Jillian Rine, applications engineer at injection molder MMI Engineered Solutions Inc. in Saline, Mich., created a concept design for a gear tray that was designed to hold 144 parts. She had other people review the concept before submission. No problems were perceived. She sent it to the customer, and they won the project.
It was found the tray was not moldable with the current design. While that might have been Rine's biggest failure in her career, it taught her a valuable lesson: Concept designs and ideas might look good, but they might not always function.
"You need to use all expert resources available before ever sharing with the customer," she said in her Women Breaking the Mold survey.
Asked what about the plastics industry surprises her, Rine said high-quality products are possible, but perfection is impossible in plastics — "the trained eye can always find some defect or imperfection."
Rine graduated with honors with a bachelor's degree in packaging from Michigan State University and gained manufacturing experience while in college. "Plastics combined by creative and technical abilities, making it a perfect fit," she said.
Within her first 18 months at MMI, she identified, investigated, tested, verified and implemented a $250,000 alternate material cost savings, which she considers to be her greatest achievement so far.
"As my career progresses, I want to move through the management ranks but never lose touch of the technical aspects of plastics," she said. "Ultimately, I want to own my own business."
Rine was also a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts, in May 2012. She established an 11-week after-school Math Pentathlon Club at Clinton Elementary Club in Clinton, Mich.
To someone considering a career in the plastics industry, Rine advises them to accept every opportunity "for breadth of knowledge; depth of knowledge will come later."