Todd Banach, Founder and CEO, RAM Polymer SystemsTodd Banach, Founder and CEO
In the fable of the two lumberjacks, one chopped away at the trees all day without stopping, while the other started each day by sharpening his axe. As admirable as his determination is, the first lumberjack would be far less effective at his trade than the other. The lesson here is simple, to get ahead, companies must always polish/improve the tools of our trade, be it their skills, equipment, or knowledge. Companies that function like lumberjack #1 are inevitably headed to a plateau.

Having started in the plastics industry in 1978 as a supervisor/ setup process technician at the ETHOX corporation, Todd Banach, understood the need for ‘sharpening of the axe’ through automation and robotics integration. In the late 80s, while working for Johnson & Johnson, Banach decided that he would learn more about these areas, not from research or by picking the brains of others in the field, but by pursuing his master’s degree in Industrial Technology, with a specialization in automating and computerizing manufacturing systems. He took the inside track on the automation wave that was sure to take the plastics industry by storm.

The result was the founding of Polymer Transitions, later to become Robotic Automated Manufacturing Polymer Systems— RAM Polymer Systems—a company that provides manufacturers in the plastics processing industries with market leading Conveyors, IMM, Extrusion, Material Handling, Auxiliary Equipment and Automation equipment. Put simply, RAM Polymer Systems would be the go to solution provider for clients, who could evaluate client needs firsthand and complete a customer survey of their need incorporated with a budget. They are a onestop shop that helps customers purchase their core processing equipment for processing Thermo Set, Thermo Plastics, MIM (Metal Injection Molding), LSR (Liquid Silicone Rubber) and Liquid Injection Molding. Today, RAM Polymer Systems sells the auxiliary equipment necessary to support any plastics processing manufacturing processes, including injection molding, blow molding, and extrusion. “We provide solutions for manufacturing plastic parts and provide all the equipment to produce product from plastic pellets/raw materials and the automation to assemble/ produce or final pack any given product,” says Banach, who leads RAM Polymer Systems as its CEO.

RAM Polymer Systems is thus partnered with Wittmann Battenfeld, a globally leading manufacturer of injection molding machines, automation and auxiliaries for plastics processing. The Wittmann 4.0 solution can combine data acquisition across several production cells and delivers a wide range of different equipment. Additionally, RAM Polymer Systems is partnered with Dynamic Conveyors, MICH who provide them with conveyors for parts and packaging of manufactured products, Process Cooling, MASS for central heating and cooling, and recirculation water systems, Zeiger Industries, OH who deliver components, such as IMM screws, screw tips and assembles for IMM and Progressive Handling, MICH who provide automation solutions for part extraction to product assembly and packaging. “Our goal is to find a solution for your company that works for your budget today and is compatible with future expansion,” states Banach. With all of RAM Polymer Systems’ partners being manufacturers in the USA, it has shortened its supply chain to meet quick deliveries and deliver ultimate flexibility,

By supplying automated robotic solutions, RAM Polymer Systems addresses two key pain points that affect the plastic tech space today: attrition and efficiency. In the plastics industry, operators are responsible for manually taking parts and runners out of machines, degating, packing, and other repetitive work. With the lack of people wanting to do this manual labor it becomes difficult to have consistency with the rapid employee turn around and the cost of keeping employees and training new. RAM supplies the right equipment to address this customer need.

We are a one-stop shop that helps customers purchase their processing equipment for injection molding. We also sell the auxiliary equipment to support any plastics processing manufacturing processes, including injection molding, blow, molding, and extrusion

Clients can economically justify RAM’s automation solutions in under six months, or less since the cost of paying a worker for extracting parts, degating, and packing, coupled with their benefits and insurance, is much higher when compared to the economic justification for a robot, which is a onetime investment of $50K. Say an operator estimated cost with benefits comes to about $50K annually and each year after. The reduction of cycle time is also welcomed by costumers.

Additionally, the consistency that automation and robotics can bring to the manufacturing process is tremendous. One example—the timing of opening and closing a door to extract the parts manually, as opposed to having a robot go in without opening the gate, consistently, time over time, cycle after cycle, without causing any interruption to the molding process, is impossible by human hands. A person taking even one-second longer/sooner to close the gate when they’re extracting parts can impact the molding process and the final product. RAM helps offset this with their solutions. “If any given experienced molder doesn’t understand how inconsistency affects their process, how can they still be in business in today’s market. What is the cost of the operator and the value added year after year when there are one-time investment solutions?”

The success story of one of RAM Polymer Systems’ clients best exemplifies RAM’s valued “SIMPLE SOLUTIONS.” Rochester, New York-based plastic manufacturers Alliance Precision Plastics bought a Battenfeld injection molding machine along with a robot for that machine to automate a part of their process, all facilitated via RAM Polymer Systems. Alliance was new to adding automation to their process and started out by just extracting the part while still employing two operators for the line packaging and some added finish work. Their job involved extracting large parts from a 650-ton injection molding machine. Once the client became accustomed to the robots’ programming and functions, RAM helped them add offline EOAT (End of Arm Tooling) for automating degating and other manual functions, eliminating the need for one operator. As a result, they were able to (in a brief period) not only extract the part and keep the consistency of the molding process but also eliminate short shots or flashes caused by the inconsistency of the operator manually opening/closing a huge door. Also found because of the process consistency there was a significant reduction in cycle time, down time and scrap. The automation also resulted in an estimated $50,000 reduction in operator costs for the client with “SIMPLE EOAT.”

Keeping a keen eye on their clients’ bottom line while embracing a personalized customer engagement has supported RAM Polymer Systems (RAMPS) to be on the top of the list for many manufacturers over the years. RAMPS continues to be one of the very few Sales Agencies in the USA whose principles all manufacture their equipment for the plastic industry in the USA. Equipment made in the USA for the USA! The company continues to strive to supply quality and affordable services to its clients. It is currently looking to expand its workforce and territory. They are always on the lookout for the newest trends in automation. For instance, they are exploring the possibility of offering collaborative robots—small robots, table-type robots for downstream automation and packaging, et cetera— to make life even simpler for their customers.