Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Plastics Molder/Toy Maker Shows President Obama How It’s Done

President Obama at the Rodon Group, Nov. 30, 2012

President Obama walked the Rodon Group’s production floor before speaking to a crowd in a specially cleared area of the busy K’NEX toy manufacturing facility.

Last Friday, November 30th, definitely was not a normal day at the Rodon Group (Hatfield, PA), what with President Obama touring the plastics injection molding company’s manufacturing facility, and then speaking to a packed house in a specially cleared area on the production floor.

As it says on the company blog, Rodon “…proudly hosted the President of the Unites States. We were chosen by the White House to represent not only the manufacturing sector of our economy but small businesses as well.”  The White House chose very well.

The Rodon Group, injection molding production area

Founded in 1956 as a custom molder of plastics, the Rodon Group today operates 106 injection molding machines in its highly automated factory.

The Rodon Group, which is a member of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, was a finalist for this year’s Plastics News Processor of the Year Award,

and has long been an outspoken supporter of U.S. manufacturing. Its website offers information such as  “Top 10 Critical Reasons to Bring Your Plastic Injection Molding Back to the U.S.” To make the message even clearer, in many places on the site words such as “We Beat China Prices” and “Cheaper than China,” are prominently displayed. And  Rodon can back up those words, having already reshored billions of manufactured parts to the U.S.

The Rodon Group was founded in 1956 as a custom plastics molder and has made billions of plastics products in the 125,000 sq. ft. facility housing 106 injection molding machines that it built in 1987. Obviously that means it is well known to a large number of clients in a variety of industries, but the Rodon Group also is known by millions more people around the world: those whose kids play with the company’s K’NEX construction toys.

The President’s shop tour and speech took place in the Rodon custom molding facility. The separate K’NEX production facility, also a large building, is located a few miles from Rodon’s custom molding operation. K’NEX toys entered the market in 1992 and now account for about a third of Rodon’s total molding

production. The toys’ many relatively small, close-tolerance, high-volume parts are perfect applications for the company’s deep molding and moldmaking expertise.

K’NEX construction toys made by the Rodon Group in Pennsylvania are well known around the world.

It is apparent in the video of President Obama’s speech that he was impressed with what he saw. The employees had made it even better, setting up displays of K’NEX construction toys in the days before the event that made a very busy factory look more like Santa’s workshop.

If you’ve ever wondered what the preparation is like for a presidential, check out this blog post by Rodon’s Paula Hynes. Presidential staffers began arriving six days before the event, and on the day before the event a presidential fleet of five helicopters did a test landing near the plant. It was no small undertaking.

President Michael Araten—president of the Rodon Group, that is—had many interviews with news crews during the week, including one from Germany where K’NEX toys are very popular. Rodon’s blog tells the full story and is definitely worth a look. You can watch a video of President Obama’s speech here. And be sure to check out the good-looking manufacturing area he’s standing in.

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