Over the past 40 years, U.S. manufacturing has been off-shored to places like China and India. In 1965, manufacturing comprised 53 percent of the economy. By the end of the 1980’s, it had shrunk to a 39% share. By the first decade of the 21st century, manufacturing fell into the single digits at 9%.
In the 1900s, the United States was booming. Companies set up shop on American soil and hired well-educated, motivated American workers to manufacture and sell their products. More recently, free trade and an ever-globalizing economy have encouraged American businesses to move their manufacturing facilities overseas, where they can employ less expensive labor with fewer regulations and ultimately sell their products to the end consumer at a lower price. At first glance, lower prices appear to be a good thing, a way of getting more products into the hands of more people more rapidly. However, a closer look reveals there are still many benefits of manufacturing in the U.S. vs. overseas.
Next week, we will launch our new eBook “An Introduction to Plastic Injection Molding.” This resource guide contains information (more than 40 pages) to help designers, engineers and purchasing professionals navigate the world of plastic injection molding. Our goal is to make our customers more knowledgeable about what goes into making a plastic part. It is written to provide a basic understanding of the presses, the processes and the cost factors involved in manufacturing.
Manufacturing plastic injection molded components in-house as part of a customer’s end product can prove to be a major challenge from an efficiency, quality and cost perspective. Over the years, Rodon has garnered many of our largest customers who were doing their best to manufacture their injection molded components in-house, but found the process to problematic and inefficient.
Excerpt from article on PlasticsToday.com. To read full article, visit http://www.plasticstoday.com/articles/two-steps-every-processor-should-take-now-cut-his-energy-bill-09092011.
Reducing your company's overall operating costs by 12% is a dream for many plastics processors, but Lowell Allen, senior vice-president at The Rodon Group, and his team have spent the past few years making it their reality. He kindly joined us for a "chat" during the industry's first-ever Virtual Event titled Continuous Improvement in Injection Molding.
As Allen recalled, in order to identify where money can be saved in your molding operation (from an energy standpoint), one must first identify what processes are continuously running. "If you are a 24/7 molder, as we are, with 106 molding machines, it's best to prioritize each continuously running process. Of course, none of us have an unlimited budget, so it's important to investigate those areas that can be changed for a mimimal investment and with the shortest payback time," he explained.
What runs continuously? At The Rodon Group, it is:
We often field emails or calls from inventors or product designers who are looking for a plastic injection resource. While, that is our core business, it is important to understand the difference between The Rodon Group and other small injection molding companies.
We specialize in high-precision, high-volume projects (we're talking millions, here). To get a better understanding of the capabilities of The Rodon Group, we created a Q & A filled with useful information.
What are the minimum quantities you can order?
We have all experienced the thrill of getting a deal in our personal lives, so it only makes sense to look for money saving opportunities in business as well. In the world of injection molding, however, you may end up paying more in the long run for an inexpensive mold. This is particularly true when you need to produce a high volume of parts or parts that need to meet exact specifications. If you are making forks and knives, a lesser quality mold may suffice. However, if you are an OEM looking to produce parts for a quality application, you must look at the true cost of the mold.
Excerpt taken from Rock Center http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/14/10156162-made-in-america-trend-against-outsourcing-brings-jobs-back-from-china#.TxXUxnX_eE4.twitter
The United States may be on the verge of bringing back manufacturing jobs from China.
Harold Sirkin, along with Michael Zinser and Douglas Hohner (all experts from the Boston Consulting Group – a leading management consulting firm), says that outsourcing manufacturing to China is not as cheap as it used to be and that the United States is poised to bring back jobs from China. The three consultants first reached this conclusion in a recently published study titled “Made in America, Again: Why Manufacturing Will Return to the U.S.”
Many companies, especially in the auto and furniture industries, moved plants overseas once China opened its doors to free trade and foreign investment in the last few decades. Labor was cheaper for American companies – less than $1 per hour according to the BCG report. Today, labor costs in China have risen dramatically, and shipping and fuel costs have skyrocketed. As China’s economy has expanded, and China has built new factories all across the country, the demand for workers has risen. As a result, wages are up as new companies compete to hire the best workers.
“The tilt is now getting lower,” Sirkin says. “We think somewhere around 2015 it’ll look flat and may start to tilt in the U.S. favor at that point in time.”
By 2015, it will only be about 10 percent cheaper to manufacture in China.
In today’s world, the green movement is more important than ever. No matter what the industry, it’s a company’s duty to make changes and choices that support the environment.
When you’re looking for a plastic injection molding company, there are several things you can check for to be sure you’ll be working with an environmentally responsible business.
ISO 9001 Certification is a way for companies to keep a close eye on their production processes. Meeting the International Standards for Quality Management ensures the company has been thoroughly audited and is fully in control of its’ procedures so that no part of the production process “slips through the cracks.”
Make sure the company you work with is minimizing waste. During the molding process, excess plastic is generated. What does the company you work with do with it? Look for a company that has a system to recycle all excess plastic.
What about boxes? The efforts of cardboard recycling make a huge difference. For example, 300 cubic yards of cardboard waste (approximately 3 football fields) were saved through recycling initiatives at The Rodon Group, a plastic injection molding company in Pennsylvania.
How is the virgin resin delivered? Ideally, it should be delivered in bulk and loaded into silos, minimizing the need for packaging. Find out how your plastic injection molding company has its’ raw materials delivered.
"Landfill-Free" Facilities and Energy from Waste
Did you know that waste could generate energy? Energy-from-waste technology is now available through companies like Specialty Waste Solutions, LLC, (SWS). In fact, The Rodon Group was one of the first molding facilities to be designated as a "Landfill-Free Facility" by SWS. This means all of The Rodon Group's waste gets processed into electricity. SWS generates enough electricity from waste to power tens of thousands of homes per day! See if you are working with a "landfill-free" facility.
Local Vs. Overseas Shipping
Questions to ask are, is the company importing materials or shipping production overseas? Or, is all work done here in the U.S.A.? Where do they get their colorant and other supplies? The more businesses can keep things local, the better.
Waste Minimizing Technology
The most eco-friendly plastic injection molding companies employ state-of-the-art machinery to assist them in minimizing waste, transportation, and packaging. The Rodon Group was able to go from packing 750 parts to 4500 parts per box by implementing a robotic packing system. Now, 15,700 fewer boxes are being used and 13 less trailers are on the road. Additionally, plastic waste is eliminated from the molding process through the use of high-tech equipment that transports it to a grinder so that it can be re-used.
A plastic injection molding company that thinks green is "landfill-free," and has the right certification, waste reduction, transportation and technology in place to minimize the impact on our planet. As a business owner, it’s your job to ask the right questions and make sure the company you work with is sustainable.