survey

The Reshoring Initiative has been helping companies do the best they can despite the tilted playing field. At the same time, we are working with the government and companies to eliminate the tilt and improve overall U.S. competitiveness. The Reshoring Initiative and Plante Moran have launched the “Manufacturing Reshoring Survey” to identify: (1) why companies produce and source so much offshore; (2) how big the price gap is, U.S. vs. offshore; and (3) what national and corporate policy changes are needed to make more reshoring viable for individual companies. We ask for your participation in the survey: Tell Washington what policy changes would motivate you to reshore.
Long-term planning needed
In conjunction with the survey, the Initiative is working on a Toolkit to improve U.S. competitiveness. We are seeking other organizations to partner with us in refining the program and presenting it to the administration and Congress. Please visit the Competitiveness Toolkit blog to see if you can help. Also see Industry Week: 40% Increase in US Manufacturing is Achievable for a description of the logic behind the Toolkit.

M.R. Mold & Engineering to highlight silicone molding expertise at NPE

Monday, November 20, 2017
November 16, 2017

M.R. Mold & Engineering will demonstrate its expertise in building silicone injection molds with tight tolerances, complex geometries and flashless processing capabilities at NPE 2018. Liquid silicone rubber (LSR) moldmaking and molding has become a specialty for the company, which is based in Brea, CA. M.R. Mold & Engineering produces molds for the medical, dental, consumer product and automotive industries.
In partnership with Krauss Maffei, M.R. Mold will run a four-cavity, in-mold slitting duckbill mold featuring a four-drop cold runner system at booth W403. In-mold slitting is part of the mold automation with specific molding machine sequencing.
In Makura USA’s booths—W911 and W1103—M.R. Mold will be represented with a four-cavity mold producing a magnification lens from optically clear silicone. A single-drop cold runner system on M.R. Mold’s universal base will feature ejection that presents the part for robotic removal.
Zieger Industries (booth 5483) will demonstrate M.R. Mold’s technology with a two-cavity LSR mold for a high-beam automotive application. The exhibit will show how silicone can be molded in applications that thermoplastics are incapable of doing.
“LSR poses challenges that do not exist in the plastics industry,” commented Rick Finnie, President of M.R. Mold. “With 34 years of experience creating solutions to those challenges, we can help companies with their requirements from concept through completion to speed their product to market.”
In M.R. Mold’s own booth (W4391), R.D. Abbott will showcase the latest addition to its technical services portfolio—a Liquid Additive Manufacturing (LAM) 3D printer. The patent-pending LAM 3D printer was developed in collaboration with German RepRap GmbH, a manufacturer of 3D printers, and Dow Performance Silicones. German RepRap’s LAM platform combined with Dow Performance Silicones’ 3D printable Silastic LC 3335 LSR is potentially capable of printing functional prototypes and enabling small manufacturing trials of complex parts. Further, the material properties closely match those of molded LSR, allowing an easy transfer into injection molding processes for high-volume manufacturing.
M.R. Mold & Engineering also designs and builds molds for silicone gumstock, thermoset and thermoplastics materials.
NPE 2018 comes to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, from May 7 to 11, 2018.

A Day Makes a Difference in Changing Perceptions

Monday, November 13, 2017
Earnest efforts by shops like this one help spread Manufacturing Day’s message about the realities of modern manufacturing and the opportunities associated with a career in the field.
Blog Post: 10/19/2017

Senior Editor, Modern Machine Shop

National Taco Day. National Golf Lover’s Day. National Talk Like a Pirate Day. It seems like there’s an unofficial holiday for virtually everything, many of which are downright silly. And yet, naming a specific day to honor a specific area of interest can have a real impact, particularly when celebrating is about more than just marking the occasion on a calendar. 
Leave it to the manufacturers to make their day a day of real action. Conceived in 2012 by the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International (FAM) and produced annually by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Manufacturing Institute (MI), Manufacturing Day is scheduled for the first Friday of every October (this year’s edition was October 6). From the outset, the intent has been for shops to open their doors to the public in order to lay outdated misconceptions to rest and expose the true reality of what it’s like to make things for a living.
Figures from the official website show that business owners have gotten the message. However, the best showcase of Manufacturing Day’s impact and the effort behind it can be found not in statistics, but in the real-world experiences of the shops and students that this expanding initiative brings together.

