Dody Leib has made many decisions during his 10 years as Rion’s CEO. From small to major, these decisions transformed the company. Among them, are branching out into new domains, strategic partnerships, acquisition of subsidiaries, and a significant increase in production area and capabilities. However, if you ask him to point to his most significant decision, he will undoubtedly indicate the decision to acquire Raveh Moulds.
“I can’t imagine Rion today without the capabilities that this collaboration has given us,” says Dody. “Our entire thinking process in designing new molds and the maintenance of existing ones had been transformed. We work at the highest level possible. Strategically, we strive to enlarge and develop this department as much as possible. In the future, anyone who will not be able to provide this kind of molding solution, will not survive, and this gives us a significant competitive advantage”, he concludes.
It was love at first sight
Indeed, it seems that this romance started with love at first sight. Ronen Raveh, whose father Zvi singlehandedly founded the molding company and is, to this day, the beating heart of the company’s molding department, was in charge of the merger. “It’s no secret that the molding industry was revolutionized during the last two decades,” says Ronen. “Since the beginning of the millennium, it was challenged by the Chinese market. At first, we still tried to cope, produce efficiently, design high-quality molds, and bridge the gap. We slowly realized we were losing. Very few customers preferred the quality we could provide over price.”
As with any crisis, one must evolve or become extinct, and the solution at Raveh Moulds came when we realized we must combine the ability to produce molds with injection capabilities. “At this point in time, we decided to shake things up by integrating into the plastic injection industry. I am not talking about the basic injection of parts, but about a technically complex injection that can reflect our unique capabilities in molds production.”
Ronen oversees the production of a mold in the plant abroad
The Sale of Raveh Moulds to Rion Industries
“When we were looking for a partner in the plastic injection industry, we were a very sought-after bride, with numerous suitors,” says Ronen. “It was important for us to find a company that would recognize the value in letting us maintain our professional autonomy, and would prioritize professional considerations over all others, even above price. A company that would not reduce us into just another one of its departments, but would acknowledge the potential upgrade for such integration. When we got to know Rion and Dody, its CEO, it was immediately clear that we have similar viewpoints and that our interpersonal chemistry worked well. To their credit, they have kept their word ever since the merger. “Whenever a dilemma arose, it was clear to all that the solution of choice would be the best one, and not the cheapest one.”
Things That are Revealed After the Wedding …
The pairing went through in record speed, and by July 2012, Raveh Moulds merged with Rion. After every wedding celebration and co-habiting, traits that did not surface during the courtship period come to light. When asked what this change contributes to Raveh’s perception of molds, Ronen replies: “A single mold manufacturer is unaware of injection insights and their process is not integrated. Before the merger, we dealt with processing steel and marketing molds. But since the merger, we began engaging not just with the steel processing and sale of molds, rather than in accompanying the entire life cycle of the molds: From integrating injection needs already as early as the design stage, building the mold with a more efficient maintenance capacity, and helping solve problems during the entire work process. This led to a more correct perception of mold structure. Thanks to all of this, we have improved, and we produce better quality molds which contribute to cost-efficient production. We pursue efficient and short cycle times through optimal cooling and proper de-molding. Today we are better planners and professionals.”
Rion Industries’ Mastery Leap
If we present Rion’s CEO Dody with a similar question, we will find that the other side gained notable advantages as well, that earned the decision to acquire Raveh Moulds the title of “best decision made in the last ten years.” As Dody says, “Including such advanced planning, production, and maintenance capabilities when it comes to molds, caused our professional skills to take a great leap forward. Our response times for new requests and in ongoing production, have improved significantly. The molds’ technical team is involved in all production floor injections. Problems are discussed by the entire professional team and resolved right next to the machine. The benefits extend to more and more peripheral circles. For example, the entire mold cooling perception has changed. We have introduced measurable parameters for each process and upgraded the plant’s water cooling system to better meet production needs. This has allowed us to enter new and more challenging areas such as Thin-walled products and Multi-component injection molding,” he concludes.
An exceptional Man with Exceptional Hands
The man who deserves most of the thanks is Zvi Raveh, who founded Raveh Moulds and was there throughout the merger process with Rion. Zvi was born in 1948 (the year Israel was established,) in Germany, studied technical studies, and excelled in craftsmanship. He founded Raveh Moulds and was one of the molding industry leaders in Israel. Zvi passed away only a year ago and was part of the merger and integration with Rion. Up to his last days, he kept coming to the molding workshop at Rion to come up with creative solutions and teach the younger generation.
“Dad’s spirit and inspiration accompany us every day. Part of it is the constant aspiration to improve, learn, and never fear adopting new technologies,” says Ronen, his son. “For example, if you take the field of mold cooling, we are one of the leaders in Israel in Conformal cooling. Today, this becomes our day-to-day working tool when we encounter a cooling challenge. It shortens cycle times and significantly improves the quality and uniformity of the product.”
The Dream Team of Rion’s Molding Department
At Rion, a team of about 15 professionals staffs the molding department, including three designers and an injection technologist. They are involved, hands-on, in the entire mold design process, down to the most minute detail. The production itself is mostly done in China, but also in India and Europe, entrusted with certified and confirmed suppliers who abide by and assimilate Rion’s standards in terms of work procedures, production processes, and quality assurance. It is supervised by a Rion employee on-site, who is involved in every step of production and performs quality control in real-time.
“We benefit from the advantages of combining overseas production with local design, planning, and supervision. The workshop in Israel is mainly used for mold maintenance and alterations, or for producing urgent mold orders. We produce dozens of new molds a year and support the ongoing production of about 1,000 existing molds,” says Ronen.
What Does the Future of Molding Hold?
“We are in transition towards producing complex molds that save manpower and advance automation,” says Ronen. “For years, we used to produce a geometrically-complex product that required a full-time staff member to de-mold the product, which resulted in an unstable injection process and many redundancies. We resolved this by designing and structuring a new mold with a special mechanism that bounced the product out in a rotary motion after the extraction. In addition, as part of automation integration projects, we worked with the automation department to complete a project that included building a two-cell mold with a six-axis robot that inserts into the mold and unloads the products. In recent years, we have also entered the field of Multi-component injection molding instead of Over molding, to save additional assembly processes. “Whenever customers give us the time to design the most effective mold, they benefit from it,” he concludes.
Zvi Raveh (RIP)