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800 Roosevelt Road
Glen Ellyn, IL, 60137
United States

Workshops and Speakers

Keynote Speaker: Mike Abrashoff

Mike Abrashoff is at the center of one of the most remarkable modern day stories of organizational transformation. At the age of 36, the Navy selected Mike to become Commander of USS Benfold. At the time he was the most junior commanding officer in the Pacific Fleet – on a ship that was plagued by low morale, high turnover and abysmal performance evaluations. Few thought that the ship could improve – yet 12 months later the ship was ranked #1 in performance – using the same crew. People were amazed and the lesson was clear – leadership matters and culture is everything.

In many ways, the USS Benfold was an extreme example of the same problems facing many organizations today. That's why dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company have cited Mike's story as an inspiring lesson for business. Leaders especially identify with Mike's being accountable for the results in an environment where he couldn't make the rules.

Mike is clear, "I didn't turn the ship around – my crew did that. What I did was to reinvent my leadership style and create an environment where they felt safe, empowered and supported. When they came to me with a problem, I'd say 'It's your ship – how would you fix it?'." Mike focused on the one thing he could influence: his crew's attitude, because culture is the ultimate competitive weapon for any organization. Mike's solution was to establish a set of management principles that he calls The Leadership Roadmap. At the core of his leadership approach on Benfold was a process of replacing command and control with commitment and cohesion, and engaging the hearts, minds, and loyalties of workers with conviction and humility. "The most important thing that a captain can do is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew. The idea is to empower every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence." By every measure, these principles achieved breakthrough results. Turnover decreased to an unprecedented 1%. The rate of promotions tripled, and the crew slashed operating expenses by 25%. Regarded as the finest ship in the Pacific Fleet, Benfold won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the highest degree of combat readiness. This remarkable change was accomplished by the same crew.

Mike is author of three books. His first, It's Your Ship, has sold over one million copies. Its message is timeless: don't use outside forces that stand in your way as excuses – control the things you can influence and amazing results will happen. His next books, It's Our Ship and Get Your Ship Together, showed how these principles have been put into action by business leaders in their own organizations.

Prior to commanding USS Benfold, Mike served as the Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. He also helped draft the air defense plan for naval forces in the Persian Gulf in 1990, coinciding with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait; and served as the Executive Officer of the Cruiser Shiloh, where he deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq.


ARM will conduct a full-day seminar from 8 AM - 5 PM on Sunday, October 21 and half-day seminar from 8 AM - 12 PM on Monday, October 22.

Seminar – Dr Gareth McDowell (493K Limited) and Dr Nick Henwood (ARM Technical Director): Controlling the Interface between Process & Materials in Rotomolding
Sunday, October 21

This full-day seminar will explore, in depth, the way in which materials and control interact during the rotomolding process. The presenters will demonstrate how the best way to make good parts consistently is to properly understand and fully control both important aspects. The content of the seminar will cover both basic and advanced elements of each subject, so this course will be suitable for attendees with a range of existing knowledge and understanding. Coverage will include molding and controlling non-standard material combinations. During the day, there will be a significant element of practical demonstration, using a desktop rotomolding machine to illustrate concepts in real time. There will also be multiple opportunities for discussion and participation in the program by attendees.

Seminar – Martin Spencer (UniqueRoto): HOW GOOD DESIGN CAN IMPROVE OUR PRODUCTS
Morning of Monday, October 22

A practical look at how good well thought through design can help improve our quality, operator efficiency and ultimately our profitability. It will look at practical examples of how product and tooling design along will well thought through production procedures can completely change the perception of a rotomoulded product in the market place. Participants would be encouraged to discuss their own ideas and solutions.

General Sessions

Product of the Year Case Study – Centro Inc.

Centro will present a case study of the Intimidator GC1K, a side-by-side utility vehicle with eleven rotomolded parts, which won the Product of the Year Award in 2017.

Company Profile and Case Study – Rotoplast

Quebec Rotomolder will share a case study and profile their company on the occasion of their 25th anniversary.

Sustainability Case Studies from a Roto Perspective – Bill Spenceley, Flexahopper Plastics

Learn tips and trends on solar power, general sustainability, and energy savings.

Accessible Operator Training for Rotomolders – Dru Laws

This presentation will review ARM's Operator Training Program, ARM's 2018 series of webinars, and will include video highlights.

Global Rotomolding: Current State-Future State – Paul Nugent

Rotomolding continues to flourish around the world with active associations on all six continents. This paper takes a look at recent activity and developments as well as looking at some areas of interest going forward.

DTH (Direct Tool Heating) Presenting a world of possibilities – Martin Spencer, UniqueRoto

How the new machinery with DTH will change the face of rotational moulding over the next few years, opening up new opportunities for designers and material suppliers. These changes offer both great opportunities and threats for the industry. The presentation will look at several case studies to illustrate possibilities for new applications with this technology.

Motion Control Optimization of Rotational Molding: Rethinking Rotational Speed and Considering the Powder Flow Trajectory – Jonathan Adams, Queen's University Belfast

This presentation will introduce new findings in mold orientation and speed methods as follows:

  1. Powder Flow Trajectory (Path) – By lifting the restriction of constant speed ratios, a mathematical approach can be used to provide a better trajectory for the powder to follow. This approach defines a path which uniformly covers a mould surface. By rotating the mould, so that the powder bed flows through this path, it is predicted to provide the mould wall with a more uniform time in contact with the powder bed over the cycle. This, in turn, is expected to improve the wall thickness uniformity.

