3 Key Takeaways from MD&M West 2020


MD&M West is one of Apple Rubber’s favorite shows. We have been attending since the very first show that was actually set up in the Disney parking lot. Getting to see the sun and a little warmth in Anaheim, CA compared to Lancaster, NY is also a huge plus. This year’s show seemed bigger and had more exhibitors than ever before, and show traffic to the Apple Rubber booth seemed comparable or even a little more than previous years. All in all, we had a very good show. Here are some of our key takeaways from the event:

Companies still need prototyping services.

We get a lot of questions on whether we perform prototyping services. Design engineers have concept rubber parts that they need single cavity tooling for in order to turn them into actual parts. With our in-house mold shop, we can cut single cavity tooling and make parts in shorter lead times compared to other manufacturers and distributors. Our design engineers can also review part prints or full assemblies to assure proper tolerance stack-up for the rubber seal to work properly. 

We also use a 3D CAD program, so part files can be easily transferred and read. Our lab can help reverse engineer an existing design from material selection to full part measurement. If staying in the same polymer family, we can typically use the same tool to mold various durometers.  Therefore, if a seal is too hard for an application, we can mold something softer without having an additional tooling charge. We use hardened steel tooling to hold higher tolerance and give us the ability to do multiple runs for customer validations and design changes. 

Online design tools are extremely helpful.

We always receive great comments about our website. Many people are using our O-Ring Gland Calculator to find out exactly what they need for their application. They seem to like how easy and straightforward it is to use. Currently, we have piston and rod seal calculations, however we will soon be adding a static groove calculator as well. These tools together should cover most seal designs. 

Right now, we offer standard AS568 size groove designs as part of our online design guide. The new calculator will give designers the ability to check current designs that are not standard sizing. We always try to recommend AS568 sizes since these o-rings have greater availability and are generally lower in cost. 

The show has become more hands-on.

While walking through the show, we noticed that there was much more equipment being displayed in exhibitors’ booths. A lot of vendors had an injection molding press running and there were more material suppliers with their own booths. To make the event more fun, we noticed that on Wednesday, multiple booths had their own cocktails in the afternoon. Special touches like this made the event a great experience for customers, vendors and exhibitors to get together and network. 

With recent viruses affecting overseas travel, many people have been concerned about outsourcing and delays. Talking with our customers, we reassured them that all of our products are manufactured in our facility in Lancaster, NY. None of our raw materials come from overseas countries like China, so we don’t expect any shipping concerns. 

We’re headed to Grapevine, Texas for our next show, Design-2-Part. Visit our Tradeshows & Events page for all our upcoming events.