American Made Matters: Support American Manufacturing

Taken from the American Made Matters January Newsletter

A New Year brings new hope. Hope for a better year and resolutions for improvement and positive change. 2012 brings hope and renewed optimism for American manufacturing.

We have witnessed some reversal of a trend of manufacturing relocating or being replaced by competitors in lower wage countries. For some industries this trend has covered forty years. We have also observed new brands and manufacturers who are determined to make products in the United States. American Made Matters® has very much been a part of this movement.

Our member and sponsor list has grown to forty one and includes a diverse group of American manufacturers. Men’s and women’s apparel and accessories brands and producers comprise a large segment of our growing organization, but our group is diverse. As an example, we also are proud to include as members automotive and utility cabinet maker Geneva Manufacturing, vacuum cleaner brands Simplicity and Riccar, toy maker K’NEX, furniture maker TLS by Design, pet supplies makers Purrfect Play and Zentek Clothing Company.

We share a mission that buying American made products matters to our economy, local communities, jobs, our safety, the environment, national security and the independence of our country. Most importantly buying American will help to strengthen the American dream.


Injection Molding FAQ

Q: How do I know if injection molding is the right process for my product?

A: The geometry of the part, the amount of parts needed, your tooling budget and the application the part is being used for will all influence your decision to injection mold the part.

Q: What type of information is required for quoting a molding project?


What American Made Means to Us

Since 1956, we have made billions of American made products in our 125,000 square foot facility, including manufacturing over 30 billion parts since 1992 for the K’NEX building toy system. With over 105 injection molding presses, we are one of the largest family-owned and operated injection molders in the United States. K’NEX is the only U.S. construction toy company, with over 90% of its parts manufactured right here at Rodon.

“At K’NEX and Rodon, we’ve learned that manufacturing in America can actually be more cost effective than manufacturing overseas,” said Michael Araten, President and CEO of both K’NEX Brands and The Rodon Group. “We are thrilled to make this kind of quality, cost effective domestic manufacturing available to other businesses looking to eliminate the risks of offshore sourcing.”

We are active members of the organization American Made Matters , whose mission is to educate consumers about buying US-made products to help strengthen the American Dream and are third generation family businesses located in Hatfield, PA. We are proud to be a part of the local community while encouraging American entrepreneurship.

Our employees have shared their own thoughts on what American made means to them.  Look for more to follow in the next several weeks.


New Starbucks Create Jobs for USA Campaign

Excert taken from In America blog.  Read the full article at

Starbucks creates gobs of jobs by being the largest coffee chain in the U.S., with over 7,000 locations across the country. Now they are plunking down $5 Million of their own profits from your pricey lattes to create a loan fund for small businesses, as part of the new Create Jobs for USA campaign. Yet, at the same time, many Americans choose to get their joe from locally-owned community coffeehouses. Ironically, the Create Jobs for USA flyer says ”Community Businesses are the Backbone of America.” We agree!

How do you feel about this campaign when you visit your local Starbucks? Will it make a difference? How does the look, feel and message play with you? Will you plunk down your own $5 to support the loan fund?

Here are three key elements in the campaign, and thoughts from your InAmerica blogger:

1 ) Bracelet - Is this red, white and blue wristband the best incentive for you to plunk down your $5 donation?  Does a bracelet work for both male and female customers? It wraps around your wrist twice (like a woman’s bracelet) and has the word INDIVISIBLE stamped into a tiny silver plate. I liked the colors yet felt it was more appropriate for a woman. How about another choice for us hard-workin’ guys? Maybe a T-shirt, cap, or metal lapel pin? And, how about stamping the words MADE IN AMERICA on the bracelet (hopefully it is) or even the phrase JOBS FOR USA, instead of INDIVISIBLE? These two options might connect better with the campaign theme.

2 ) In-Store Flyer  - The newsprint flyer needs help, which may be why it was tucked away on a side counter. All of these trendy icons leave me a bit cold. How about adding some emotion and a connection with our cause: AMERICAN workers! Add a photo of people who are happy to be working as a result of this campaign.  Key phrase: “Indivisible. . .with liberty and justice for all.” Definitely resonates with us and aligns with the message on the bracelet. . .yet again no mention of jobs. I did feel like placing my right hand over my heart when I read these words at the counter.

I like icons and information graphics when they are used to effectively convey complex information. . .which is not the case here. After viewing the main info graphic I still don’t quite understand what the two intermediate organizations (OFN and CDFIs) are about. . .which is key if I am going to make my donation through them. Some times acronyms create more confusion. Who is OFN and who backs it?  And what about CDFIs? Please simplify this and give me examples that I may relate to my community. We Americans are understandably a bit suspect of financial institutions these days. . .so I’d like some validation. OFN sounds like a covert government agency. . .CDFI like a chemical that is hurting our ozone layer.


