Advanced Thermoforming Solutions


Lessons from a PhD-Grade Industrial Energy Audit

Inside The Factory | Plastics Manufacturing

Man with clip board in manufacturing facility taking notes

Manufacturing Efficiency

In the United States, about one-third of our energy is used for industrial purposes. The good news is that today, industrial energy usage is more efficient than ever before. Over the past 30 years, the amount of energy used to produce $1 worth of goods has been cut in half.

Still, there’s room for improvement. And whether you’re a manufacturer who’s looking to save the planet or cut your monthly energy bill, efficiency is worth looking into.

Last fall, a group of PhDs, grad students and professionals from San Diego State University’s Industrial Assessment Center descended on our plastic manufacturing plant in Ontario, California. They spent a day poking around our facility, making observations, and taking measurements and notes. They then left with a stack of data to process.

In February, they delivered a 52-page master report to my inbox, complete with their findings and recommendations for improvements. The bottom line was that even in a relatively efficient facility, they found opportunities to reduce our energy consumption in ways that could save an estimated $17K in annual energy and maintenance costs.

Not every manufacturing facility has access to a team of PhDs from SDSU. So, I thought I’d share our report’s key findings that could be broadly applicable to other manufacturing facilities.


A Head Start: Some Ways in Which We Were Already Efficient

Our facility had several efficiency advantages to build on. We’re a heavy-gauge thermoformer that just celebrated our 70th anniversary. When we moved into our current plant in 1995, it was purpose-built for our needs, and we had 46 years of experience to build on.

As a result, we were able to build a plant that was very efficient from the get-go. Our layout is optimized to minimize material transport and distance traveled, as well as maximize venting; it also allows for as much process efficiency as possible. Our more recent investments in automation, robotics and other new technologies have enabled us to further improve that efficiency while adding new services to our plant.

Beyond these base-level efficiencies, our SDSU assessment also called out the efficient use of lighting and reflectors, organization and layout, and focus on safety — which result in process and energy efficiency.

But, even with these efficiencies already in place, we still found plenty of room for efficiency advancements.


Lighting: Rapid Advancements in Efficiency

We’re not new to energy-efficient lighting. About a decade ago, we replaced our old HID lighting with (then) state-of-the-art high-efficiency T8 fluorescent lighting. But, LED lighting technology has matured significantly since then. Our SDSU engineers estimated that, by retrofitting our existing fluorescent fixtures with LED lighting, we could move from 175 watts per fixture to 90 watts per fixture.

In their estimation, that retrofit could save our facility nearly $8K per year in combined energy and maintenance savings, and be implemented with a cost of just under $10K.

That’s a deal that I think any facility would take. With our assessment’s math, the upgrade would pay for itself in a little over a year. So, we decided to move ahead with their recommendations.

That’s when we ran into a bit of a challenge. While our SDSU team had believed that we could keep our existing fluorescent fixtures and use a retrofit kit to convert them into LEDs, the lighting contractors whom we talked to found that our specific fixtures weren’t compatible with retrofit kits.

As a result, our upgrade would need to completely replace our existing fixtures, which increased the combined labor and lighting cost by a factor of 3–4x.

This made us change strategy just a bit. We’re still planning to upgrade our fluorescent lighting to more efficient LEDs, but instead of performing the upgrade immediately, we’re going to hold off for a bit. As our fluorescent lighting nears its expected end of life and maintenance costs climb over the coming years, we’ll see a higher ROI from a wholesale replacement. It’s also likely that in that time, LED efficiency will continue to increase while costs come down.

Instead of relamping our fluorescent fixtures when that time comes, we’ll roll those costs into their wholesale LED replacement.

In the meantime, we’ve followed the study’s other lighting-related recommendation: installing occupancy sensors throughout much of our facility. There’s no more efficient light than one that’s turned off, and these sensors will help to ensure that we’re not burning energy to illuminate unoccupied parts of our facility.

Key Lighting Takeaways

Even if you’ve invested in energy-efficient lighting in the past, it’s likely that newer, more efficient lighting technologies and intelligent lighting controls are available today. Work with your utility or a qualified lighting contractor to assess the cost and benefits of a lighting upgrade.


