Diverse Mold Offerings Sustain Moldmaker, Secures Future Business
Pelco Tool & Mold, Inc. (Glendale Heights, IL)—a producer of close-tolerance, high-quality tools for the closure, food and beverage, personal care, and medical industries—designs and builds a plethora of molds, including, single face and stack, rotating ratchet ring (RRR), conventional unscrewing, strip, side-action, collapsible core, compression, front-loaded core, insert and prototype.
Established in 1963 by Emil Peluso, Pelco first operated out of a basement before moving the company to a small location in Lyons. Nine years later the company moved again to a 6,800 square foot facility in Broadview. In 1991, Dick Truhlar, Roger Wittersheim and Rob Suva—three moldmakers who combined have more than 100 years of moldmaking—purchased the company. In 1995 Pelco built a 16000 square foot facility in Glendale Heights, IL. In 2001, the company completed a 5,000 square foot addition.
Today, the company is 35 employees strong with sales of $13 million. Pelco’s marketing directors Joel Bianchi and Kevin Suva note that the company’s knowledgeable, skilled employees coupled with an impressive equipment list allow them to manufacture “any and all” complex components. “We add new, top-of-the-line machinery annually to keep us on the cutting edge,” Bianchi states. “In addition to our recent purchase of a second Makino high-speed machining center, we have added an additional Hurco 3+2 axis machining center and an additional Mitsubishi EDM Sinker.” These additions were brought in to handle additional work load and to allow Pelco to run components around the clock.
When Pelco purchases new equipment, the company brings in instructors from the machine manufactures to educate operators on how to maximize each machine’s capabilities. In addition, employees attend machine shows and open houses regularly.
Like many shops, the economic downturn in the years 2008 and 2009 brought challenges. In lieu of layoffs, Pelco operated with reduced hours. “This allowed us to have the resources to be prepared when jobs began to increase,” Suva points out. “It also helped us to streamline our processes, become more efficient and ultimately, become more competitive. We began to increase our interaction with our customers with customer visits to find out what they needed and wanted with their new mold builds.”
To combat the challenge of foreign competition, Pelco strove to produce higher quality tooling with part-to-part consistency and shot-to-shot repeatability. “We accomplish this by maintaining tighter tolerances with the help of internal quality inspections and an overlaying company culture of perfection,” Bianchi explains. “We also offer interchangeability between stack components and documentation of stack sizes. Other value-added services we have developed include face-to-face design reviews, engineering with fully detailed prints, personal attendance at mold start-ups and prototype samplings.”
Pelco also expanded its core competencies. “We are known for being an expert in providing round components,” Suva notes. “We wanted to expand our offerings, so we invested in our milling department by purchasing our fourth high speed machining center and adding the 3+2 machining center to produce non-round components and are currently building a lot of high-quality, non-round closures and hinged closures.”
The biggest challenge Pelco currently faces is making tough decisions on new equipment purchases and increasing the shop size with the continued uncertainty of the economic market. Bianchi points out that Pelco will continue to focus on goals of continuous improvement, consistency, high-quality tooling, innovative design, on-time delivery, communication, and complete customer satisfaction.
Another challenge is finding new talent. Suva reports the company is exploring apprenticeship options with local trade schools and attending seminars, as well as using its AMBA and TMA contacts at various trade shows. “We used help-wanted ads to recently hire four employees in the last year,” Suva comments. “We are actively seeking experienced, driven employees.” Pelco’s recent additions are experienced moldmakers from other shops.
Pelco plans to use these driven employees to explore opportunities in growing markets. “We will continue to focus our efforts in the caps/closure market and supply the big players in the industry,” Bianchi emphasizes. “We also plan to increase our focus on medical opportunities, with a goal of doubling sales in medical components, as well as continue to invest in technology and experienced personnel—along with additional support in sales and project management—to achieve these goals.”
For More Information:
Pelco Tool & Mold / (630) 871-1010
email@example.com / pelcotool.com