Becky McMorrow, Marketing Manager at Davies Molding

Marketing Manager at Davies Molding
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The Impact of 3-D Printing on Custom Plastic Molding

Posted by Becky McMorrow, Marketing Manager at Davies Molding

Jan 15, 2014 9:00:00 AM

How does 3-D printing technology affect an 80 year old plastic knob and custom plastic parts manufacturer?  That was one of the questions that was asked to Derran Smith, President of Davies Molding, in a recent interview on CEO Intronet.

“The advancements in 3-D printing is growing everyday,” said Derran in the interview. “It can help our customers build and tweak a finished product to the exact point where they know it is going to work before we invest in cutting significant tools steel, which saves everyone time and money.”

metal-to-plastic-part-conversion3-D printing prototypes are often very helpful when converting a metal part to plastic.  Plastic parts are dent-resistant and lighter, and utilizing 3-D printing to prepare the prototypes allows the conversion process to move faster. Davies Molding has manufactured several metal to plastic conversion parts for the food service, commercial HVAC, and automotive industries.  Details of these projects can be found in our custom molding portfolio.

Want to learn more about metal to plastic conversions?  Download our free ebook “The metal to plastic conversion guide to reducing costs”


View Derran Smith’s complete interview below or click here.

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Topics: Custom Molding

The New Trend in Industrial Shift Knobs

Posted by Becky McMorrow, Marketing Manager at Davies Molding

Jan 2, 2014 9:51:35 AM

Shifter knobs can be found in vehicles, cranes, tractors, and other types of machinery where manipulating gears are required. Davies’ shifter knobs can be customized to meet specific requirements such as operating instructions or customer logos. Secondary operations include laser engraving, pad printing, or hot stamping, applying inlays or mylars, color matching, drilling, machining, and a new finishing trend- hydrographic printing.

decorative-finish-industrial-shift-knobsHydrographic printing is a popular trend for adding customizable designs, colors, and textures to shift knobs.  As you might have guessed, it's a water-based printing process and a  high gloss polyurethane hydrographics clearcoat makes the printing durable and long-lasting.

 Spectrum Industries, does a good job of describing the process in 6 easy steps.

1) Parts are loaded onto custom tooling.

2) Parts are prepped by washing or painting.

3) Parts are dried.

4) Parts are dipped in the hydrographic printing bath.

5) Top coat is applied based on the application for the part.  Exterior and Interior durability options.

6) Parts are inspected before shipping.

Check out this neat video of how hydrographic printing works.

Plastic knobs designed for heavy equipment and industrial use are available in a wide range of sizes, but the most popular are ball and lever knobs.  Our ball and lever knobs come in a variety of styles and sizes and are available in phenolic, nylon, or polypropylene. Phenolic materials are typcially stonger that thermoplastics like nylon, and are a popular choice for durable, long-lastic shifter knobs.  However, thermoplastic materials such as nylon have a high impact strength, and can be molded into just about any color you can dream up.  And now with hydrographic printing, you can choose the material you want and add a customizable finish that makes it yours.  Want more information?  Check out our hydrographic printing info page or call us at 1-800-554-9208.

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Topics: Plastic Knob Insert Molding, Custom Molding

Barb Hanson, recognized for 45 years of service at Davies Molding

Posted by Becky McMorrow, Marketing Manager at Davies Molding

Dec 20, 2013 11:09:35 AM



It was an extra-special celebration at our holiday luncheon this year.  The food was pretty good,  the speeches were encouraging, but the annual employee anniversary awards were downright awe-inspiring.   15 and even 20 years of service seems relatively common in the manufacturing world, but 30 and 45? That is true dedication. Davies Molding has been molding custom plastic parts for over 80 years, and we attribute a large part of our success to the dedication of employees like Barb Hanson, who celebrated her 45 year anniversary, and Carol Cimino, who celebrated her 30 year anniversary.   Here is a list of all of the employees that celebrated their anniversaries - Congratulations!

