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This informative blog allows plastics professionals to discuss plastics training and technology. Brought to you by Routsis Training: the plastic industry's premiere training provider.

Mobile Learning Just Got Easier

Routsis Training’s new LMSBridge™ app provides an optimal learning experience on mobile devices.

There’s no denying that plastics processing facilities increasingly rely on online training to streamline productivity. Since the 1990s, Routsis Training has been a leader in developing and implementing such training materials. Like the rest of the web-browsing world, the online training landscape has been slowly shifting away from desktop computers and more toward handheld devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

“Some years back, I started noticing a few injection molders were using tablets on the production floor,” said Andy Routsis, president of Routsis Training. “I thought it would be great if they could start using our training materials in this way.”

In 2010, Routsis Training revamped all their online courses to be more mobile-friendly. But while the courses themselves were quite capable of being run on phones and tablets, the user experience varied greatly from device to device. According to Andy Routsis, “We found that while a course might run quite well on larger tablet, there was certainly room for improvement on smaller screens.” Mr. Routsis envisioned a not-so-distant future in which individuals and corporate employees alike would prefer to train on their smartphones — whether on the floor or in the break room, or at home or on the road. “So I asked my development team to start looking for solutions to the problem,” he continued.

By the end of 2019, the solution had taken the form of an app called LMSBridge™. Available for both iOS™ and Android™ devices, Routsis Training’s free app optimizes the presentation of their plastics training courses on handheld devices. In addition, it provides a unified experience on various devices — so that the courses function identically, whether played on Apple iPad™ or a Samsung™ smartphone.

Routsis’s LMSBridge™ app also provides their RightStart™ customers with convenient administrative access to their company’s online training portal. This feature gives trainers and managers greater flexibility in developing curricula, enrolling students, and viewing employees’ progress while away from their desks.

“We always look forward to learning new ways to help our customers maintain their competitiveness,” Mr. Routsis said. “I really feel this app is going to be a game-changer for a lot of plants.”

Visit Routsis Training’s website to learn more about LMSBridge™. Please note that while the app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play, access to Routsis’s training materials requires an existing customer account. Please contact Routsis for a free demonstration course.

Trademark Plastics Invests In More Training

Building on their successful efforts from last year, Trademark Plastics Inc. of Riverside, California is once again investing in employee training in 2019 — including Routsis Training’s  SmartTech™ on-site scientific molding training.

According to David Carty, the company’s chief operating officer, Trademark spent $500,000 on training programs in 2018. This year, they plan to spend an additional $250,000 on training initiatives.

Read more at Plastics News.

 

New Scientific Molding App for iOS and Android

Get instant access to essential processing information with the Scientific Molding Pocket Guide — created by the plastics experts at Routsis Training. This convenient reference provides injection molders with detailed, up-to-date information about common plastic materials and their properties — including additives, preparation, and guidelines for optimal processing. Steps for establishing and maintaining a robust scientific injection molding process are also covered.

The Pocket Guide includes critical information for identifying, troubleshooting, and solving molded part defects. As a convenient reference, the app also includes part and mold design guidelines, frequently used calculations, and common conversion tables.

The Scientific Molding Pocket Guide includes:

  • Understanding Plastics
  • Plastic Materials
  • Material Properties, Additives & Preparation
  • Establishing a Scientific Molding Process
  • Seven Steps to Scientific Troubleshooting
  • Molded Part Defects
  • Basic Mold & Part Design Guidelines
  • Frequently Used Calculations
  • The Importance of Training

Click here for more information.

Plastics News Interviews Andy Routsis

Companies need to invest in employees, not just equipment.

The latest edition of Plastics News contains an interview with Andy Routsis, the president of Routsis Training. Mr. Routsis discusses his past visits to NPE, the history of Routsis Training, and important considerations for successfully training a production workforce.

The interview covers common mistakes companies make when training their employees. “Most companies do not understand the importance of sharing knowledge,” says Mr. Routsis.

Mr. Routsis also shares critical advice on how to properly structure in-house training. According to him, successful companies “have a training plan for their entire workforce. These companies put a high value on employees.”

Click here to read the article on Plastics News’s website.

Using Process Monitoring Systems

Process monitoring systems are a great resource for the Scientific Molder.

Question:

We already have a {brand-name} production monitoring system and are now considering using it to also monitor the process.

My Response:

In practice most companies use such systems helpful to look for individual short shots or analysis of past problems. This is essentially quality control and is an important use for the system, but not its highest potential.

The important factor is to have a good basic scientific molding process than compensates for normal variation. With this in place, you can then use your process monitoring to identify a process shift. This allows your technician to then go to the machine and determine what changed and its effect on the quality of the process and parts. If used in conjunction with a good process, monitoring can be effectively used to provide quality assurance as well as quality control.

For example, you would rather your system to indicate a change such as a shift in transfer pressure and have your process tech head to the machine to determine the cause. It could be problem such as a blocked cavity, dying nozzle heater band, or it could also be something simple like a material lot change with a lower melt flow. You want your tech to understand what a high transfer pressure could signify, locate the cause, and then determine its significance.

If the change above was due to an equipment problem, the tech would then go about either fixing it or having it fixed.

If the change was due to a lot change in our example above, the tech might need to adjust the transfer to make the short shot the same weight as the standard, verify the quality of the part, and then adjust the process limits (such as +/-5%) to accommodate the new lot of material. The key in Scientific Troubleshooting is the change has been identified and a knowledge-based action was made using actual data with the intent of maintaining a good process known to make good parts for your customer.

Additional Thoughts:

The key to the above situation is to first ensure the tech has a good understanding of Good Scientific Documentation, Basic Scientific Processing, and Scientific Troubleshooting. Without this, the tech tends to just turn off or change the alarm because the parts look good, though the process may be different and thus producing suspect parts.