How American Made Matters Helps U.S. Plastic Injection Molding Companies

As Americans, we’ve all experienced the effects of our country’s economic downturn, resulting in high unemployment rates, drops in the stock market, and people questioning the security of their future. It’s time to pull together as a nation and American Made Matters, a group of U.S. manufacturers, is doing their part by promoting why buying American will help save our jobs and strengthen our economy. 


American Made Matters: What You Can Do for Your Country and Our Future

Excerpt taken from the October issue of the American Made Matters newsletter.  Read the full newsletter at:

   Most Americans can trace their lineage back to a foreign ancestry.
   America’s settlers were poor families, adventurers and exiles, seeking a
   place where they could establish a better life. Millions from dozens of
   countries have come to America for the opportunity to find work and   benefit from the fruits of their labor. They came to provide a better life for their families, an education for their children and to own a home. They came with hope and dreams and anything was possible. For generations, American men and women have worked for a better future. This is the American Dream.

More at

   Company Name & Location:
   K’NEX - the American building toy company and The Rodon Group -  an American small   plastic parts injection molding expert.

   Years in Business:
   Founded in 1956, we are a third generation family business with 177

   Principal line of business:
   For K’NEX, our primary business is building toys - focusing on Building
   World Kids Love – which has resulted in Sesame Street®, NASCAR®, Monster
   Jam® and Mario Kart® Wii-licensed K’NEX building sets along with K’NEX
   branded building sets for kids ages 2 – 12. For Rodon, we are an ISO
   9001:2008 certified landfill-free, small plastics parts specialist for over
   40 industries and make billions of parts each year in our 125,000 square
   foot facility.

   Social Media page information:


   How are you using the logo on products, website or marketing materials?  
   We use the American Made Logo on our Made in the USA toys, on our websites
   for both K’NEX and Rodon and as part of our social media presence.  American
   made is part of our DNA and culture.

   Why does American Made Matter to you?
   It matters to us because we believe a nation that makes things is a nation
   that controls its own destiny.  We believe that doing everything we can to
   manufacture toys and component parts in America helps create an economy full
   of good paying jobs and helping others achieve their American dream.

   Has your company won any awards recently?
   2011 Inductees into the Made in the USA Hall of Fame. Administered by the
   Made in the USA Foundation, the Made in the USA Hall of Fame was established
   to celebrate the best that America produces.

   K’NEX has been named a 2011 National Parenting Publications Award (NAPPA)
   winner for its Mario Kart Wii™ Mario and Standard Kart Building Set

   K'NEX, America’s building toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids
   Love™, is pleased to be among the manufacturers included in the annual
   Toys“R”Us Holiday Hot Toy List.

   What’s your vision for the future of your company?
   We are the only company that makes toys on a mass scale in America.  We set
   a goal 3 years ago of making a majority of our toys in America.  At the time
   less than 20 percent of our toys were made here.  Today, over 90 percent of
   the parts and over 60 percent of the finished goods are made in the USA.  We
   have increased our workforce by over 10 percent during that time.  We have
   set a goal of having over 80 percent of our toys made in the USA by 2015,
   and are ahead of schedule to our goal. Consumers are telling us they want
   toys made here as long as the value is there. We make sure our retail prices
   for over 80 percent of our toys are under $25, and have more play value than
   our competition.

   For Rodon, 100 percent of everything we manufacture is made here.  We have
   been leaders in educating people on the many advantages of made in America.
   We have developed a formula so we can be cheaper than China with better
   quality and a much shorter supply chain.  That message is resonating - we
   grew 27 percent in 2010, and are on pace for 2011 to be 17-20 percent ahead
   of 2010.

   How do you balance US and foreign manufacturing for your company?
   We are encouraged by the recent resurgence in jobs coming back into the U.S.
   from overseas, particularly China. Fortunately for us, a lot of that has
   been driven by regulatory and documentation issues in the Far East in
   compliance with some food and beverage, and children’s toy regulations where
   they were unable to comply. Some of our new customers got nervous and
   decided they really needed to come back stateside. A company like ours was
   more than ready for this. With our high-volume model—we have 106 machines
   and six operators, we have knocked the labor burden out—coupled with our ad
   campaign we call ‘Cheaper than China,’ our business has been up
   significantly over the past few years.

