Innovative Alloys: An Interview with Clinton Aluminun Vice President, Matt Kaye
Matt, Thank you for joining us on the Mixer Direct blog
It’s my pleasure! Thanks for your interest in aluminum’s growing use in the plastics industry.
Tell us about yourself and the story behind Clinton Aluminum.
I’m proud to have been a part of the Clinton Aluminum family since 1998, and currently hold the position of VP Sales & Marketing for them. Clinton started in the mid 1960’s as a supplier to the tire mold industry near Akron, Ohio, and has grown into the largest distributor of aluminum mold plate in North America. Our distribution arm took full flight around 30 years ago, and has grown steadily over the years. Clinton has grown from a very local customer base in Ohio to having customers in almost every state in the U.S. in addition to dozens of foreign countries.
Clinton Aluminum is the Midwest’s #1 supplier of aluminum and stainless steel plate products. What sets you apart from your competitors?
Clinton grew with a true “can-do” attitude, and this culture has served us well as we’ve grown over the years. We stock material that is over twice as thick as most aluminum plate distributors put in inventory. Our processing equipment has to match this extensive inventory, and our ability to cut larger plate than our competitors help us ship material quickly. Our sales team knows our stock alloys inside and out, and has a focus on providing our customers with the right alloys for each application. When you put all those components together, it makes Clinton not only a great place to work, but a great place to do business with.
Your company is involved in a wide variety of industries. What industries are you most excited about being a part of?
How can I pick my favorite child? Our material is used in automotive, aerospace, medical, consumer goods, construction, heavy truck, agriculture, and many more industries. We love seeing the benefits of aluminum in all these industries, but are especially excited about recent efforts in the automotive market. Aluminum has been thought of as a material that could be used for prototype tooling only, but that is changing rapidly. Traditional steel tools still work well for certain applications, but more and more automakers and suppliers are looking to aluminum for increased efficiencies in automotive plastics.
Aluminum molds can be built in less time, and parts can be run faster using aluminum’s thermal conductivity benefits compared with steel. Aluminum’s value can be realized during every step of the molding process, and these efficiency gains show up in lower piece part costs to the automaker.
What is one of the most commonly misunderstood things when someone is looking into purchasing the right alloys for a customer's applications?
Educating our customers about all the differences between alloys has been one of the more enjoyable parts of my job. It reminds me of television before cable and satellite came along. Everyone used to watch the same three channels, and everyone used to choose from the same three aluminum alloys. That certainly isn’t the case anymore. The aluminum industry has developed many new alloys in recent years, and all of them are designed to achieve different benefits depending on the application. Helping our customers realize the benefits of these new alloys is what helps separate Clinton from the competition.
What are some of the differences between mold alloys?
Mold alloys come from the 5000, 2000, 6000, and 7000 series aluminum alloy families. Some products are cast using aerospace certified casting facilities, some are rolled to thickness, and some are forged. All of the alloys and processes used to make them make for very different products in the marketplace. Some alloys are designed to be very stable during machining, some are easier to texture and repair, and some are designed for higher strength or better corrosion resistance. Depending on the polymer used and the part design, aluminum tooling can produce millions of parts. Choosing the right alloy is critical to producing the best possible part.
What is one thing you want people to know about Clinton Aluminum?
We focus on building successful long-term partnerships with our customers. The team at Clinton wants to make sure that we not only help them succeed now, but well into the future.
It was great to meet you and learn about Clinton Aluminum. Thank you very much for joining us on the blog!
It was my pleasure! We are glad to be part of such a diverse industry, and enjoy speaking with and learning from companies like Mixer Direct.
Matt Kaye is the vice president at Clinton Aluminum in Clinton, Ohio.