Machinery: The Benefits of Premium-Efficiency Motors

Electric motors account for about 40% of all energy consumption in the U.S. In 2016, the Department of Energy launched new “NEMA Premium” efficiency standards for electric motors.

While the savings of a premium-efficiency motor vary with load and operating hours, replacing a single 100-horsepower standard motor with a premium-efficiency motor could generate nearly $3,000 in annual energy savings.

We use a range of electric motors in our manufacturing operations, with ratings of between 3 hp and 100 hp. Our SDSU assessment estimated annual energy savings of about $3,800 if we replace them all with premium efficiency motors.

The SDSU assessment recommended that we wait until the existing motors are due for replacement to perform this upgrade. If we consider the total cost of just going in today, ripping out our functioning standard-efficiency motors and putting in premium-efficiency replacements, it would take a decade or more to pay for that upgrade.

By timing our upgrades to coincide with the timing of motor replacements, the cost of this efficiency upgrade is simply the cost of a premium-efficiency motor, minus the cost of a standard-efficiency motor.

With that plan of action, our assessment estimated that our premium-efficiency motor upgrades would pay for themselves with energy savings in about 2.5 years.

Key Machinery Takeaways

Assess the efficiency of your existing motors. If they’re standard-efficiency or the older “NEMA Energy Efficient” designation, plan to replace them with premium-efficiency models at your normal replacement interval, or when you experience issues with your current equipment.


Compressed Air: More Efficient Production, Use and Storage

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that compressed air systems account for 10% of the energy used in this country’s manufacturing. Our facility uses a 100 hp compressor (with another for backup) to power pneumatic drills, sanders, grinders and blow guns used throughout our manufacturing processes.

Our SDSU assessment made four recommendations related to improving the efficiency of our compressed air system. We’ll be following two of those recommendations and bypassing the other two.


Leak Reduction

Anyone who’s worked with compressed air systems knows that leaks happen. Even high-quality fittings and bearings degrade over time and need to be sealed, maintained and replaced at regular intervals.

Our SDSU assessment estimated our energy costs for leaked air at a bit over $600 per year. Not a huge amount, but certainly an issue worth addressing.

It’s challenging to detect air leaks in a noisy production environment. So, on a recent Saturday morning, a team of us went into the now-quiet factory, filled up the compressed air lines, and spent a few hours finding and fixing leaks. We’ve also added this as a process on our regular maintenance schedule so that we can keep ahead of compressed air leaks going forward.


Reducing Maximum Air Settings

Our air compressor is set to maintain 110 psi, while none of the equipment that it runs requires more than 100 psi. This gives us a little bit of headroom so that if there’s a temporary spike in demand, our system pressure never dips below that 100 psi mark.

In our application, a temporary dip in pressure could result in a failed part. That’s something we work hard to avoid.

However, our SDSU assessment estimated that just dropping the max pressure of our system to 100 psi could save a bit over $1,000 per year in energy costs.

So, we’ve started to look at other solutions to maintain that headroom, with a slightly lower pressure. We haven’t completed the implementation process, but we’re moving toward adding a reserve pressure tank to our system. That will allow us to maintain pressure over spikes in demand, while earning the energy-savings benefits of an overall slightly lower system pressure.


Recommendations We Didn’t Take: Switching to Electric Tools and Brooms

Our report gave two recommendations that made sense on paper, but not for our production process.

First, the report recommended that we switch from air-powered to electric tools. Our experience is that electric tools simply can’t keep up with the power and durability of pneumatic tools in our environment. The estimated $2,400 in annual electric savings won’t make up for the loss of performance and durability.

The report also recommended that instead of having our workers clean off products, equipment and work areas with air guns, we provide them with brooms to perform the same task. In our opinion, the $1,300 in estimated savings isn’t worth the decreases in productivity and worker satisfaction.


Our Results

In all, our audit from SDSU found just over $17K in potential energy savings, with about $22K in improvement costs. The reality of our lighting options changed that math a bit, but by rolling in some maintenance costs and implementing the auditors’ recommendations over time, we expect that we’ll eventually see about $10K in energy savings, with an improvement cost that’s not too far off their initial estimates.

