Apprenticeship Week, Restoring the Link between Hard Work and Opportunity


New eBook - How to Manufacture a Perfect Plastic Part

Manufacturing high-quality plastic injection molded parts takes a lot of attention to detail. There are four key factors that determine if a large-volume project will go smoothly. They include:

       Part Design -- Tool Design and Build -- Material Selection -- Manufacturing


The Robot Zombie Apocalypse

The mere mention of robots taking over manufacturing sends apocalyptic terror throughout the factory. Tales of an army of zombie robots replacing workers may sell news stories, but it is far from the truth.There are many key differences between robots and zombies.


Manufacturing Day, a Nationwide Celebration of American Ingenuity

Celebrating Manufacturing with America

In 2011, The Rodon Group hosted our first Manufacturing Day event.  We were one of about 200 companies throughout the country to open our doors to students, educators and parents.  Fast forward to 2015 and we were joined by over 2,300 companies and organizations, 120 in Pennsylvania alone.  The message is loud and clear; Manufacturing Day has struck a chord.

Michael Araten at The Rodon Group's Manfuacturing Day eventThis event resonates with so many Americans because it focuses on developing the next generation of manufacturers and innovators.  Our nation, within the last century, owes most of our economic gains to the manufacturing sector, a sector that had been in decline for several decades.  Companies took production offshore to low-wage countries, eroding our manufacturing base.  In doing so, professional trade careers were no longer seen as a viable employment choice.  Factories closed their doors, and apprenticeship programs closed as well.  The training pipeline to acquire skills dried up.

Fast forward to today and manufacturing is making a comeback.  Technical schools are beginning to see renewed interest from students and parents. So, on Manufacturing Day, we set aside our morning event to focus on teachers and students.  This year our morning educational program was highlighted by two interns who shared their experience working at Rodon with the group.  We even had a student videographer who helped get all the action on film.


Manufacturing News You May Have Missed This Summer

Its hard to believe that the summer has come and gone. The air is getting cooler, kids are back in school and we're in the midst of planning our annual Manufacturing Day event so I know fall is right around the corner.  A lot happened over the summer in the manufacturing world and our friends at over at ThomasNet wrapped up a few key stories with a nice little bow for us to share. If you have others that particularly stood out this past summer, we'd love to hear from you below.   


Women in Manufacturing: From Rosie the Riveter to Rose the CEO

My grandmother, Celia Shulman worked in the same factory in Philadelphia for 40 years. She made transistors for radios, TV’s and other electronics. She painted stripes on the transistors and worked in the shipping department at night. She never complained about her job and was proud to be able to go to work every day and support her family as a single mother. It was an honorable career then, and for many women in manufacturing today, still is.  


The Future of Plastics: The Material of Choice

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


Can Robots + Humans = the Ideal Workforce? 

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. 


Manufacturers Forum - A Morning Well Spent

The Manufacturing Alliance of Bucks and Montgomery Counties held their second Manufacturing Forum of the year.  Relevant and actionable information from some of the area industry leaders packed the morning agenda.  Topics included training, financing and cyber security.