Field Trip: Rhino Rotational Molding

modern planters

Our new Furrow modern planters are made by Rhino Rotational Molding in Maple Lake, Minnesota, located about 50 miles west of Minneapolis. The custom molding company was founded in 1996 in a garage and has grown to fill a 190,000-square-foot facility. It makes a wide range of consumer products, including dog kennels, paddleboards and coolers. The people at Rhino were kind enough to invite a group from Room & Board’s corporate office to tour their facility and see our Furrow planter in production.

Rotational molding reminds me of baking, but on a huge scale. There’s a recipe to follow, including the amount of ingredients and how long to “bake” it. To make our Furrow planters, a craftsman carefully measures and pours powdered resin, which looks like sugar, into an aluminum mold. The mold is heated to 520 degrees Fahrenheit and rotated for 45 minutes. Constant rotation on all axes ensures consistent wall thickness. The recipe also specifies how long to cool the planter before removing it from the mold. If it’s removed too early the form won’t hold and the planter will shrink; too late and the planter will stick to the mold (like the muffins I baked this morning). Finally, holes are drilled and sanded for a smooth finish.

This video gives you a peek at the process.

Photo and video by Room & Board

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