High-speed machining and the like have really become an impetus for moldmaking shops of late, and a measuring tool of sorts when it comes to distinguishing the industry "big boys." The advances are such that talking about them is one thing that pretty much everyone is doing. But actually doing them has been quite another - a practice found few and far between.
The folks at King Systems, formerly known as Model Mold and Machine, of Indianapolis, IN, however, are so convinced that "doing" is an inflexible imperative, that they rather prefer it to the "talking." And that mentality is taking its place within an industry that rewards mold shops for being technologically advanced.
Not only has the name changed, but so has the company itself. The company has evolved from a "garage shop" started in 1949 by the late Paul Yeagley into an accomplished design and manufacturing operation - providing superior tooling for the plastics industry.
Recently acquired by King Systems Corporation - one of the nation's leading manufacturers of anesthesia, respiratory and critical care products - the former Model Mold and Machine now comprises its newest division referred to at King Systems as the "Plastics Technology Division." The affiliation has already proven mutually beneficial. King Systems complements the former Model Mold and Machine with an armor of resources - financial and otherwise - whereas the latter affords King Systems a means for providing a more competent and comprehensive production capabilities menu for its elite clientele.
The King Systems, Plastic Technology Division's customer base - strategically diversified and touted as perhaps one of its more notable strengths - spans to the consumer electronics, medical, housewares, aerospace and automotive industries. Its efforts across the board have yielded some of the most ambitious and innovative plastic-related tooling the market has seen.
It boasts a most recent acquisition of no less than four CNC EDMs and is, in short, brimming with the latest technology, including multiple high-speed centers capable of machining both metal and graphite. "We cut steel fast and accurately, and have simply altered the way we build molds," says vice president of engineering Bart Burrow. "This significantly reduces our leadtimes and cost to the customer as well as enables us to compete with foreign markets."
Keeping Customers Happy
In addition to its proactive approach to technology, King Systems, Plastics Technology Division continues to stay on the cutting edge of its customer service arm as well. Its latest offering - that of mold verification in which part and mold accuracy is approved prior to job completion - is barely two years old, but is perhaps its greatest weapon in the fight for differentiating itself amidst a backdrop of all-too-similar moldmaking companies vying for notice.
"Today, our customers demand quicker lead times with proven tooling, not just molds delivered to their door," states Operations Manager Tony Burden. He adds, "Clients are definitely excited about our mold verification offering, and pretty much jump on the opportunity to eliminate additional outsourcing expenses." The customer is given the portable production parameters that they are then able to put in their own machines and run the tool under identical conditions.
"But now, when a company gives us a job, we are able to send them a production-ready tool instead of having them go through the time-consuming and costly pains of verifying it independently," says Burden.
As crucial a service as the mold verification is, however, Burden is adamant that the real key to King Systems, Plastics Technology Division's success is the teamwork inherent in its nearly 25-man crew, and the "customer is always first" mentality practiced by the company.
"Here, the management really believes that the people will do their very best work if you just let them," he explains. "It's just amazing what the toolmakers will come up with on their own to speed things up or to do their jobs better."
"We never stand still" is apparently more than a phrase at King Systems. It seems to be a recurring theme in its timeline. In fact, to that end, the Plastics Technology Division of King Systems recently moved its operations to King Systems' 120,000-square-foot facility, thereby rendering it more strategically situated with regard to physical access to the parent company's extensive resources. Both Burrow and Burden believe the move will be highly advantageous - both for those clients attracted to a smaller-size mold maker for customer service reasons, and for those inclined to see it as a cutting-edge mold maker with access to an expansive inventory of resources.
A shop with definite strategic direction and the forward mentality to match, King Systems is most certainly destined for big things.