An American manufacturing renaissance?

We’ve been providing US-based manufacturing solutions for over 25 years—solutions which re-invest resources in our communities and contribute to the growth of our local economy in Sevier County, Tennessee. Our expertise has guaranteed our customers every specification for every part—a commitment to quality, smart manufacturing that has allowed us to not only withstand changing economic conditions but thrive within them.


We at Mountain Mold & Die believe that American manufacturing stands on the brink not only of growth but of incredible innovation and creativity. In a recent article for The Atlantic, Adam Davidson takes notice of what we in the industry have known for some time: that, having lived through a period of immense hardship and transition in which one out of every three manufacturing jobs was eliminated, American manufacturers have emerged as global leaders in technological innovation and cost effectiveness. The question for Davidson is “How, exactly, have some American manufacturers continued to survive, and even thrive, as global competition has intensified?” We think the answer is a combination of increased creativity, industrial expertise, and determination to succeed. 


But Davidson also gets just how difficult the terrain we tread really is.  He writes,


Is there a crisis in manufacturing in America? Looking just at the dollar value of manufacturing output, the answer seems to be an emphatic no. Domestic manufacturers make and sell more goods than ever before. Their success has been grounded in incredible increases in productivity, which is a positive way of saying that factories produce more with fewer workers. … Economists speak of the middle part of the 20th century as the “Great Compression,” the time when the income of the unskilled came closest to the income of the skilled. The double shock we’re experiencing now—globalization and computer-aided industrial productivity—happens to have the opposite impact: income inequality is growing, as the rewards for being skilled grow and the opportunities for unskilled Americans diminish.

These are forces Mountain Mold & Die has faced—and faced successfully, at that: globalization, the introduction of new technologies (which not only increase productivity and product quality but also environmental sustainability), and changes in our work force. Davidson poignantly points out the larger ramifications of these shifts in manufacturing for the US economy at large, and I’ll be the first to admit that working in this industry means feeling these pressures. But I can also say that we at MMD have done our utmost to ensure these pressures find positive resolution, as we seek to do the most good for our customers, region, and employees. Davidson seems optimistic that the manufacturing industry is set for continued growth and, as noted by a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the American purchasing managers index report indicates expansion for 2011 overall.

I believe that the greatest gift to be afforded American manufacturing this year is a renewed sense of cooperation and collaboration. And in accepting and living into the spirit of collaboration we will truly experience a manufacturing renaissance in this country. 


Made In America

 Check out this ABC News report about one Texas family. See how little we know about what we buy. Click Here


Inventions and the Contract Plastic Manufacturing Process

Most everyone has heard or said "you could make a million bucks with that idea." Or "Yeah that and fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee." Actually the coffee would be somewhere between one and four dollars and the million bucks could actually cost you ten, twenty, thirty even fifty thousand dollars. Don’t take this the wrong way. It’s good to dream, just not with your eyes open. With you eyes open you can see the reality of the market. Selling price minus cost equals profit.

While working in the plastic manufacturing business for the past 30 years, I have seen several potential inventors/marketers waste time and money only to find out they could not achieve their sales goals. Time to market, cost analysis, design, product testing….the list is long. The question is, can you sell your idea or the product that is the fulfillment of that idea?

Sales projections are the most important information in any new product development. This information drives the production cost as well as start up and tooling cost that must be rolled into the retail price which will ultimately determine if you can sell it. Complete market analysis is critically important. I would rather see someone spend their initial dollars on a basic provisional patent, prototypes and test marketing than tooling up for something they think they can sell for a certain price. Remember the market will always determine the price, and test marketing is the only way to find that price.

So enough preaching, you’ve got an idea and you want to make some money. Well here’s some tools that are useful, inexpensive and just might keep you awake while you’re dreaming.

Google SketchUp®
Google Sketchup will help you model or design you product.

IDES – The Plastics Web®
IDES provides a free search engine for plastic material datasheets called Prospector.

Free online dictionary.

Best Wishes,
Joe Crisp, President and CEO


Plastic Injection Mold Making Video

Who would have thought so many people would be interested in a video about plastic injection mold making. Over 140,000 views over the years prove that boring industries can still generate interest with decent content. The group of college students we asked to created this short film did such a great job and really let our company’s skills shine.

With over 100 years of combined mold making experience we had much to offer the group. The challenge was how do you show everything you want in just a couple of minutes of video. “I think the video is outstanding,” said Joe Crisp, company president. “We had wanted a video for years but didn’t want to just show machines running. You want to see the people in the process.”

Their college majors include music production, graphics design, journalism as well as english. It all came together during the summer, and in just a few days the project was complete and uploaded to youtube. There were other videos created at the same time. Plastic injection molding shows the primary process here at MtnMold.