Minco Tool & Mold: A Complex Evolution

A niche market in complex surfaces and diversification—combined with a heavy investment in new equipment and technology—keeps this moldmaker on the map.

Back in November 1998, Dayton, Ohio based Minco Tool & Mold Inc. prided itself on providing aggressive time frames and meeting its customers’ mold delivery due dates—a principle the company continues to adhere to today, even as leadtime continued to be reduced drastically. This full-service mold manufacturer serves the appliance, automotive, medical, sporting goods, office equipment, consumer products and other markets/industries with a focus on complex surfaces integrated with mechanical actions/cams, slides, lifters, etc.

According to Minco Tool & Mold Manager of Marketing and Manufacturing, Gary Deaton, “The company’s offerings have always been pretty broad, and are now even more diversified—covering a wider range of markets, yet staying true to our core capability of working with complex surfaces; utilizing our integrated CAD/CAM system and the very latest in machining technology. We do some molds that are simpler, but they are usually part of a package; or are an extremely short delivery time. By having the capability to handle large mold packages—from complex to simple parts in aggressive timeframes and with total validation capabilities—gives us ownership of the activity and creates a distinction for us from our competition.”

 

Embracing Change

Looking back on the past decade, Deaton notes that while the company’s employee base has decreased, such practices as eliminating waste and embracing best practices along with implementation of a Total Quality Management System has allowed the company to produce the same amount of activity with fewer people. Operating 24 hours a day also helps—something the company has done since 1984. “We have to continue to be very aggressive because of pricing and delivery pressures and be more effective and properly use the processes and equipment we have purchased,” Deaton explains. If we look at revenue generated per employee, it is higher today than it was 10 years ago.”

A heavy investment in equipment also has contributed to Minco Tool’s longevity. “We average about a million dollar investment every year in new equipment,” Deaton states. “To do this is quite a feat. This is our commitment to our customer, our employees, and our future. Recently we bought a five-axis mill. This year we bought a much larger boring mill and a new gun drill. We take advantage of the advancements in standard machines and rotate equipment out and bring on the newer technology. Generally extensive automation/pallet feeders do not come into play since we primarily build one-of-a-kind, custom tools, with one or two cavities.”

A Decade of Difference

Minco Tool & Mold has diversified over the past 10 years and strengthened its position in the marketplace. Marketing and Manufacturing Manager Gary Deaton shares his views on some past and present industry hot buttons and takes a look at the next decade.

  1. Biggest industry change: Globalization and the moldmaker being responsible for product specifications.
  2. Top challenge in past 10 years: Offshoring.
  3. Top technology solution: The Internet and the evolution of CAD/CAM, computer analysis.
  4. Top business strategy solution: Speed and total ownership of activity.
  5. Best time in past 10 years: The late ‘90s.
  6. Worst time in past 10 years: 2001 and 2002.
  7. What is most remembered in mold making in the past 10 years: The push for speed, quality and low price
  8. Industry forecast for the next 10 years: Consolidation and fewer small shops—good times!

 

Continuous Improvement

As for what the next decade holds for this company, Deaton knows the company must continue to grow. “I believe our future growth will be a continuation of the many things we are doing now,” he says. “We will get better at new processes, continue to stay on top of the latest CAD/CAM developments, and keep our eyes on new cutter technologies. We are always looking at how we can do things faster and eliminate non value-added activity. In addition, we will continue to attend trade shows where we can benchmark our skills and network for new opportunities.”

The company also plans to continue promoting to keep manufacturing/moldmaking in the United States. “We are not jumping on the bandwagon of taking on activity with low-cost countries,” Deaton affirms. “We want to keep it here. I won’t say we will never do it, but our goal continues to be (despite pressure from some of our customers) on complex tooling and surfaces with a focus on speed and quality. We want to keep activity here and maintain control and ownership. We are selling our reputation with every mold we build.”

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