Our 2017 Leadtime Leader Winners Are …

Graphic Tool of Itasca, Illinois and Concours Mold of Lakeshore, Ontario, Canada.


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All of our past Leadtime Leaders have had one thing in common: a balanced focus on technology and people. This year’s winner and honorable mention shops are no exception.

Our 2017 Leadtime Leader Winner is Graphic Tool. This mold manufacturer stands out for its focus on process and culture. That is, the continuous improvement of shop technology and workforce development, which stems from what company President and General Manager Don Smith says was a deliberate and dramatic move away from “running the business like a shop to running a shop like a business.”  That journey entailed a commitment to following five fundamental steps: define, measure, analyze, improve and control. Continuing to take those steps helped not only streamline operations from design, engineering and programming with strict quality control, but also helped drive personal and professional employee growth.

Graphic also offers “engineering that goes above and beyond,” he says. This means using integrated design, simulation and manufacturing to seamlessly take projects from concept to production in a single environment. The company’s level of project management is impressive.

Some key technologies include a proprietary quoting/scheduling system, tooling for design for manufacturing and assembly, DMG MORI five-axis mills, Mazak machines with interchangeable tombstones, Makino/Erowa EDM work cells. Learn more about this shop here, and take a virtual tour at short.moldmakingtechnology.com/2017lla.

Taking this year’s Honorable Mention title is Concours Mold , which has operations in Canada, Alabama and Mexico. This mold builder is proud of its focus on quality and team. “It takes the right technology and people to achieve true quality across all three facilities,” says Ed Ergun, corporate sales manager. The key is a consistent culture with a focus on communication, training and immersion and shared goals. The company slogan is “Everybody, Every Day”.

From first-time quality, 24/7 service, training, feasibility and program management to engineering and design, logistics, changes and repairs, and manufacturing, the technology housed at Concours and its value-added services are vital. This includes machine tool technology from DMG MORI, Makino, Unisig and Promac; Catia software; full tryout capabilities; automation; a detailed scheduling system; BTA high-speed gun drilling; adaptive EDM burning; RFID tooling management; automatic probing cycles for part pickup; in-process part verification through probing; and a fleet of trucks. Read more about Concours Mold here.

An awards ceremony will be held at Amerimold (amerimoldexpo.com) on June 14, and you can visit Graphic Tool at Booth 1028. Register to take part in your industry event and celebrate these award winners!