For a large-scale manufacturing operation like ours, that may not seem like huge savings, but over time — say, a period of three, five or 10 years — I can certainly think of things that I’d rather do with $30,000, $50,000 or $100,000 than just feed it back to the electric company.


Tools for Building Efficiency in Your Plant

While not every manufacturing plant has access to the same PhD-level audit that we did, you still have plenty of tools for increasing efficiency.

Here’s a list of resources that I’d recommend for finding and improving efficiency:


Lighting Contractor Association Searches

Our biggest energy-savings opportunity was in improving the efficiency of our lighting. There are two national organizations that focus on certification and training in this area: the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the National Association of Lighting Management Companies (NALMCO). NALMCO is smaller but more focused on lighting, while NECA is larger but allows you to search for contractors who specialize in lighting or efficiency.


Energy Star’s Industrial Energy Management Tools

Energy Star, the government’s energy-efficiency program, offers a range of specific tools targeted at manufacturers. These can range from certifications and recognition to tools, rebates and incentives. Industrial Assessment Centers

Our SDSU audit came out of a government program that funds Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) at schools across the country. You can check to see if there’s an IAC near you that could perform the same type of audit that we had, and find relevant data from audits like ours performed at a variety of industrial facilities around the country.


Your Utility

Electrical utilities are typically required, by law, to operate energy-efficiency programs. Many times, these rebates can pay for part or even all of the upgrade costs of new efficiency measures. It’s definitely worth reaching out to your utility to see what programs and incentives they offer that might be applicable to your facility.


Committed to Smarter Practices

We may have been in business for over 70 years, but that doesn’t make us old-school. Every item Ray Products produces is created in an efficient, state-of-the-art thermoforming facility, and we plan to keep it that way. As technologies progress to make manufacturing plants and equipment more efficient, you can rest assured that we will too. It’s simply good sense.


Ontario Plastics Manufacturer Celebrates 70 Years

Inside The Factory

1949 groundbreaking ceremony for Ray Products

On the last Saturday of March, family, friends, and current and past employees of Ontario-based plastics manufacturer Ray Products gathered at a microbrewery in Upland to celebrate the last 70 years.

Brian Ray, current company President and grandson of the company’s founder, was in attendance with his family, trading memories and jokes with employees and friends at the celebration.

“The average life span of a company is about 15 years,” said Ray. “So I think our 70th anniversary is definitely worth celebrating.”

The company was founded by Allen Ray on April 1, 1949, in a 1,000 sq. ft. shop. Today, Ray Products operates a 48,000 sq. ft. facility in Ontario, CA, equipped with the best available thermoforming technology. The high-quality customized plastic parts that Ray Products produces are used in a wide range of industries, including medical equipment, transportation, green energy, automotive, building and construction, and recreational equipment.

In honor of its 70th, the company commissioned a special bottling named “Loyalty Lager” from Upland microbrewery Last Name Brewing. It was a natural fit, then, to host the anniversary party at the brewery.

On Saturday, some guests swapped stories while enjoying signature sandwiches and burgers from the Big Easy Sandwich food truck. Others enjoyed funny-money gambling tables or took tours of the brewery, while the younger set quite literally bounced off the walls of a bouncy castle.

In between bites, Ray offered his theories on the family-owned manufacturer’s longevity.

“It’s a balance of two things,” said Ray. “On the one hand, we regularly invest millions in the latest advanced thermoforming technology so that we can offer our customers the absolute latest and best. On the other hand, we really value the traditional ways of doing business.”

“We want to do business ‘the right way.’ We respect our customers and partners and the skills of our employees. It’s why our employees stay with us for 10, 20, and sometimes even 50 years.”

In an op-ed he penned last summer, Ray defined three key points of doing business the right way: delivering a quality product, operating as a fair employer and being a reliable partner.

At Saturday’s celebration, the results of that philosophy were clearly visible: hundreds of guests with smiles on their faces, celebrating a company with a 70-year history and no signs of slowing down.


About Ray Products

Ray Products has been manufacturing high-quality 3D thermoformed plastic parts since 1949. Located in Ontario, California, Ray Products uses the most advanced machinery and materials in the business to create custom plastic pieces used in medical equipment, transportation, green energy, automotive, building and construction, recreational equipment, and more.

