Tooling pioneer DeRocher dead at 93

Published: November 28, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Injection Molding, Molds/Tooling

CHAGRIN FALLS, OHIO (Nov. 28, 3:40 p.m. ET) — Henry DeRocher, a pioneer in injection tooling who founded his own molding company at age 60, died Nov. 21 at age 93.

Born in Parker, Pa., DeRocher trained in metallurgical engineering at the Carnegie Institute of Technology before moving to Cleveland to develop plastic injection molds. He eventually founded Automation Plastics Corp., an injection molder in Aurora, Ohio, in 1980.

After college, DeRocher did research for the U.S. Navy to develop nylon rotating bands to reduce barrel wear on large battleship guns. For his research, he visited Nylon Molded Products (Nymold) in Ohio, which made prototype parts for the project.

DeRocher joined the firm in 1953, working at plants in Bedford Heights and Garrettsville, Ohio. At Nymold he worked closely with another pioneering plastics molder, Robert Hoffer Sr., who later founded Hoffer Plastics Corp. in South Elgin, Ill.

Nymold developed more than 1,000 molds during DeRocher’s tenure, according to Harry Smith, who later served as DeRocher’s general manager at Automation Plastics. Smith bought the company from DeRocher in 1999, and now serves as president.

“When Henry began Automation Plastics in 1980, at the age of 60, he began molding nylon battery seals for Union Carbide in 32- and 64-cavity molds. Henry developed many high-cavity molds as well as very long life molds,” Smith said.

“One of the 128 cavity aerosol molds for Seaquist ran over 40 million cycles in its lifetime,” Smith said.

DeRocher continued to keep an eye on Automation Plastics after he sold the company, even after he retired in 2004. Today the firm has more than 100 employees and molds nearly 2 billion parts per year.

“Henry’s early vision of the company was to design and build custom tooling and to mold close tolerance flash-free parts for automated assembly,” Smith said. “Having in-house mold maintenance capability has been pivotal to the company’s success.”

Smith said DeRocher was a trained engineer, but he “wore just about every hat there was to wear in a start-up business.”

“It’s been a privilege to work side by side with a pioneer of the injection molding industry. Both his technical genius and business acumen have been nothing short of remarkable,” Smith said. “He always enjoyed the challenge presented by developing the next generation mold design for his customers, but in his later years, perhaps he enjoyed even more, developing the next generation of people to continue the business he created.”

DeRocher is survived by his son Ben and daughter Josephine.

A memorial service will be held at the Federated Church in Chagrin Falls on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m.


Comments

Tooling pioneer DeRocher dead at 93

Published: November 28, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Tessy investing $10 million in new plant, infrastructure

July 30, 2014 4:57 pm ET

Tessy Plastics Corp. continues to buy factory buildings in upstate New York — acquiring a 112,000-square-foot former Honeywell building in...    More

Image

One51 adding injection molder Straight to its bin molding portfolio

July 29, 2014 10:12 am ET

Dublin-based One51 plc has had its purchase of British trash bin maker Straight plc cleared by the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority.    More

Image

Austrian mold maker seeking North American manufacturing partner

July 25, 2014 1:49 pm ET

An Austrian mold maker is looking for a manufacturing location in North America.    More

Image

Tooling Technology has new private equity owner

July 25, 2014 11:55 am ET

New York private equity firm GenNx360 Capital Partners has partnered with management to buy Tooling Technology Holdings LLC, a diversified Ohio-based ...    More

Image

Columbine Plastics moving to new Colorado site

July 25, 2014 11:38 am ET

Custom injection molder Columbine Plastics Corp. plans to move from Boulder, Colo., to the Colorado Technical Center in Louisville, Colo.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recyclers Data Report & Directory

This exclusive MS Excel database contains all the companies from Plastics News' ranking of top North American Recyclers and Brokers by reprocessed volume and also includes a directory with materials processes, services offered and company contact information. Data is based on primary research by PN editorial staff.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events