Recommended Reading for Rotomolders
Good reading from books and digital
by Robert Dunne, Meese Orbitron Dunne Company
I stopped by my local Borders to pick up a book before a long flight and was disappointed to see the signs that read, “Closed” and “Going out of Business.” Only it wasn’t just my local store, it was the entire chain. Sad irony that only a few years ago, it was Borders putting the Mom and Pop bookstores out of business. It’s easy to blame Amazon.com, Apple and Android for why I had to read the in-flight magazine last week, but in reality, I was one of the first to embrace Amazon.com and a tablet is on top of my wish list for the holidays. Simply put, digital books offer so much convenience versus printed books that it’s hard to be surprised they’re driving traditional bookstores into bankruptcy and dismantling the entire publishing establishment.
Consider that twenty-five million iPads were sold this year before the holiday season, Kindle book sales outpaced all hardcover and paperback book sales combined and the forthcoming Kindle Fire has sparked pre-orders into the millions. These tablets fit hundreds of books, let you highlight key information and bookmark pages without dog-earing the corners of each page. You can download them from your couch, pool float, desk chair or almost anywhere. And it isn’t just books. Thousands of consumer magazines, comics, blogs and newspapers from around the world are now available digitally anywhere at any time. A vast range of information has become instantly available. But if you want to become a better rotational molder, you’re still going to have to lug a backpack full of heavy books around just like your kids do. Or keep them on a bookshelf in the office. Sure, searching through an out-of-date textbook for a certain case study or calculation when you’ve become accustomed to getting instant access to everything else with Google may drive you crazy but there is very valuable rotomolding information that nearly everyone in the industry needs to read and it’s not yet available in a digital format that’s easy to access and use. Who knows if or when it ever will be?
With several hours of flight time, I thought about the most useful and important books that rotomolders should consider including when stocking their bookshelves. Like starting a CD collection with the Beatles anthology, Paul Nugent’s Rotational Molding: A Practical Guide (2000, 809 pages) anchors your bookshelf. Probably the most comprehensive rotomolding publication ever written (Paul, make check out to…), Nugent enlists a slate of leading industry experts to address nearly every conceivable issue that might arise around a rotomolding machine. It’s loaded with technical insights and practical, real world applications in a format that nearly everyone in the plant will find useful. This is the book our manufacturing personnel refer back to for a second opinion on their clever solutions. But don’t worry about its age. Although automated rotational molding such as Leonardo and CNC machinery weren’t prevalent in the industry at the time the book was written, rotomolding, unfortunately, moves at a snail’s pace and many of the same concepts affecting product design, materials, tooling, heating and cooling still apply today.
For a fine introduction to rotomolding, pick up Practical Guide to Rotational Moulding by Roy J. Crawford and Mark P. Kearns (2003, 174 pages, paperback). Developed from Advanced Hands on Seminars with research conducted at the Queen’s University of Belfast and other sources, this book covers the process, molds, machinery, materials and quality control in a breezy read that students, new personnel and those learning the business will find accessible and engaging. It is well illustrated with pictures, diagrams and charts and includes excellent bibliographical data for those interested in further research.
If a hollow part is being considered, first take a recess to review Hollow Plastic Parts Design and Manufacture by ARM Rotational Molding Hall of Famer Glenn L. Beall and James L. Throne (2004, 243 pages). This is an excellent guide for engineers, purchasing agents and others who need to determine whether to specify rotational molding with a hollow part or another manufacturing method. It focuses on comparing various forms of blow molding, twin sheet thermoforming, injection molding and rotational molding and features an explanation of each process. Key characteristics, common polymers, mold and part design considerations, part assembly, decoration and secondary operations are thoroughly covered for each process.
Anyone involved in running your machines or designing products and parts to run on your machines needs to fully grasp the technical knowledge contained in Rotational Molding-Design, Materials, Tooling & Processing by Glenn L. Beall (1998, 245 pages). This work describes rotational molding materials, design considerations, molds and every step of the process. As relevant today as when originally published, this is a technical guide for manufacturing staff and provides far more than a mere overview of the process. This is also a fine source for our design engineering and purchasing customers with the initiative to boost their technical understanding of the process and ultimately, design better products.
Rotational Molding Technology by R. J. Crawford and J. L. Throne (2002, 399 pages) looks at the rotational molding process from start to finish from resin to a finished part while considering, clarifying and explaining a variety of the technical interactions involved in the process. This book tackles complex rotomolding concepts in depth for advanced molding professionals.
It has been 10 years since I read Good To Great by Jim Collins (2001, 300 pages) and I still find myself thinking about it on a daily basis. The author examined 1,400 companies that ascended to the Fortune 500 and found a set of traits that were common to nearly all of them as they grew. The most important part for me was its demonstration linking a strong, empowered, disciplined corporate culture with successful results. It emphasizes the role of our people and demonstrates the direct impact of skilled, trained, quality people on the bottom line. Collins presents a theory about “getting the right people on the bus,” referring to personnel and its truth cannot be underestimated.
For overall knowledge and breadth, I enjoyed The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten (2009, 352 pages). Did you know more than 10,000 business books are published in print every year? This book provides a quick look at the most important business books of all-time, from Dale Carnegie and Winston Churchill to Dr. Seuss. Call it a Reader’s Digest of management, it’s a great start for a snapshot into the wide range of business disciplines from management theory to staffing, motivation, time management and more. It’s an easy read that can be tackled in short increments of time.
Future of Books, Future of Rotomolding
While Amazon.com, Apple and Google continue to transform the written word from printed to digital, the words written about rotomolding largely languish in college libraries, out of sight of our next generation of plant managers, design engineers and sales people. And though still relevant, even the books I’ve studied and recommended will gradually become both out of date and out of print. The widespread use of CNC machinery among rotomolders, the introduction of the automated Leonardo system and other advances such as Computer Aided Design (CAD), Lean Enterprise, new engineered materials and additives have become worthy of inclusion in the next editions of these books. If we’re to get this wealth of accumulated knowledge into the hands of the next generation then these books need to be made available in a digital format that is compatible with how people prefer to access information. Furthermore, the digital conversion offers a singular opportunity to not only boost access to previously published, static information but also to update and enhance the information with videos demonstrating machines in operation and CAD drawing techniques as well as lectures presenting the textbook information. Entire classes and seminars may be embedded in the book or offered as companion DVD’s. A subscription model may offer future expansions and updates by download.
As of this writing, some of the rotational molding books are available online as Google eBooks, none are available for the Kindle. The traditional print editions sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay, Amazon.com and in other locations. What are your favorite books for rotomolders? Please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.Rotomolding.com/bobdunne.shtml. Meese Orbitron Dunne Co. is the first rotomolder in North America to invest in the Leonardo system. Its parent company, Tingue, Saddle Brook, New Jersey, has a history of bold moves since 1902 that include pioneering the use of plastics for rotomolding laundry and material handling products.
Robert Dunne is President of Meese Orbitron Dunne Co. (MOD). His company, Dunne Plastics, joined MOD in 1993 and became a member of the Tingue companies. Robert is a rotational design and molding expert and tireless advocate for rotational molding education. Bob is also an attorney, CPA and FAA certified pilot.