A Story 70 Years in the Making


On April 1, 1949, Allen Ray and his wife, Peggy, opened the doors of Ray Products in Alhambra. At the time, Ray Products was a 1,000 sq. ft. custom fabrication shop that produced plastic baby bassinets. Why plastic baby bassinets? Allen had posited—correctly, as it turns out—that clear plastic bassinets would make it easier for hospital staff to monitor many newborn babies at once.

If Allen and Peggy came back today, they might be surprised by what Ray Products has become over the last seven decades. Almost 50 of their original workshops could fit in our current 48,000 sq. ft. manufacturing space in Ontario. I can’t imagine what they’d think of our 6-axis robotic trimmers, but I know they’d appreciate our state-of-the-art thermoforming equipment that enables us to produce high-quality, customized plastic parts used worldwide in industries like medical devices, transportation, green energy, automotive, building and construction, and recreational equipment.

I’m also confident they’d recognize the qualities that earned them success all those decades ago: innovation, perseverance, and a fierce commitment to doing things the right way. They’d see and deeply appreciate employees who give us their best—staying with us for 10, 20 and sometimes even 50 years. They’d be delighted to discover how many of our customers and suppliers know the value of a handshake, know quality when they see it, and make a point to invest in our country by seeking out domestic manufacturing partners like us.

I’m also pretty certain they’d be unspeakably proud. After all, 70 years for a small, family-owned business is no small feat. And while good old-fashioned luck certainly played a role, I genuinely believe our success is no accident. We owe this milestone to:

  • Allen and Peggy Ray, who founded this company with the values that still propel us today.
  • Their son Bruce, who led the company through 20 years of incredible growth with determination and gumption.
  • The dedicated employees who have given us their time, talent and hard work.
  • The customers and partners who have given us the opportunity to earn—and keep—their trust and support.
  • A commitment to innovation and a near-pathological obsession with getting it right (or so I’m told).

Here’s to the next 70.

Brian Ray

2018 Plastics Manufacturing Survey Results: U.S. Manufacturing Still Strong, More Processes Used Than Ever Before, Growth Predicted


The results of our fifth annual plastics manufacturing industry survey are in! We shared our survey with thousands of people in the plastics manufacturing industry, and after compiling and analyzing the results, we’re ready to take a look at where we’ve been and, even more importantly, where we’re headed.

The Executive Summary

Don’t have time to read the full report? Here are some of our most significant findings:

  • 23% of respondents expect growth in the next 12 months, but a majority (57%) expect little or no change
  • 65% of plastics manufacturing is U.S.-based—slightly lower than last year (68%) but still higher than 2016 (54%)
  • Process diversity continues to increase; customers are using more manufacturing processes than ever since we started the survey
  • 100% recyclability continues to decrease in importance
  • Quality and cost are the biggest challenges facing customers

Who We Surveyed and Why

The goal of this survey is to get insight from a wide, representative group of people who use plastics manufacturing regularly as part of their work. We distributed this survey to manufacturing-related tradeshow attendees, relevant publication readers, and a network of industry contacts. They are engineers, manufacturers, administrators, designers and more, and they represent a wide range of industries, including medical device manufacturing, industrial design, industrial, contract manufacturing, and transportation.

If you’re a good candidate for this survey and didn’t have a chance to take it, let us know, and we’ll make sure you’re invited to next year’s survey.

Respondents By Industry


Respondents By Field

Engineers are always highly represented in our survey, and this year was no exception.


Plastics Manufacturers Expect Some Growth


Domestic Plastics Manufacturing Still Strong Despite Slight Dip

This year, survey takers reported a 3% dip in the amount of plastics manufacturing that happens on our shores.


Process Popularity Index Update

Vacuum and pressure forming take a dip, which is surprising given the high response rates of medical device manufacturers; thermoforming is ideal for this market. It’s clear that as an industry, we need to raise awareness about the capabilities and benefits of thermoforming.


Process Diversity Increases

Just like last year, we saw another increase in the number of processes each customer uses. There’s no “one size fits all” in plastics manufacturing, so it’s good to see people picking the right process for them.


