(Sept. 12, 2008) — I was surprised to see the two articles in the Aug. 18 Plastics News special report on rotational molders that profiled Dutchland Plastics Corp. [“Seat-of-pants decision spreads firm's success,” Aug. 18, Page 1] and Plasticraft Corp. [“Some rotomolders do well expanding in blow molding,” Page 15].
I do agree that it is necessary to become more diverse in any industry. The rotational molding industry, being a small group, is a very competitive playing field. Resin prices and other raw materials make all companies look at other opportunities to enhance their business models and to survive. As toolmakers we are in the same arena.
What I don't agree with is how their two companies were promoted in the articles, being that it was a rotomolding special report, not blow molding. The emphasis was weighed heavily on blow molding. Perhaps these articles should have been in the blow molding special report?
In the article profiling Plasticraft, a comment was made by Carl Claerbout, president of Dutchland Plastics: “Once you get a down-and-dirty rotomold tool and throw it up on the arm, you can literally have a part in about an hour and a half.”
I realize this comment was made to enhance the article and promote taking a step into blow molding, but as a tool supplier I feel the comment reflects a mentality that is seen all too often in this industry, a misconception that certainly does not help the suppliers in the industry. Tool suppliers take pride in what they do. It is not a down-and-dirty process; it is a skillful process that only a handful of companies in this industry are very good at.
Al-Cast Mold and Pattern happens to be one of these companies. As toolmakers we are all too often looked down upon as a necessary evil. I realize there is a hidden message in all of this: to become more diverse as tool- makers. Perhaps we can supply Dutchland and Plasticraft with blow molding tooling.
Obviously, with the differences in pressures in the two types of processing, molds will need to be manufactured differently to support blow molding vs. rotomolding. The same technology, thought and skill would apply to either of the processes. Other than material, why aren't we seeing similarities in cost structure accepted by the customer?
The two companies profiled are also members and supporters of the Association of Rotational Molders, and we are, too. We need to help each other. I like to think that you get back what you put in. Again, I understand the need for diversity in the arena. I would have appreciated the articles if some careful words and support to the toolmakers would have been part of the articles.
Chris Di Filippo
Al-Cast Mold & Pattern Inc.
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio