Checking in with a Leadtime Leader

MMT's 2014 Leadtime Leader Honorable Mention Aalbers Tool & Mold, continues with the growth strategy that helped it nabbed the title last year with $1 million in support from the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund to be used for equipment and training investment.
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Ontario, Canada-based Aalbers Tool & Mold continues with the growth strategy that helped it nabbed the Leadtime Leader honorable mention title last year with $1 million in support from the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund  to be used for equipment and training investment.

Here is a brief Q&A with Toni Hansen, President of Aablers Tool & Mold:

MMT: How did Aalbers obtain this grant?

Toni Hansen: "We take time to review all government programs that are available for our area of business. One being grants for capital equipment purchases, subsidies for employee training and research and development.  They are available to all. You simply need to apply, but most importantly, have a solid business plan to support your request."

MMT: You say Aalbers plans to create 33 new jobs, what positions?  

Toni Hansen: "We will be hiring experienced designers, CNC machinists, moldmakers, as well as trainees for these positions."

MMT:  What specific types of new state-of-the-art equipment do you plan to invest in and why?

Toni Hansen: "We will be purchasing  larger high-speed five-axis CNC machines as well larger CNC EDMs, horizontal machining centres and boring mills, in order to increase the capacity of our manufacturing base, both in size and capacity. Also, we will be investing heavily in automated processes, such as robotic loading of machines, in order to keep the machines operating longer, with less downtime."

MMT: How will your employee training change as a result of this grant?

Toni Hansen: "We currently train, and have trained, internally since we started the business, but we want to be able to set up a specific training area for all departments within Aalbers. This will help us train to our specific needs and processes."

MMT:  You mentioned that Aalbers is planning a $10-million investment in equipment and training over the next five years. Can you explain that plan?

Toni Hansen: "The plan is to spend approximately $2 million each year on new machinery, along with whatever is required for software, tooling and auxiliary equipment. This will give us the time to make sure each piece is set up properly, cutting efficiently and our operators are properly trained to keep the equipment cutting at optimum speed and efficiency."