   How do you get the message out to your customers that you are manufacturing
   in the USA? Is it important to your customers that you manufacture in the
   USA? As we continue to grow in both our businesses, we will keep American
   Made as a focus for us.  We believe that we must do all we can to support
   our national economy.  We are proud to be a part of a group like American
   Made Matters, who educates consumers in a non-partisan way about how they
   can find products they like and need while helping our country at the same


K’NEX/Rodon Team Makes Strong Case for U.S. Manufacturing

Article covered in MoldMaking Technology Magazine-October, 2011 issue

Rodon takes a solid relationship with toy giant K’NEX and applies its business model to other manufacturers—taking domestic manufacturing to the next level.

The Rodon Group (Hatfield, PA)—a mold manufacturer/molder serving a diverse number of industries like consumer products, medical, construction, pharmaceutical and toys—also is the manufacturer of more than 30 billion parts for the K’NEX building toy system (and is a subsidiary of K’NEX Brands, L.P.). Since its inception, The Rodon Group has attributed its success to a niche of close-tolerance, high-volume parts; and consequently seeking out work from other OEMs that fit into this “model” that Rodon has built with K’NEX.

Building a Business Model

According to Lowell Allen, Rodon’s Senior VP of Manufacturing, Rodon’s beginnings were in the 1940s as ELGO Rubber. The owner of the company, Irv Glickman, realized making rubber was a laborious process so Glickman switched its specialty to thermoplastics as working with this material started gaining popularity in the U.S. In 1956, ELGO purchased a building in Southampton, PA and The Rodon Group was born with four injection molding machines. “Since then, Rodon has grown, to 106 molding machines with servo robots on more than a third of them,” Allen says.

In 1991, the idea for K’NEX came about when Irv’s son Joel had designed and built some toy parts. “Fortunately for Joel he had a nice injection molding company at his disposal,” Allen notes. “K’NEX has grown into a dynamic toy company— and the only toy company making toys on a mass scale in America. Rodon does all of the mold and part design in-house and runs the parts for them. They are a sister company. We are a custom molder/moldmaker first, but this is a perfect fit for us. High-volume, close-tolerance parts is our forte; and the K’NEX work was a nice addition to our standard business. We want to have as wide a base as we can to diversify and not have all of our eggs in one basket. We make over a billion parts a year for K’NEX and just as much for our other customers combined.”

Read the full article at


K’NEX CEO Michael Araten Speaks on Executive Leaders Radio Program

Michael Araten, President and CEO of K’NEX Brands, will appear on Executive Leaders Radio Program broadcasts September 24th-26th.  As part of the elite interview format, Araten shared his views on the opportunities and challenges K’NEX Brands faces.

K’NEX Brands has 2 operating units – K’NEX, the only US construction toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids Love™; and The Rodon Group, an American custom plastic injection molder specializing in high volume, small plastic parts for over 100 industries. 

“At K’NEX and Rodon, we’ve learned that manufacturing in America is often more cost effective than manufacturing overseas,” said Michael Araten, President and CEO of both K’NEX Brands and The Rodon Group. “We are thrilled to make this kind of quality, cost effective domestic manufacturing available to other businesses looking to eliminate the risks of offshore sourcing.” 

Araten’s interview can be heard on these stations:

Saturday, September 24th on WNJC/1360AM at 4pm (live stream


American Made Matters August Newsletter

Excerpt taken from the August newsletter.  Read the full issue

A Message from the President

We celebrated our second anniversary on July 4th and I am very happy to report that our members and sponsors now number 34.  Our members span a range of US manufacturers making a variety of products from denim to pet supplies, from shirts to metal fabrications, from bags to vacuums and from shoes to toys.  What we have in common is a passion and commitment to continue to produce products in the United States. 

American manufacturing continues to face tough challenges related to costs, currencies, and compliance to name a few.  Despite these challenges, we hear every day from consumers, retailers and press who have a re-newed interest in buying US produced products because they appreciate that American Made Matters.  We have over 12,000 fans, friends and followers in our social networks.  Our website views grew 20% in the last month.  Online and bricks and mortar retailers contact us every week seeking US product. 

Many consumers continue to have difficulty finding US products which is where our American Made Matters logo comes in.  More of our members are using our logo on products, packaging and promotional materials which is very important to continue this momentum.  Please use our logo on your qualified product.  There is strength in numbers.  And we are growing and growing stronger!

Don Rongione

Our Independence Matters
America was founded by courageous men and women seeking freedom and independence. Our forefathers fought and died for independence centuries ago. Immigrants from all over the world re-located here to find freedom, independence and a better life. However, America’s reliance on foreign countries for products, technology, labor, and natural resources threatens our independence.