Ground-up Growth 
The photos above come from one of many shops that have helped drive the growth of Manufacturing Day. M.R. Mold and Engineering, a Brea, California, specialist in liquid silicone rubber (LSR) injection mold tooling, first participated in 2015 and considered it a great success, says Geralyn Anderson, marketing director. Although the shop had to skip 2016 due to scheduling conflicts, leadership was eager to host students again in 2017. Suffice it to say, this year’s event exceeded expectations, attracting more than 300 young people from eight area high schools. “We had 60 students in 2015, and we had hoped for about the same this year, but people came out of the woodwork,” Ms. Anderson says. “We had to expand this event to three days to accommodate everyone.”
This success can be attributed in part to relationships the shop has been cultivating since at least 2015, when President Rick Finnie visited Brea Olinda High School to give a presentation. That same year, Ms. Anderson sat on a committee that critiqued exit interviews for seniors graduating Century High School as part of a Santa Ana United School District (SAUSD) requirement to research a specific career path. Contingents from both Brea and SAUSD schools were larger in 2017 than 2015, with 80 technical students hailing from SAUSD’s Segerstrom High alone.
Of course, the existence of local technical programs like SAUSD’s is a contributing factor in its own right, but this hasn’t diminished the need for action on the shop’s part. For instance, Mr. Finnie reportedly attended a recent school district meeting in Brea to engage officials who are trying to institute their own such program. There’s also something to be said for putting effort into ensuring students take as much knowledge and inspiration from their visit as possible. Beyond just carefully planning each stop of the toolmaking tour, M.R. Mold brought in personnel from material supplier R.D. Abbott to provide a complete picture of how a part moves from design to completion. At the shop’s technical center, where customer molds are sampled, students were treated to a 7-minute PowerPoint presentation, a close-up look at raw material (both silicone and plastic), and demonstrations of both pumping units and injection molding machines in action. 

Benefits for Shop and Industry 
The 2017 event also marked the start of something new. M.R. Mold has just begun conversations with various high schools that attended, including Brea Olinda High, McBride High School in Long Beach, and Segerstrom High and other SAUSD schools, about a job-shadowing program to supplement the schools’ individual technical education efforts. “Our initial thoughts are that no matter what area of our company the student may be interested in—programming, engineering—we would have them shadow someone in the shop or molding area to understand the impact that position has on the rest of the business,” Ms. Anderson says. Work with teachers and other school officials on this proposal will begin in earnest after the first of the year, she says.
M.R. Mold’s enthusiasm for workforce development hasn’t gone unnoticed by peers. For instance, a $1,000 grant from the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) helped cover the cost of bussing students from area high schools. Manufacturing Day also marked the launch of the AMBA’s Educational Outreach Award, in which three individuals from member companies, including Mr. Finnie, were honored with the opportunity to award scholarships to educational programs of their choice.
For his part, Mr. Finnie has long considered himself an ambassador for the industry. For example, he’s been known to share his knowledge among processors and competitors alike in silicone elastomers classes at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Penn State University and Akron University. He views such activities as particularly important in a field like LSR tooling, which, as detailed in this article from 2015, must be constructed differently than more common plastic injection molds. “If we’re going to keep manufacturing in the U.S., the industry needs to be educated,” he’s quoted as saying in that article’s conclusion.
Based on the shop’s Manufacturing Day efforts this year, his passion hasn’t waned. And based on the growth of Manufacturing Day as a whole, he’s not the only one who thinks this way. Nor is M.R. Mold the only shop with positive stories to tell about their own efforts. In an era when fresh talent is as important as it is scarce, that’s encouraging.

M.R. Mold partners with RD Abbott at MDM West and NPE

Monday, November 13, 2017
M.R. Mold & Engineering is a global leader in the design and manufacture of injection molds for liquid silicone rubber (LSR), silicone gumstock, thermoset and thermoplastics. From concept through completion, M.R. Mold applies the expertise and technology to speed your product to market.  Product development, design, engineering, manufacturing, validation and molding are all performed in-house.
LSR poses challenges that do not exist in the plastics industry. M.R. Mold has 34 years of experience creating solutions to those challenges.