Is Recycling No Longer a Priority?

Recyclability registered as the lowest ever priority since we started the survey.


Cost & Quality Are The Biggest Challenges Plastics Manufacturing Customers Face

When asked about their biggest challenges, respondents reported total project cost and part-to-part repeatability as the top two qualities. A key takeaway here is a need to educate customers about pressure forming, which offers excellent repeatability, and often lowers overall costs.


Nothing Matters More than Quality

We asked about survey takers’ priorities a few different ways, but no matter how we asked, quality (or things that indicate quality) were always ranked #1. This has been true every year we’ve run the survey.


Our Take

This survey is just 5 years old, but we’ve been around for a lot longer; in fact, 2019 is our 70th anniversary. In general, these findings tend to confirm what we already know from personal experience: plastics manufacturing customers want quality, the right process for the job, affordability, and they go domestic when they can.

As a plastics manufacturer, we use this survey as a way to gauge what our customers know and don’t know—and how we can help them make the right choice for their next project, whether the right choice is Ray Products or another manufacturer.

We are so grateful to everyone who took the time to take the survey. As always, if you have a project that you think might be a good fit for us (or you need help determining what you’re looking for), don’t hesitate to reach out—we’d love to help you out.



Thermoforming Precision & Quality, ISO 9001 Certification

Business | Plastics Manufacturing

Quality control

We’ve been told a couple of times that we’re “obsessive” about thermoforming quality – and we couldn’t agree more. It’s something we’re proud of because that obsessive attention to detail is what sets us apart from our competitors. Our customers know that they can rely on the quality and precision of every product that comes out of our doors.

So how do we guarantee this quality? First of all, we are committed to investing in state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Second, we continually verify the performance of that equipment and technology using measuring techniques that are accurate to within one ten-thousandth of an inch.

But you don’t have to take our word for it –we’re a fully ISO 9001:2015 certified manufacturing facility. What does that mean, exactly? Great question.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a non-governmental organization with 162 different members, each from a different country. Every member organization represents national standards for their country. The ISO was created to bring together leading experts around the world to collaborate and develop consensus-based international standards to ensure quality, safety, and efficiency across every industry.

The ISO 9001:2015 is for quality management systems, and in order to receive certification, a company needs to demonstrate two things:

  • The ability to consistently produce products and services that satisfy customer expectations as well as regulatory/statutory requirements
  • A demonstrated commitment to improving customer satisfaction through effective application and improvement of the system

We recently received our ISO certification (see it here), and are delighted that our obsession for detail is now internationally recognized. We can’t think of a higher compliment.

A 50-Year Milestone

Inside The Factory

Hector Noriega 1968 - outside Ray Products

1968 was an important year in our country. It was a year of triumphant feats: the introduction of the first 747, the installation of the first ATM, the orbiting of the moon – and devastating losses with the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

Hector Noriega 1968 - inside Ray ProductsIn 1968, a postage stamp cost 5¢, a gallon of gas cost 34¢, a dozen eggs went for 53¢ and a gallon of milk was $1.07. That year, Ray Products was closing in on 20 years in business, with founder Allen Ray at the helm.

1968 is also the year Hector Noriega arrived at Ray Products for his first day of work on October 30. And 50 years later, on October 30, 2018, Hector retired.

Staying at one company for 50 years is an incredible accomplishment – but we consider ourselves the lucky ones. Our current CEO Brian Ray remembers meeting Hector years ago, long before Brian took over the company.

“I have vivid childhood memories of Hector running machines, forming parts and always being able to fix anything no matter how broken it was.”

Hector’s loyalty and attention to detail – both on and off the factory floor – have made him an excellent employee, colleague and friend.

“Years ago, large groups of employees would go fishing on the weekends,” Brian recalls. “I have great memories of driving down to San Diego with Hector on a Friday night and being ready to fish early Saturday morning. I was always one of the youngest on the boat, and Hector would always make sure that my hook was tied, bait was on and my line was in the water, and that I didn’t get pushed out of the way. But when the fish were biting, I was on my own, because Hector was there to catch fish! I don’t blame him, because there’s nothing better than returning home Saturday night with a sack full of fish and great fishing stories.”

