Atlanta — Bob Jackson, a colorful blow molding machinery leader and Society of Plastics Engineers activist, was named winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at SPE's Annual Blow Molding Conference.
Jackson started Jackson Machinery Inc. in Port Washington, Wis., in 1986. The company makes new blow molding machines, refurbishes machines and sells used equipment.
“We have built new continuous extrusion machines, accumulator-head machines, all sorts of machinery for industrial parts” Jackson said in a speech when he accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award Oct. 4 during the Atlanta conference.
Jackson said automation is a way to offset the shortage of people with industrial skills in blow molding.
“We also help our customers with unique and special blow molding machines. For example, we have recently provided a machine with complete automation that integrates the injection machine to the blow molding machine,” he said. A robot moves inserts molded on the injection press and brings them to the blow molder.
“All of a sudden, the whole thing's like a symphony. Nobody's touching [the parts]. What falls out is a finished and wonderful product,” Jackson said.
Jackson joined SPE in 1969, and the following year, he started working his way through local, state and regional SPE organizations, and eventually the national society. He served as chapter president, Midwest Retec chairman, contributing author to SPE's blow molding handbook. He also started the Blow Molding division's first website, said Jeff Light, who introduced Jackson.
In 1993, SPE made Jackson an Honored Service Member.
Jackson's machinery career included work at Peninsula Machinery and Beloit Corp., “where he received the single largest order ever, from Fisher-Body,” Light said.
At Farrel's injection molding machinery business, he was quickly promoted to become the youngest-ever sales manager, said Light, who is senior account liaison at Amco Polymers.
Jackson said he was running the blow molding group at Hayssen when he learned that Cincinnati Milacron was buying the company and would close its plant in Shebyogan, Wis. It was 1986.
The next year, he founded Jackson Machinery. At first, the plan was to design an injection molding machine to be made in China and imported to the United States. But soon he decided to focus exclusively on blow molding machinery.
Jackson said SPE is playing an important role in finding and training people who will become the blow molders of the future.
“It goes without saying that one's success in life depends on the help of others,” Jackson said. “I'm blessed to be surrounded by people and staff who supported me through the years and who continue to make our company move forward and prosper in innovation and technology.”