Liquid Silicone Injection Molds
M.R. Mold builds tight tolerance, complex geometry, flash less silicone injection molds for the medical, dental, consumer product and automotive industries.
In partnership with Krauss Maffei, Booth #W403, M.R. Mold will showcase a 4 cavity in-mold slitting duckbill mold featuring a 4-drop cold runner system running fully automatic. The in-mold slitting is part of the mold automation with specific molding machine sequencing.  M.R. Mold will partner with Makura USA in Booths #W911 and W1103 featuring a 4 cavity magnifying glass from optically clear silicone. A 1-drop cold runner system on our universal base will feature ejection that presents the part for robotic removal.  In Zieger Industries' Booth #5483, M.R. Mold will demonstrate it's technology with a 2 cavity LSR mold for a high beam automotive application. The exhibit will demonstrate how silicone can be molded in applications that plastics are incapable of doing.
R.D. Abbott Promotes LAM 3D Printer using Silastic LC-3335
In M.R. Mold's Booth #W4391, R.D. Abbott will showcase the latest addition to their technical services portfolio, a Liquid Additive Manufacturing (LAM) 3D printer. This revolutionary, patent-pending LAM 3D printer was developed in collaboration with German RepRap GmbH, a leading German manufacturer of 3D printers, and Dow Performance Silicones. German RepRap's LAM platform combined with Dow Performance Silicones' 3D Printable Silastic LC 3335 LSR is potentially capable of printing functional prototypes and enabling small manufacturing trials of complex parts. Further, the material properties closely match those of molded LSR, allowing an easy transfer into injection molding processes for high volume manufacturing.

M.R. Mold hosts TLARGI Rubber Course

Monday, November 13, 2017

MR Mold and Engineering hosted the Los Angeles Rubber Group's annual Basic Rubber Technology Course for an educational tour of LSR Injection Molding and Tool Machining Operations. This guided tour gave valuable insights to the design and manufacture of highly engineered silicone rubber molds. Some fifty students were given hands on experience with state of the art technologies. The tour was lead by industry experts that offered valuable insight to the high volume production possibilities in today's automated and flashless LSR production processes. Rick Finnie, owner and engineer extraordinaire postulated the religious significance of immaculate conception in mold design and made the class laugh.

MFG DAY at M.R. Mold - 8 schools attend!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

M.R. Mold & Engineering is focused on changing the perception of manufacturing.  We opened our doors to more than 300 students, faculty and parents in our area to emphasize how important manufacturing is to our nation’s economy.  With many OEMs beginning to reshore their products, and the current workforce getting close to retirement, there are very few Millennials with knowledge of manufacturing.  M.R. Mold understands that today’s students must comprehend that there is an alternative to college.  Developing a career in manufacturing will provide job stability and good pay in any of the high-skilled, high-tech positions available.

Students, faculty and parents from 8 area schools came by the bus loads to tour M.R. Mold.  These students are studying engineering, CAD and other technical courses in their respective schools.  Being able to apply their knowledge in a real-world environment was extremely enlightening to these students.   Beginning with engineering and mold flow analysis, advancing through machining and programming then ending with the molding of product, the importance of each process was explained to our guests.  R.D. Abbott, a material supplier to the rubber industry, partnered with M.R. Mold in educating the students on the chemistry of liquid silicone rubber, the process it goes through to produce products and its various uses.

Since 1985, M.R. Mold & Engineering has built liquid silicone rubber and plastic injection molds for the medical, dental and consumer industries.  We have developed the talent, sophisticated technical knowledge and equipment to develop the optimum molding solutions.  From a concept on paper to a product you can hold in your hand, students, faculty and parents gained an understanding of the importance of math, science, art and technology relative to manufacturing.  

AMBA honors Rick Finnie

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
AMBA Announces Educational Outreach Winners!
Educational Outreach Champion Award
AMBA's Manufacturing Day Award

AMBA is pleased to announce its Educational Outreach Award Winners in honor of Manufacturing Day 2017. These champions have made significant impact within their communities to promote careers in mold manufacturing!

1st Place Winner - Tim Myers, Century Die Company,
Fremont, OH
2nd Place Winner - Rick Finnie, M.R. Mold & Engineering,
Brea, CA
3rd Place Winner - Kylee Carbone, Westminster Tool,
Plainfield, CT

Scholarships will be awarded to programs of the winner's choice in the amounts of $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively.
Congratulations to this year's winners and thanks to all who participated.

University of Akron hosts Silicone Elastomers Technology & Fabrication Course

Thursday, July 06, 2017

4 Day Course

Course Number: AP3315
Date: 08/28/2017 - 08/31/2017
Time: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Location: Akron Polymer Training Center,

Akron, OH 44325-5404
Cost: $1,475.00 USD

Online Registration
CEU's: 3

Instructors: Mel Toub, MT Consultants, Rick Finnie, M.R. Mold & Engineering, Craig Lustek, ShinEtsu Silicones, Stefan Scheibner, Arburg US, John Timmerman, Starlim North America, and Bob Pelletier, ELMET


Course Overview

This course offers a comprehensive overview of silicone elastomers, including basic silicone chemistry, mold manufacturing, information regarding pumping units and molding machines, manufacturing processes, fabrication techniques, problem solving and application areas.  Emphasis is on liquid injection molding (LIM/LSR).  This course is presented by a panel of experts in the silicone field, and time is allotted for discussion of specific project of interest.

Featured at this course is a one day "field trip" to ShinEtsu Silicones Technology Center. during which attendees will experience all the manufacturing processes involved in producing the actual LSR part.


Both entry level and experienced rubber technologists, rubber chemists, process engineers, laboratory manager, supervisors, technicians, shop foremen, quality assurance manager and engineers, technical sales personnel, molding technicians and rubber producers and users.

Hotel accommodations can be made at these hotels under Akron University pricing:

Hilton Akron/Fairlawn

Hilton Garden Inn Akron

Sheraton Suites Akron/Cuyahoga Falls

The Courtyard by Marriott

M.R. Mold will be in 4 booths at NPE!!

Thursday, July 06, 2017
M.R. Mold will show representation at NPE next May in Booth W4391.  Looking forward to seeing everyone there!


M.R. Mold is proud to partner with Krauss Maffei, ShinEtsu Silicones and Graco in Krauss Maffei's Booth W403 at NPE 2018


M.R. MOLD is proud to announce that it will partner with ZIEGER INDUSTRIES, R.D. ABBOTT, ELMET & MILACRON in Booth W5483 (Zeiger Industries) at NPE


M.R. Mold announces it will partner with Maruka USA in Booth W911/1103 with ShinEtsu Silicones, Graco and Yushin

M.R. Mold continues to invest for growth

Friday, April 21, 2017
April 13, 2017 Updated 8 days ago

M.R. Mold continues to invest for growth

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Chris Sweeney, Rubber & Plastics News Rubber & Plastics News Marketing Director Geri Anderson (left) poses with M.R. Mold President Rick Finnie at MD&M West in Anaheim, Calif.
Brea, Calif. — M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp. continues to grow its presence.

The firm added an Engel 55 ton press to replace an older model and Engel 120 ton machine to mirror the capabilities of its largest customer. It also secured a 1,500-square-foot building for additional storage that sits on the same campus of its headquarters in Brea, which employs about 30 people.
This comes in addition to a slew of other equipment investments, including an overhead crane, a five-gallon pump, a pallet charger that feeds tools to a five-axis Yasda YBM Vi40 precision computer numerical control machining center, and upgraded software and IT systems.

M.R. Mold invested about $800,000 total. Marketing Director Geri Anderson said the investments have one thing in common.

"We're trying to keep up with today's technology and improve cycle time for our customers," Anderson said. "The Yasda we have can save the customer about one third on delivery times. They all want it faster and quicker, so we're trying to get that done for them in the best way possible."
The firm also reached an agreement with KraussMaffei, which will house a 55 ton LSR machine on its floor and in return the company can use it as a training center for LSR.
Anderson stressed that M.R. Mold isn't entering the molding business.
"We still will do short runs and help customers out whenever they don't have press times," she said. "But our machines are basically for testing and sampling, doing first articles and tests for customers. That is the focus of that technical center."

And with still plenty of time in 2017, the firm looks to remain busy. Anderson said she hopes to have a new website launched by NPE, which is scheduled for May 7-11, 2018, and expects business to continue to snowball with 'significant work' coming down the line as the year goes on. The maker of silicone molds does most of its business in the medical area, with annual sales of about $5 million.
Like many in the rubber industry, M.R. Mold is trying to develop new talent. Anderson said the firm is looking to bring in an additional apprentice or two within the next year.

"We hope that everything we've put in place will pay off for our customers in terms of time and pricing," she said.

"M.R. Mold will continue to grow in whatever direction we're being driven. If I have a good customer who tells me 'we need you to do it,' we'll definitely investigate and go down that road. That's how we came from one molding machine to seven. It's all customer driven."

Technology Showcare MD&M West 2017 Molds and Molding

Friday, April 07, 2017
Last month I was able to escape a nasty winter storm by heading to the warm west coast where many mold builders, molders and technology suppliers set up shop to show off their capabilities.

M.R. Mold unveils "New Look" in Tech Center

Friday, April 07, 2017

The acquisition of 2 new ENGEL molding machines and a Krauss Maffei (not pictured here) caused M.R. Mold's president, Rick Finnie, to take a step back and re-evaluate the effectiveness of the Tech Center.

His vision came to life when an additional 1500 sq.ft. were acquired for storage.  Machines were shuffled into a productive row and an overhead crane was installed to provide more effective mold changes. 

M.R. Mold uses the Tech Center machines to test and sample each mold built.  The Tech Center allows M.R. Mold to continue to meet the customer's ever growing needs.