Hector Noriega and Brian RayWe’ll miss Hector, but we’re excited for him and hope he gets to enjoy his retirement for many years to come  – with plenty of fishing trips, visits to Mexico, and time with family and friends.

Hector is actually our second employee to celebrate 50 years with us, and we feel extremely fortunate to have worked with him for 50 years. The commitment and work ethic of employees like Hector is one of the main reasons behind our evolution from a company that produced plastic baby bassinets to a leading thermoforming expert that makes plastic parts used around the world across a wide range of industries, from retail to medical devices to automotive and aerospace.

Awarded Silver at Plastics Engineers’ Thermoforming Conference


Ray Products wins silver award

Last month, the Society of Plastics Engineers’ held their annual Thermoforming Conference, where clients, vendors and industry leaders come together for innovative and informative thermoforming workshops and sessions.

One of the best parts of the event is the Parts Competition, which showcases the latest advances in thermoforming design and applications. The best parts receive awards, and we were thrilled to win a silver award this year for a multi-part medical device we made for a client in southern California.

A bit more about the (award-winning, sorry we had to) part:

After developing prototypes that used urethane casting to create the enclosure panels, a medical device manufacturer client was ready to move to mid-scale production. But they quickly realized that the urethane casting process would mean limited manufacturing capacity, high cost per part and could yield issues with consistency from part to part. We had a solution: pressure forming.

By switching from urethane casting to pressure forming, our client was able to significantly lower costs, improve manufacturing speed, increase durability and guarantee part-to-part repeatability while simultaneously planning for future increases in demand and capacity.

We worked closely with the client to reduce the total number of losses, adding in undercut features for rigidity and improved fit, and making other alterations to lower manufacturing and assembly costs and improving aesthetics.

We’re grateful for the recognition (including the shout out in Plastics News) and are gunning for the gold next year!

Trade Shows the Right Way

Trade Shows

Design2Part Trade Show Long Beach 2018

By Jason Middleton

Design2Part Trade Show Long Beach 2018We just got back from a fantastic Design-2-Part show in Long Beach, California. We had great conversations with many potential clients, and we weren’t alone; Chris Davis, VP of Trade Shows at the Job Shop Company, said that this year’s Long Beach show was the largest attended Southern California D2P show they’ve had since 2000.

“It’s significant that this show was so well attended, because the manufacturing industry is booming right now, and people are busy,” Chris noted. “The fact that so many people attended—especially when there were people who wanted to but couldn’t get away—means the people who were there were really motivated to make connections and do business.”

These days, it’s easier than ever to conduct business remotely—the internet allows for communication that is instantaneous and effortless. But for us, this show was an important reminder that while the internet age has brought us more technology and efficiency than we could have imagined, nothing replaces face to face interaction.

At Long Beach, we had the opportunity to talk directly to engineers and decision makers with purchasing power. We were able to show the actual thermoformed plastic parts we’d made, and we could talk through their projects and how we could help—right there on the show floor.

And as Chris points out, the benefits go both ways. “For engineers and decision makers, D2P gives them the opportunity to chat with the real experts—including company owners, presidents, CEOs. In one conversation, they can troubleshoot, discuss multiple options or scenarios, look at parts together—those are difficult things to do effectively and efficiently on email or the phone. But here, they can find a partner or vendor they trust and set the groundwork for their next project in the space of a couple of hours.”

Thanks to everyone at D2P for a great show! We’re grateful to have partners like you in this business and look forward to seeing you at the next show.


What to Do in Long Beach (AKA Our Backyard)

Trade Shows

Long Beach, California skyline at sunset

We love getting to meet with engineers, designers and manufacturers at Design-2-Part shows around the country. But we look forward to the Southern California D2P show every year because it’s in Long Beach, which is practically our backyard. (If, you know, the Pacific Ocean could be a backyard.)

If you’ll be in town on September 12th and 13th, here are our recommendations for what not to miss.

