by Tim Wilson
The Problem: Build footprint to capture bigger deals in injection mould market
The Solution: Merge two competitors to go after niche global opportunities
Ontario injection mould businesses merge to create stronger company
In September 2012, Prosin Molds (established in 1996) and CAD Tooling (established in 1997) merged to form Cap-Thin Molds. Both companies were specializing in design and manufacturing of high quality injection moulds for caps and closures, food packaging, thin wall containers/lids and cosmetic products. The primary purpose of the merger was to address the increased demand for high quality injection moulds in the industry. Joining the two companies, now with over 30 years combined experience in the industry, created a stronger team to handle larger projects.
“The main reason for the merger was to enlarge our business to go after the caps and closures business,” says Carmen Goudey, CNC operations manager at Cap-Thin Molds, located in Mississauga, ON. “The two owners were go-getters, and successful in their own right. They knew that together they’d have a better shot at landing big jobs in that market.”
Prosin Molds was originally established by Cyrus Jebely, and Cad-Tooling was started by Zdenek Studnicka. Now the two men are co-owners of Cap-Thin Molds, and have found significant success going after their core market.
“We employ 38 people in a 30,000 sq ft facility,” says Goudey. “The caps and closures market is vast, but also precision-focused. We have the technologies and machinery to deliver on very tight tolerances, which our overseas competitors can’t match. Cost is important in this industry, but our customer base is after quality: the number one factor is to have long-lasting moulds that won’t fail.”
Cap-Thin Molds, which also serves the medical industry, specializes in those complex moulds that require fully interchangeable components. This is a complete mould service, from product design and development, to prototypes and production moulds.
“We are growing, and looking to add more equipment and to expand capacity over time,” says Goudey. “Now with the merged company, demand is more steady. We are busy all the time–one job finishes and another starts up.”
Managing the highs and lows, and using people and machines efficiently, is more likely when a company like Cap-Thin can address one market well, winning contracts and building ongoing capabilities. The result is that the bulk of the company’s work is in caps and closures, with an emphasis on complex, multi-cavity, high efficient production moulds.
“You can see our products in Shoppers Drug Mart–these caps are common in cosmetics or for things like deodorants and shampoos–but our market is global,” says Goudey. “A lot of our customers have offices worldwide, so we might manufacture for clients in Mexico, the US, Switzerland, and Germany.”
At the design and engineering stage Cap-Thin utilizes 3D modeling, with its engineers working with Pro/E and SolidWorks design software. The
company will use web-conferencing software to keep in close contact with its customers throughout the entire development cycle.
“We are also a long-term user of Mastercam software,” says Goudey. “We do a few unique things, but we use typical hardened steel for moulds. Our advantage is in the manufacturing process and design side; the raw materials are no different than what any other mould shop might use.”
Within Cap-Thin, documentation is crucial for process changes to ensure traceability, whether those changes are internal or external. This way, clients can be kept informed with regard to the possible impact on project scope, time, and cost. In this context, Cap-Thin relies on its own Manufacturing Process Plan, which engages CNC programmers, mouldmakers, and machinists to ensure an accurate job from engineering to production. From there, Cap-Thin can handle ongoing change requests or improvements–including for moulds made elsewhere–with all the work being done in a temperature-controlled shop environment. Understandably, an environment like this requires the right people.
“We are not looking for casual labour or button pushers,” says Goudey. “Everyone here has multiple roles and job descriptions. Just about everyone at Cap-Thin has a universityor college education.”
It can be a challenge to find the right people. Cap-Thin has responded by working with George Brown and Sheridan community colleges, and utilizing a rigorous interview process to ensure that a potential employee has long-term viability, and can be trained to work within the corporate culture. This includes the Project Management Institute’s best practices for managing projects, with leadership provided by a project management professional.
“When we look to fill a position it doesn’t take a week or two–it can take months to find the right candidate,” says Goudey. “Some positions are easier to fill than others. But for high precision, high speed machining it is an extreme challenge.”
For its part, Cap-Thin Molds has an impressive list of machines, with its employees expected to be able to handle Makino and Mikron high speed CNC milling machines, as well as Haas and Nakamura-Tome lathes. The company’s machining environment is likely to expand as the company grows, with investments in technology central to its ability to maintain its edge as it competes on a global scale. SMT
Tim Wilson is a contributing editor. [email protected]