Innovation Award

At MAPP's core lives the mission to connect and share innovative best practices. Every year, MAPP's board of directors selects a relevant and topical "theme" for the innovation award. MAPP members are encouraged to submit their company's best practice in this theme. Submissions are sent out to the MAPP membership - and winners are voted on and selected by their peers. Previous topics include: SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) Carts, Water Manifold Systems and Automation Deployment. Winners of the Innovation award are recognized on stage at MAPP's annual Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference each October in Indianapolis in front of more than 600 of their peers. Winners also receive a check, free registration to specific events and recognition in MAPP's national publications.

MAPP's leadership team believes that being innovator requires nothing more than owning what you do and having pride in it. Innovation isn't something a company or an individual does separate from their everyday work. Instead, innovation is a means of taking a look at the work you and your colleagues do and seeing how you can do it better! 

Jump to winning submissions:

2018 Innovation Award Topic: Defect Detection

Microplastics, Inc. 

“Thank you for the opportunity to share our innovation and see all the exciting entries from other MAPP members. Our team at Microplastics is honored to receive this award.”

Intertech Medical

Byrne Electrical Specialists

“As a family owned company that has been in business for nearly 50 years, Byrne is excited to accept the 2018 Innovation Award! In today’s global landscape, automation leads the way to stay competitive in the world of manufacturing. We honor our tradition and pioneer change by utilizing automated equipment for routine tasks, so that we can build our team members skills and abilities. Thank you to all who voted and competed in the competition!”

Donnelly Custom Manufacturing

Falcon Plastics - Lexington 

2017: Innovation Award Winners: Automation Deployment

Intertech Plastics

"We designed and built (100% in-house) a machine-side, automated work-cell, utilizing integrated process control and quality control to provide a zero defects solution for one of our medical device customers. Our zero defect solution focused on 3 elements: 1.Integrated Process Control; 2.Automated Quality Inspection; 3.Reduction of Bio-burden from part handling and packaging. Features:  Electronic Part Detection, Robot will alarm out and prevent mold close if parts are not pulled from mold correctly, Multiple Gripper Points & Stabilizing Features. Benefits: Consistent Part Cutting, Prevents part distortion at part take out, Avoids Bio-burden & Contamination, Protects Tooling from Damage, Cavity Separation, Accurate Bag/Box Quantities"


"A new program launched this year at Microplastics requiring a molded part to be processed through multiple assembly, potting, and testing modes. Traditionally these processes would involve separate cells specialized for each segment of production. Our engineers and design team were able to devise an automation solution that would accomplish these multiple steps in one cell utilizing a rotary indexing table. This all-in-one solution offers multiple advantages over individual cells: Reduced part handling, storage and queue between cells, Increased efficiency to achieve required parts per hour through simultaneous processing, Controlled process flow through the cell with automatic locked reject management, sorted by failure type, Compact floor space, Reduced labor to one operator. Most all of the design, fabrication, assembly and implementation was completed by members of the Microplastics team.  Since its deployment, this automation solution has proven to be a success as the cell has exceeded initial goals for both cycle time and scrap percentages."

Makuta Technics

"The Fanuc robot grabs the 4 parts individually and presents each to two, high-definition cameras systems for inspection. The proprietary camera systems inspect for short shots, flash and gate vestige as well as for critical dimensions. Conforming parts are deposited into the finished goods bags; non-conforming parts are placed in a rejection bin for disposal."

Wisconsin Plastics

"For this particular operation we have combined a new Universal Robot with our standard machine robot to pick, place, and pad print parts as part of our human assembly line. Our cobot thus far has enabled us to increase throughput for this assembly line by 25% while actually removing three assemblers (per shift) from the overall process. Those three assemblers are now assigned elsewhere allowing us to run another complete assembly line. Future plans for  these robots include integration in tasks such as gate trimming, visual inspection, component assembly, packaging and part segregation."

2016: Innovation Award Winners: Water Manifold Systems

DeKalb Molded  Plastics

"In the "after" picture on the right, water line reduction only hooking up 8 ½” waterlines in 1 hour, running both molds two up side by side ( each mold is a 135” long x 2 ½” wide and weight 14,000 lbs.) , once the water Manifolding project was complete we had 0 hours downtime due to no water leaks during a 10,000 piece order, and provided motivation / pride with the Set Up Department."


"The overall benefits to setting this up is no more looking on a hose rack for just the right hose, or having to use one that is too long. It is quick and easy to understand and install. We reduced water set up of a mold from 30-45 minutes down to 10-15 minutes. The manifolds are closer and up off the ground which means shorter hoses and takes up less room in storage. It reduces the cost by using shorter length and by being dictated to one mold. It is only used when that mold is in, and not being used consistently mold to mold. So, in the end it will last longer before it needs to be replaced. The number marking of the manifolds help to insure that each circuit is paired up and less chance of crossing the lines or dead heading them, which produces bad parts when only part of the mold is being cooled. In summary it is easy to store easy to install, saves time and money, and help to mistake proof the installation on a mold."

Nicolet Plastics

"There are significant time and dollar savings in both press and labor, and poka-yoke of cooling lines. Manifold runs are color coded and quick disconnects are set-up so that they can’t be connected incorrectly. In addition, scrap reductions are realized as cooling lines can’t be hooked up incorrectly. A challenge with the manifold system is that evacuating the system can take longer. Nicolet Plastics has addressed this with valve shut off locations, and use of an airline to blow out the entire system. This does not add time to the changeover. Another consideration is that routing large manifold hoses can be more difficult and can increase mold PM time. Accordingly, manifolds increase the mold footprint and require additional storage space."

2015: Innovation Awards Winners: SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) Carts

Deluxe Plastics

"Our SMED cart contains all essential tools and equipment to perform a mold change in an efficient manner. In addition to the physical tools it also acts as a wireless information center. The SMED cart is restocked and prepared for the next mold change after every use."

PMT (Plastic Molding Technology Inc)

"PMT’s state-of-the-art SMED carts are a one-stop shop for the production department’s employees, built for ease-of-access and eliminating unnecessary travel. Our newly designed carts decrease mold setup time by 50 percent while increasing cost savings. Standardized tool sets are readily available, with all extra equipment now centrally located." 


"Our cart has a few benefits that I assume most setup carts have but probably to a higher level. The back has jumper hoses of every possible length needed along with 200 and 300 series fittings. This way the guys can quickly replace leaking hoses and get our mold up time increased. Obviously all of the necessary set up tools are present and organized properly, but in addition we keep all necessary pipe fittings, plugs, O-rings, and job change paperwork on our cart. This is also our sample cart so on the side we have a large variety of sprays and lubricants which are often needed for those first shots.