45 yrs:          Barbara J. Hanson 

30 yrs:          Carol A. Cimino


20 yrs:           Arturo Ballines

                        Brian D. Dady

                        Kevin O’Brien

                        Lan T. Tran

                        Rick C. Friel


15 yrs:           Ramon Rivera

                        Raquel Forte

                        Zivko Golub


 10 yrs:           Mark Pelnar



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Daka-ware: a brief history of Industrial Knobs

Posted by Becky McMorrow, Marketing Manager at Davies Molding

Dec 12, 2013 9:47:25 AM

We recently received an email from a history buff inquiring about the brand name Daka-ware and how it's related to Bake-lite, another name brand in the plastic molding industry.  In his email, the history buff explained that "Daka-ware is a common search on search engines but there's no real official answer". So we created this blog post to help fill in some of the gaps of this topic and provide a (hopefully) helpful "official" answer.  

vintage-catalog-cvr_50sIn my discussions with Derran Smith, president of Davies Molding, he explained it this way: Dakaware was a trade name used by Davies Molding in the 1960s for a line of compression molded phenolic knobs, handles, and ashtrays. We still have tools that have the Daka-ware name on them, and we have a few hundred of the Dakware ashtrays in stock (available for purchase!).  See the vintage catalog on the left and on the right, a picture of a "vintage" looking daka-ware control knob. dakaware-knob

Bakelite, on the other hand, is a brand name of a specifically formulated phenolic material created by a Belgium chemist and has been recognized as the first synthetic plastic by the American Chemical Society (according to the Bakelite wikipedia page) But similar to the Kleenex brand, the Bakelite name became genericized, and was used throughout the plastic molding industry to describe all phenolic material regardless of the brand, much like how we use kleenex to describe all facial tissues. Check out the picture of The Harry Davies Company (now Davies Molding) with Bakelite, along with other brands of plastic molding material, advertised outside its doors. Harry_Davies_Molding_Company

Interested in more history on Davies Molding?  Check out some of these links: 

Interview with Derran Smith, President of Davies Molding:

Infographic on Davies Molding History:


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Topics: History of Davies Molding

Custom Molding: Choosing the right material for your plastic knob or handle

Posted by Becky McMorrow, Marketing Manager at Davies Molding

Dec 5, 2013 7:44:03 AM

Nothing is more important than choosing the right material for your plastic knob or handle.  Careful consideration of the end user and application can save time and money in the long-run.  Don’t know where to start?  Here is list of materials and their applications to get you started.  Talk to our highly trained technical sales and engineering staff if you have questions.  We work with hundreds of various materials and constantly reviewing new materials as they come on the market. 




Applications and Uses


Extremely rigid, high melting point, high strength, good frictional properties, resistance to fatigue

Gears, bearings, bushings, cams, housings, conveyors, plumbing fixtures, gas tank caps, automotive door handles, seat belt components, and zippers


Exceptional resistance to long-term exposure to sunlight and weathering, outstanding clarity, good light transmission

Swimming pools, skylights, sinks, washbasins, room dividers, and the tail lights on automobiles

Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS)

Outstanding impact strength and high mechanical strength, great as a substrate for metalizing

Appliances, automotive parts, pipe, business machines, telephone components, shower heads, door handles, faucet handles, and automotive front grilles


Known for their stability and adaptability

Automotive parts, electrical and electronic applications, and packaging


Exceptional mechanical, thermal and chemical resistant properties

Aerospace, heavy equipment, and automotive


Known for its strength, toughness, chemical resistance, and high melting points

Automotive, appliances, electrical and electronic applications, ovenware, and outdoor lighting

Thermoset Materials



Applications and Uses


Excellent heat resistance, dimensionally stable under components,excellent dielectric strength

Electrical applications like circuit breaker insulation, switchgear, cases, housings, capacitor and resistor encapsulation, automotive parts, and coatings

BMC (Bulk Molding Compound)

Highly rigid, impact resistant, exceptional physical and aesthetic properties, high strength-to-weight ratio

Appliance parts, electric and electrical components, HVAC components, industrial light housings, automotive, recessed lighting baffles

Diallyl Phthalate (DAP)

Virtually no post-mold shrinkage, high impact resistance, resistant to sudden and extreme jolts and severe stresses, recommended for very high temperatures, chemical resistant, fungus resistant

Cross-linking agent, thermosetting molding powders, casting resins, and laminates, military, electronic components


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Topics: Custom Molding

Top 3 Trends in Industrial Pull Handles

Posted by Becky McMorrow, Marketing Manager at Davies Molding

Nov 26, 2013 9:49:11 AM

Our 4570 Soft Touch Handle is showing up more in more in new industrial applications.  Here are the top 3 trends in industrial pull handles that's driving the success:


1)  Material- Thermoplastic Overmold.  This material provides a soft feel and touch that allows a better grip and long-lasting comfort.

