The first Friday of this month, October 2nd, was National Manufacturing Day; an annual event during which North American manufacturers open their doors to showcase the potential of modern manufacturing and foster interest in manufacturing careers. This year Poly-Cast was one of 45 companies in Oregon who hosted an educational and interactive event in celebration of the day. In collaboration with Work Source Oregon and Tigard High School, Poly-Cast hosted 30 students from Tigard High’s innovative CE2 program, an alternative education program where students are given the opportunity to develop career related job skills through real-world experience.
The day began with introductions to the Poly-Cast staff by the president, Dan Leedom, followed by a brief history of our 43 year old company. The students were then split into four teams and given a mystery part to try and identify. This exercise demonstrated the diversity and range of the custom plastic parts Poly-Cast manufactures. After some enthusiastic guesses and lively discussion, all parts were identified and we moved to the second phase of our event.
In this phase the teams rotated to one of four demonstrations we had set up. The first station, presented by Jimmy Wedding our tooling engineer, demonstrated the technology and software programs used in our industry. Jimmy specifically was showing the students our mold flow analysis software which helps us identify potential problems with a part’s design which could impede the uniform flow of plastic to all areas of the part.
Our quality control and metrology lab served as the second station for the students. Here Shelli Chesser, who is earning her degree in mechanical engineering, demonstrated the types of precision equipment which are used to insure all parts are within the proper tolerance and are finished per our customer’s specific quality requirements.
Next the students moved to the production area where Derek Birkes, our process manufacturing engineer, explained the many aspects and factors critical to successful plastic injection molding. Derek shared a short history of injection molding, detailed the science which is involved in molding (temperatures, pressures, etc.), and discussed the importance of developing good problem solving skills.
Finally the students moved to the wax division where Keith Vandemore, one of our lead technicians in this area, showed the students this specialized and unique process of creating wax molds for the purpose of producing high quality casted metal parts.
Once all the students completed the demonstration tour, we reconvened as a group for a session of questions and answers. We ended with a catered lunch, door prizes and a friendly pitch to consider the plastics industry as a viable career choice. We also supplied each of the students with a comprehensive reference list so they could seek additional information.
Dan Leedom summed it up this way: “It was great to expose local career minded youths to the many opportunities available in the plastics industry. This kind of event doesn’t only benefit the students, but has a huge impact on the future success and growth of our industry. I’m also pleased and encouraged by all the support and involvement at the State and local level to help make Manufactures Day 2015 such a success.”