Extreme Molding of Menands, New York is America’s #1 silicone injection molder of consumer products. Lynn Momrow-Zielinski and Joanne Moon Duncan, the company’s founders and active managers, bring a combined 60+ years of experience to the business and run one of the longest-tenured, women-owned molders operating in the United States. Back in 2016, Extreme Molding worked with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) on a project with far-reaching benefits.
FuzeHub spoke with Extreme Molding’s Joanne Moon Duncan for this interview. The Arsenal Business & Technology Partnership in Watervliet, New York was the applicant for the FuzeHub Manufacturing Grant.
How did Extreme Molding work with RPI under a FuzeHub Manufacturing Grant?
Extreme Molding and RPI have always had a close working relationship. Lynn Momrow-Zielinski, one of our owners, and Mike Fil, our General Manager, are both RPI graduates. Since Extreme’s founding in 2002, we have employed many RPI students as interns throughout the school year. The grant that we co-wrote with RPI was to support the purchase of a new molding machine and its complementary equipment. RPI students were able to observe the new machine from installation to start-up to full production. We replaced a used machine with this purchase and donated the used machine and excess raw material to RPI and their Manufacturing Lab so that students there could get more hands-on experience.
What’s changed in your industry since then?
Our industry has changed in that new types of molding machines and auxiliary equipment, such as robotics, have been introduced. In light of labor shortages, automation is getting a great deal more attention than in the past. There are also new grades of silicones and plastics available for us to work with to meet customer needs.
What’s changed at your business since then?
The post-Covid economy has afforded us more opportunities to quote on jobs that are currently in Asia because many companies want to re-shore their production to the United States. Target and Wal-Mart are two notable players seeking to offer more Made in the USA items. The challenge for us, as a U.S. manufacturer, is to be able to compete on price with labor that is (sadly) so inexpensive in Asia and on steel molds there that cost a third of what we can produce domestically.
Tell us about your recent move from Watervliet Arsenal to Menands and the new location.
After 22 years, the Watervliet Arsenal gave us 14 months to move all of our operations because they say they needed more production space. In the end, we made lemonade out of lemons and found a one-story building to lease about a mile away in Menands. The move was costly, but we are getting settled into our new location and see many benefits to being here.