  1. Check out the waterfront. Long Beach is where city meets resort, and the waterfront is the perfect place to experience the best of both worlds. Stroll along Shoreline Park and admire the boats in the harbor, visit the lighthouse, and poke around the fun and unique shops of Shoreline Village.
  1. Get out, in or under the water. Don’t miss the world-renowned Aquarium of the Pacific. With over 11,000 animals in more than 50 exhibits, the aquarium recreates many of the Pacific’s unique ecosystems. If you want to see marine life in the wild, consider a whale watch. And if you’re extending your stay and have some extra time on your hands, take the Catalina Express out to the Catalina Island, a breathtaking destination 22 miles off the coast.
  1. Visit the Queen Mary. Built in the 1930s and retired in 1967, the historic Queen Mary is an ocean liner-turned-hotel permanently docked in Long Beach. Whether you book a stay or just drop by for a drink, meal, tour or special event, the Queen Mary is a must-see.
  1. Grab a bite to eat. There are many dining options near the Long Beach Convention Center, so you’re bound to find something right up your alley. For breakfast or a light bite, we love Crème de la Crepe. For lunch, the sandwiches at the family-owned Modica’s Deli are excellent. In the mood for a delicious meal with a gorgeous view? Check out Parkers’ Lighthouse.
  1. Come say hi. We’ll be at Booth #143 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday the 12th and from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Thursday the 13th. Come find us, say hi and let us know what you’re working on right now. We’d love to tell you a bit about thermoforming and what our custom-manufactured plastics can do for you.

Register here if you haven’t already. We hope to see you there


Doing Business the Right Way


By Brian Ray

Brian Ray of Ray ProductsWe’re fast approaching our 70th year in business here at Ray Products. As I take stock of where we started, where we are today and the future, I’m astounded by how much the world has changed. Globally, our technological capabilities have grown exponentially – enabling businesses like ours to better serve our customers, employees and investors.

But Ray Products was in business long before the technological boom of the nineties and aughts, and will continue to be, thanks to a philosophy that began with my grandfather: the importance of doing business the right way.

One of the most revolutionary changes to come out of the internet and social media age is access. We are exposed to the thoughts and practices of world-famous CEOs and thought leaders in real time. On the one hand, this is invaluable: We have unfiltered access to the minds of some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. The downside is that this sometimes leads to a skewed perspective: the idea that a business or company is equivalent to its founder or leader, rather than the sum of its parts. This is particularly worrying when the CEO is a larger-than-life celebrity figure whose immediate focus is short-term profits.

In reality, a successful business is built on a foundation of many people: employees, investors, suppliers, customers. And while a cutthroat and ambitious CEO can certainly propel a company into enormous wealth in the short term, that by no means guarantees longevity. Whether or not a company prides itself on doing business the right way is a much better indicator of long-term success.

So what exactly do I mean by doing business “the right way”? A few different things:

  • Quality Product: Building your business around a product or service that people need – and doing it well.
  • Fair Employer: Treating your employees with respect, creating a safe and productive work environment, and compensating fairly – while simultaneously holding them to reasonable standards.
  • Reliable Partner: Establishing solid relationships with partners and suppliers based on trust and mutual respect.

Of course, at the end of the day, a business is a business – and the company’s bottom line is the highest priority. But once any of these pillars crumbles entirely in deference to profits, the collapse of the business as a whole is almost inevitable.

As BusinessInsider (BI) noted earlier this year, many U.S.-based companies have, over the last few decades, begun to equate long-term success with maximizing short-term profit for shareholders. In its “Better Capitalism” series, BI makes a compelling argument for more ethical business practices, not simply because it’s the right thing to do (which it is), but also because it’s better for the economy.

Indeed, from prioritizing the well-being of employees to putting an emphasis on valuing employees, customers and communities, some of the most successful companies in the world – Google, In-N-Out, St. Jude’s, AT&T, P&G, Nike – are doing business the right way.

Ray Products was founded in 1949, nearly half a century before the internet age. At the time, Ray Products’ primary output was plastic baby bassinets. Today, we manufacture a wide range of thermoformed plastic parts for many industries, including medical equipment, transportation, green energy, automotive, building & construction and recreational equipment.

But over the years, our commitment to our customers, employees and partners has never wavered – nor will it. By continuing to invest in technology, our customers, partners and employees, we easily have another 70 years ahead of us.

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