NyproMold: From Art To Part and Everywhere in Between
NyproMold (Clinton, MA)—a Nypro, Inc. company—was originally started 14 years ago as a joint ven-ture with its parent company as a builder of prototype tools. Today, the company’s capabilities range from concept to high-cavitation, ultra high production and multi-tool programs and the ability to provide complete turnkey system capability: part design assistance, FEA, mold flow, mold design and build, qualification, product inspection, automation and machine integration. Industries served include consumer/industrial, electronics/telecommunications, packaging, automotive and healthcare.
Enter lean manufacturing principles to complement the company’s diverse offerings. According to NyproMold presi-dent Bill Muldoon, who was formerly a Nypro plant manager, the company is committed to its parent company’s lean program, HVS (High Velocity System)—a proprietary system practiced at all Nypro operations to save its customers money by driving waste and error out of all activities.
In 1988, Muldoon decided to start NyproMold with fellow Nypro employee Brian Walker. After building prototype molds for six years, they started NyproMold Chicago in 1994 at Nypro’s Chicago factory and two years later, they purchased mold facility Mark Tech (Leominster, MA), which was folded into NyproMold’s Clinton operations.
In 2004, NyproMold Clinton moved into its brand new, 104,000 square foot facility—enabling the company to expand operations and offer art-to-part capabilities.
According to Muldoon, the following separates NyproMold from its competition:
- Global mold deployment and service capability
- 100 percent interchangeable molds
- Early supplier involvement design assistance service
- High scale production tooling experience
- A process-driven organization
This work is performed in a 104,000-square foot facility with a small crew, that Muldoon notes can produce the same as a crew double its size—due to automation and the most modern equipment, including robotic toolmaking machines that can operate in a lights-out mode with no operator present.
Over the years, NyproMold has faced the challenge of overseas competition head-on. “Like other companies, we continually fight with it,” Muldoon comments. “But, we find that automation, quality grade and tooling technologies give us an advantage in value and customer satisfaction.”
NyproMold’s parent company Nypro, Inc. (Clinton, MA) was founded in 1955 as a precision injection molding company. At the present time, it is an integrated, innovative provider of plastics solutions, with 15,000 employees, a billion dollars in annual revenues, and 67 operations in 18 countries. Its array of services includes product design and development, mold design and fabrication, injection molding, precision metals, surface decoration technologies, diversity supply, assembly, and verification and contract manufacturing.
The sixth largest U.S. employee-owned company, Nypro has taken advantage of numerous opportunities over the years to expand operations and ensure its position as a worldwide service provider. As an example, the company began looking at Moscow in 1990 as a potential locale for increasing its global presence. They entered Moscow as a minority owner in a molding company owned also by a Moscow manufacturing company and a Swiss importer. Nypro’s involvement in Moscow followed a trip down the Volga River by Chairman and former CEO Gordon Lankton.
Within a year, Nypro opened its own plant. “The big difference with Moscow was that we usually have global customers when we open new plants around the world, but with this one we had only local customers at the start in the late ‘80s and that remained the case until a couple of years ago,” Lankton notes. “Also, the idea of custom plastics was unknown in Russia—under the old Communist system, their industries traditionally handled all functions for their products, including plastics molding. The facility that we used in the beginning had been used before us for plastics, and we slowly brought it up to Nypro standards as resources grew. Even under those circumstances, it started as the most modern custom plastics factory in Russia and it remains that today.
“The lesson learned in Moscow is one learned in most other areas that are trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps—hang in, and eventually hundreds of millions of citizens will find ways to improve their standard of living—which includes quality modern plastics,” Lankton adds. Today, Nypro molds and makes molds in Moscow—with a number of consumer products customers.
NyproMold relies on its apprenticeship program to bring new employees up-to-speed with the company’s methods of mold design and build. “For example, with our engineering apprenticeship, each potential apprentice must spend a minimum of six months on the manufacturing floor in each department—so as to fully understand how every process works—prior to moving on to the design room where he or she will learn the manufacturing standards,” Muldoon points out. “Then, when beginning to design, he or she will fully understand what it truly takes to manufacture a particular component and then to turn that into a much simpler design—saving money and time with each tool build.”
All NyproMold employees may take any courses that will help them progress on the job—backed by a tuition reimbursement program. Additionally, the company sponsors frequent in-house demonstrations from its suppliers and encourages employees to attend trade shows. A profit-sharing program also is in place to increase employee satisfaction, Muldoon adds.
According to Muldoon, NyproMold is always looking for above-average individuals in the industry to join the NyproMold team. Currently, the company is in pursuit of experienced mold designers, and is working with a number of employment agencies to fulfill its needs.
NyproMold plans to continue climbing the ladder of success by opening facilities abroad—separate from Nypro Inc.’s other tool companies overseas. Muldoon feels this will help the company to realize its goal of reaching $45 million in sales within the next two years.
Muldoon counts on his employees’ continued dedication to realize his dream. “We continually ensure that our employees are content in every venture we pursue, because without them we would be nowhere,” he states, “and with that, our constant focus is on making sure that every mold is fully operational and delivered on time.”
A Series of International Standards for Quality Management and Quality Assurance
Reducing changeover times will eliminate waste, moving a shop closer to becoming lean.
Using aluminum tooling instead of traditional tools steels reduces cycle time and costs, but requires up-front, open communications between moldmaker, molder, material supplier and hot runner manifold supplier.