Team 1 Plastics is pleased to periodically feature Guest Bloggers to share their perspectives of the plastics industry on Plastics Pipeline. We thank today’s Guest Blogger, Patrick Roussey II of Mayer Tool & Engineering, Inc., one of Team 1’s high-quality mold suppliers.
1. Please share some background about Mayer Tool & Engineering, Inc. and your role in it.
Mayer Tool & Engineering (MTE), founded in 1982, offers mold design, prototype, bridge, and production tooling as well as mold-support tooling such as end-of-arm tooling and inspection fixtures.
I currently hold the role of President. I started on the floor as an Apprentice and then became a Mold Maker in 1996, and took over as Plant Manager in 1998. I held that position until my current role which started in 2010.
I enjoy how the Plastics Industry is always looking for new tool building methods, material types, and ways to get parts to market faster with improved cycle times and quality. MTE has invested in new CNC (Computer Numerical Control) and EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining) machines for tool building in the U.S., and we have also increased our mold sample capabilities for all in-house tool sampling – currently sampling from 75-ton to 375-ton molds in-house. The company also has a China tool building partner in Shenzhen, China for all LCC (Low Cost Country) tooling.
While I take pride in the tools we build and the services we offer, what I enjoy the most is the relationships that we build with our suppliers and customers. I feel our suppliers and customers are an extension of our business as we all have to work as a team to make each other successful. Through honesty and hard work this can be achieved with good partnerships.
2. Please share about the relationship between MTE and Team 1 Plastics.
We began our relationship with Team 1 Plastics in early 2017 and were awarded our first job that September. In less than two years, MTE has built more than 20 production molds for Team 1. We have also built and fit approximately 10 end-of-arm tooling fixtures as well as various part inspection check fixtures.
MTE is very supportive in the quoting process because, in most situations, we are able to supply quotes and feasibility reports within 24 to 48 hours. I feel that the location of MTE and Team 1 lends to a very open and supportive relationship. Within just a couple of hours, MTE can be on site at Team 1 if Team 1 or its customer needs our support. The same thing goes for Team 1 if their Engineers want to visit us and review tooling on our shop floor.
3. Please discuss the pros and cons of the Chinese Tariff and its impact.
The government is trying to bring tool building back to the U.S., but I feel that we have a lot of work to do ahead of time. The current workforce for mold building has been shrinking over the past 20 years, and we need to invest in job recruitment and training for mold design, mold building, CNC, and EDM operators. In addition, without having LCC partners, we do not have an adequate amount of tool shops to support the vast number of tools that are purchased in the United States.
I feel that the Chinese Tariffs need to be enforced at a much slower pace and at a lower percentage. The most recent tariff at 25% caught many of the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and molders by surprise by how quickly it was enforced. I feel that if the tariffs were gradually put into place or increased as needed over time, it would be more beneficial to the U.S. Plastics Industry as a whole.
The effect of the tariffs on the Plastics Industry will cause an increase in tool cost, which will ultimately affect the cost of produced parts. The consumer will be the one that will be most affected by these tariffs. By having to cover the up-front cost, the OEMs, tool shops, and molders will have no choice but to pass the added cost on to the consumer.
4. What changes does MTE expect in the next five to ten years in the Plastics Industry, and how is MTE preparing for them?
I expect the Plastics Industry to have continued growth. With the constant changes in engineered resins, more and more items are changing from machined or cast steel or aluminum parts to plastics.
I feel the U.S. tool shops, as a whole, need to look at ways to reduce expenses through automation and technology, which will, in turn, present more opportunities and increase work volumes. This will help the overall business for us and our customers.
While I see an increase in the number of tools being built in the U.S., there will still be a high percentage of molds that will need to be built offshore. MTE has increased our staff to support the increase of building in-house tools. We also have an apprenticeship program for toolmakers just getting into the trade; and we have started working with the local high schools to get young men and women involved with the Mold Making and Plastics Industry at an earlier age.
5. What else do you want to share?
I have always felt that you need to surround yourself with the most talented people in business to be successful. I think we have done a great job over the years to have the best people within our organization as well as customers and suppliers. One person cannot make a business. We have to come together to make each other successful.