2)  Color!  So long boring black.  Check out the picture of some of the colors in the assortment.

3) Style.  "Design with function" is not just a term that fancy product designers use- it's how we describe the 4570 industrial handle. Customizing the color allows you to differenciate your product and feature unique details in your application.

Check out some 4570 Application Highlights:



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Topics: Industrial Handles

3 FABTECH Takeaways from Davies Molding

Posted by Becky McMorrow, Marketing Manager at Davies Molding

Nov 26, 2013 8:10:00 AM

Luckily Davies Molding is close to Chicago, so I get to take a few hours out of my work day to go down to manufacturing shows at McCormick Place and check out some cool new stuff in manufacturing.  On Thursday I visited FABTECH to see what's new in the welding and fabrication world.  Here are my 3 takeaways from the event:

  1. Lincoln Electric's Welding Simulator.  Except for a few embarrassing minutes of trying to figure out how to put the welding helmut/mask on, I thoroughly enjoyed my hand at welding in the simulater truck from Lincoln Electric.  I was thrilled when the instructor told me my score- 65 and commented "not bad for a beginner".  Here's the video link:  knurled-soft-touch-knobs
  2. Cool new Davies Molding plastic knobs on welding machines.  They're soft touch overmold knurled control knobs and they look great on these machines, don't they?
  3. Terrific Tradeshow Swag. Thanks to generous vendors, I came back to the office with a bag of goodies, from "Keep it made in America" key chains to nifty tote bags for my coworkers. But my prize "swag" from the show was a metal hanger from Swagelok -2 pieces of the hanger was welded together at its booth in a demo. That one I gave to my boss, of course.
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Topics: Control Knobs

Custom Knobs: just like Burger King- we make them your way!

Posted by Becky McMorrow, Marketing Manager at Davies Molding

Nov 13, 2013 7:37:55 AM

Having the right color part is very important for many applications that require knobs, either because it is functional, industry or product specific, or for appearance. The standard color for phenolic material is black. Other colors are available, but usually cost more. Red is the second most popular phenolic knob color, typically used for ball or lever knobs.  phenolic-balls

Unlike thermoset phenolic, thermoplastic materials have a very wide range of available colors. In many cases you can match your color target exactly to a PMS number.



In addition to color, knobs can be customized with a variety of finishes.  One of the most popular finishes is laser engraving, and then pad printing, for adding instructions or a logo to your knob.  At Davies Molding, we have over 80 years of experience making custom knobs for companies in a wide range of industries.  We will be happy to assist you in choosing the right finish for your application. Contact one of our experienced account representatives at 1-800-554-9208, who will be happy to assist you with your knob needs!

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Topics: Custom Molding

Custom Plastic Molding for Valve Controls

Posted by Becky McMorrow, Marketing Manager at Davies Molding

Nov 8, 2013 5:00:00 AM

There are a variety of plastic knobs that are particularly suited for manual valve controls.  “T” or Bar knobs are the most popular plastic knobs used for manual valve control applications. Here are examples of different shapes of bar knobs available.  


Options for custom molding your Bar or T Knobs include:
  • Variety of thermoplastic and phenolic materials
  • Sizes ranging from 1-1/32” to 3-3/8” in diameter
  • Female insert, projecting stud and thru-hole options. 
  • Knobs can be decorated  or branded to your specific need.

Contact Davies Molding for a free sample or call us at 1-800-554-9208 to discuss your custom molding needs.

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Topics: Custom Molding

Using Threaded Knobs for Maximum Torque Strength

Posted by Becky McMorrow, Marketing Manager at Davies Molding

Nov 6, 2013 7:40:23 AM

threaded-knobDavies Molding specializes in loading inserts (threaded fasteners) directly into components as plastic solidifies around the mounting. This process maximizes torque strength for demanding requirements. We stock thousands of inserts to minimize lead times, including both screw-machined parts and cold-headed studs. For food service equipment manufacturers, we stock stainless steel inserts that are FDA approved.  Here is a list of the 6 most popular inserts:


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Topics: Threaded Knobs

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