  2. Rotational Speed – Does altering the speed throughout the heating cycle, to maintain an optimum powder flow regime, improve the cycle time? Experiments completed analysing powder flow under uni-axial rotation show that savings of up to 25 seconds of the heating stage can be achieved by altering the rotational speed throughout the heating stage to maintain a circulating powder bed.

Polymer Ambassador – Dr. Nick Henwood

The British Plastics Federation, a UK-based industry body, has launched a scheme to directly counteract negative perceptions of plastics in young people. The Polymer Ambassador program has recruited a group of volunteer practitioners to go into schools to explain and demonstrate some of the more positive aspects. The presentation describes the basics of the Polymer Ambassador scheme, to illustrate how easily it could be adapted for use in other countries. It is based on providing children with on a series of hands-on demonstrations and experiences in plastics-related areas.

How Pennsylvania College of Technology Serves the Rotomolding Industry – Brennan Wodrig, Pennsylvania College of Technology

Explaining PCT's rotational molding center of excellence training, research projects, and past scholarship funding. Learn how PCT can serve as a key contact for finding new employees (operator to technical engineer) with hands on experience and any training or research needs.

New ways for a practical simulation of rotomoulded parts – Christian Kehrberg, IPT Wismar

Effects on dry-blend color performance of color loading, resin and pigment type and mixing intensity – Henry Hay, NOVA Chemical

A six-sigma study on the incorporation of dry-blend pigments into rotomolded parts. The effects of resin type, pigment loading, pigment types and mixing intensity on cold impact strength are described. Theory of why dry blending affects impact properties, and rules of thumb for retaining maximum impact strength are shared. Attendees will get an understanding of the risks and mitigation strategies of dry blending color, to avoid catastrophic loss of impact strength.

Assessing Regional Rotomolding Growth: Actual and Potential – Peter Mooney, Plastics Custom Research Services

Vacuum Molding with Electrical Heated Molds - John RatzlaFf

This case study will focus on the attributes possible with electrical heated molds, vacuum, layers and material options. Rotomolders will learn the value in new technology in machines, processing and materials.


Are You Cool? The Importance of Cooling – Martin Spencer, (Unique Roto)

The presentation looks at the importance of cooling in our process. It will look at how we can improve external and internal cooling of our products and what effect this can have on the quality of the finished product and cycle times of our process. Also discussed: technology and techniques available to help improve cooling.

Automation Case Studies from Carsten Erkel (Elkamet) & Sergio Zilioli (Persico)

Elkamet and Persico will share examples of how they are automating the molds, rotomolding machines, demolding, trimming, storage, and more.

Automation Case Studies from Rob Miller (Wittman Canada)

Learn how rotomolders are using resin automation and other automations to significantly increase efficiency.

Understanding Your Tooling options: What is the right mold for success – Tony Short (Diversified Mold & Castings)

What is the best mold for success? For years cast tools were the dominant force in the rotational mold industry. Fabrication has been around for decades and many roto molds are made this way as well. In the last 20 years CNC aluminum molds have become the hot topic and have began impacting the industry. But how do you make the determination on which mold to use? Does the rise of CNC molds mean that a cast or fab tool is not the best option? In this brief discussion I would like to discuss the different tooling options in our industry now and how each one has strengths and weakness in the rotomolding process. It is important in evaluating the merits of each type of tool other than price point. Which tool gives me the best tolerances? Which tools give me the best longevity? Does the type of tool I am looking to purchase limit my design options? By evaluating the stories of current rotomolders who run each tool we hope to learn what tooling option will ensure the best rate of return for years to come.

Product Consolidation Strategies –  Carmine D’Agostino (NOVA Chemicals)

This workshop will explore product consolidation strategies. Personnel working in purchasing, production, operations, engineering and design will be interested in better understanding the value that key material attributes can provide in this area. Specifically, we will discuss strategies for the rotomolder to exploit with respect to the material process window and balance of physical properties. Insights will be shared comparing various polyethylene materials for their processability and physical properties.

What’s Your Problem? – Ron Cooke (ExxonMobil Chemical Company) & Sandy Scaccia (Norstar Aluminum Molds)

A perennial favorite: troubleshoot your problems with your colleagues and industry experts. This is a simple and effective workshop that can change your operation, help you reduce scrap, and reduce significant expenses.

Why and How You Should Mold Polypropylene – Ted Humphreys (PSD Rotoworx) and Dr. Gareth McDowell (493K)

Why should rotomolders use Polypropylene? How does Polypropylene Mold? Which applications is Polypropylene best suited? These will be answered as we take the Polypropylene journey. The physical properties of Polypropylene will be shown and how they compare to Polyethylenes commonly used today by Rotomolders. Where there is a need for Strength, Stiffness, Creep Resistance, High Temperature, Harder Surface, Abrasion Resistance, Environmental & Weathering Performance and even Autoclavability, we will demonstrate the improved properties of Polypropylene for use in these demanding applications. Polypropylene molds a little differently to Polyethylene, requiring some basic processing modifications. These will be explained, including the need for more heat to get a high Peak Internal Air Temperature (PIAT) and how this is achieved. Polypropylene’s natural lubricity means a different approach to use of mold release and as Polypropylene has lower shrinkage than Polyethylene, we will explore the benefits this can yield. A demonstration with the “RotoRocket” by Dr. Gareth McDowell will show attendees first hand how Polypropylene melts and produces good inner & outer surfaces with minimal pinholes. So what opportunities does Polypropylene present to the molder? It’s enhanced performance capabilities allow for it’s use in many demanding applications. Actual examples will be shown and selection explained according to the product requirements.