There was a lot to celebrate this past Friday at The Rodon Group. Back in 2011, we 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. Last Friday, we hosted our sixth Manufacturing Day and were joined by over 2,650 other companies and organizations. The message has certainly become loud and clear over the years; Manufacturing Day has struck a chord with the public and continues to grow every year.
“If you want to achieve your dreams you have to believe in yourself and work hard every day to achieve them. If it were easy, everyone would do it”, Matt Baranoski, Olympic Cyclist
Recently I had the honor of interviewing Matt Baranoski, a world class cyclist named to the U.S. Olympic track cycling team in March and the son of Mike Baranoski, a Design Engineer at The Rodon Group. With the Summer Games in Rio coming up in just a few months, I’m grateful that Matt was able to take some time out of his busy schedule to speak to me. You can read our conversation below.
(Photo source: Bryn Lennon- http://www.teamusa.org/)
How and when did you get started in cycling?
My older brother wasn’t interested in baseball or football, so on a whim, my parents decided to give track cycling a try. We raced around the velodrome cycling track in Trexlertown, PA where they had free classes. I’ve been racing there ever since and the now “Valley Preferred Cycling Center” is my home away from home. I got my start on the track at 6 and at 12 I competed in my first national race and becoming the Junior National Champion. At that point, I decided to focus on cycling. I still train there and have the opportunity to meet with the younger cyclists while I’m there.
Before you can manufacture a plastic part you need to have a solid design in place. Once done, you can build an injection mold to meet the product specifications.
The role of the Design Engineer is critical in this process. They assess the part design and make modifications and recommendations based on key product requirements including product usage and function. The engineer will need to know:
- How will the part be used? Is it a standalone product or a component of a larger assembly?
- What are the dimensional and tensile requirements?
- Does the part need to withstand elements, pressure, chemicals?
A plastic injection mold design is built with these criteria in mind. Mold cavities, vents and gate placement will vary based not only on the part design but the type of resin as well. Taking all of these manufacturing factors into account is a challenging task and one that requires a strong knowledge base, not only of mold design but the injection molding process as well.
High schools and colleges throughout the country pay tribute to Rube Goldberg’s legacy every year though The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. According to the contest website “The Rube Goldberg Machine Contests bring Goldberg's cartoons to life as a way of helping students transcend traditional ways of looking at problems, taking them into the intuitive chaotic realm of imagination. The resulting inventions are collections of bits and pieces, parts of now useless machines, cobbled together to achieve an innovative imaginative, yet somehow logical contraption to meet the annual contest challenge.”
There is no better time than the Fourth of July to begin a "Buy American-made" tradition. It's starts by checking the labels. Nutrition labels on food tell you what contents are in a product. Country of origin labeling tells you where the contents came from and where they were assembled. With a few exceptions, the government does not require this labeling; however companies are typically proud to display their "Made in the USA" origin. More than ever, American consumers want to purchase products made here and support jobs throughout our country.
Tips on buying American-made
3D printing or additive manufacturing has been around for decades. But it hasn’t been until the last five years that the hype has exceeded the reality of what this technology can do. After reading many articles from industry insiders, we've collected some key takeaways on the current and future trends for this manufacturing technique.
Where 3D printing really shines
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.