Diversity Is Key to Over Six Decades of Moldmaking Success
In 1945, George Carson dreamt of owning his own business. So he founded Carson Tool & Mold (Kennesaw, GA) in his garage, and hired his first employee—George Myers. Carson ran the shop until he retired in 1988 and Myers continued to build the business, passing the reins to his son David, who currently serves as president after purchasing the company in 1996.
Today, the company is much diversified in the industries it serves, which include medical/cosmetic (25 percent), packaging/closures (30 percent), automotive (25 percent), lawn and garden, and writing instruments (10 percent). Seventy-five percent of the company’s business is new mold builds; with the remaining 25 percent on engineering changes and mold repairs/refurbishment.
The 22-employee company bills itself as a full-service shop, offering product/design development, new mold builds, engineering changes and mold repair. Molds built include multi-cavity (up to 128 cavities with fully interchangeable components), two-hot, insert, stack, gas assist shuttle and compression/thermoset. “We work directly with OEMs,” Carson explains. “The typical process for our core customers is they get us involved from the start. As an example, for one of our packaging customers, we reviewed product design for moldablity, then we built a unit tool (prototype mold with the same core/cavity steel, water cooling, injection point and ejection system that we would have in a mass production mold to prove out part and mold function before the mass production mold is built.”
Over the Years
Carson Tool has come a long way since its days in the garage. The company takes up two buildings with a total of 24,000 square feet—all filled with the latest in machine tool technology and software—which includes Makino and Dynamic International high speed mills, Makino sinker EDMs, Sodick wire machines, a graphite mill with System 3R robot, Pro-E CAD and Cimatron CAM .
According to Myers, the company’s main strength is its diversification versus having a niche. The variety of molds it builds for the numerous aforementioned industries helps Carson Tool survive tough industry challenges like overseas competition. In addition, Myers notes that investing in the latest technology and equipment helps. “It keeps us efficient to keep costs down,” he notes, “and keeps our deliveries competitive globally.”
“We use automation between machines to run lights-out and utilize the maximum capacity (throughput) of your machines,” he states. “We also have been fortunate to have employees be receptive and accept—and tackle—the never-ending challenges in this industry to make the necessary adjustments needed to stay competitive and maintain Carson Tool’s standards and quality of work. As soon as we have figured out how to mold something, we are presented with another challenge. One thing about being a custom shop, it is always interesting.”
Speaking of its employees, Myers makes sure his employees are cross-trained in each department with on-site training programs and attend webinars and trade shows throughout the year to keep on top of the latest technology, particularly in software—as Myers notes it is constantly evolving. He cites good pay, benefits and a challenging work environment because of the diversity in molds the company builds as reasons he has retained dedicated employees—many with the company more than 15 years. To attract new talent, Carson Tool works with local high school vocational programs and technical schools to educate the students on the moldmaking industry by speaking at the schools and advising the students on how they can apply their schooling to a career in moldmaking.
Carson Tool also has two outside salesmen—one based out of Ohio and one based out of North Carolina. However, they are not reps that juggle multiple clients; rather, they are full-time employees of the company. “If a sales rep is commissioned, he will sell what is hottest at the time, and if he reps other mold shops, he will not be completely dedicated to us,” Myers points out. “Both our salesmen started out as toolmakers, just like I did. They can approach a potential customer and actually quote and bid a job on the spot.”
Myers notes the company has been growing despite an uncertain economy. “We actually saw an increase in sales this past year,” he notes, “and this year looks to be better than last year.
“We want to continue to grow and keep embracing the never-ending challenges this industry provides for us,” Myers concludes, “and will continue to look closely at new technology, equipment and automation to help achieve these goals. Our next step will most likely be in expanding the grinding department, and then investing in five-axis machining down the road.”
For More Information:
Carson Tool & Mold / (770) 427-3716
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.carsonmold.com
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