Sometimes great opportunity doesn’t come in the form of a new idea or invention, but rather in the perfection of a practical idea that can facilitate others. Mold Craft, the custom injection-mold making company located in Willernie, has quietly and steadily built its empire of plastic molds, growing from a handful of manual machines to a highly automated, high-volume business today.
Injection molding is a production process that allows millions of parts to be made in the same shape from a single mold of hardened and reinforced plastic, through a heating and cooling process that uses steel plates. The molds are designed and fabricated to produce parts for drug delivery devices, surgical devices, body implants, dental products and other consumer products such as personal computers.
Mold Craft has been creating these single and multi-cavity mold products for small intricate plastic and metal parts since their inception in 1964.
It began as a simple outfit, with unlimited potential. “While the company started with a limited number of manual machines, the owners understood opportunity, capacity and innovation,” says Justin McPhee, Mold Craft’s vice president of engineering. McPhee and Tim Bartz, vice president of operations, have been the owners of Mold Craft for the last seven years.
The decades since 1964 saw growth, development and attention to detail that would ultimately lead Mold Craft to the success it enjoys today.
“Mold Craft led the way into the CNC (computer controlled) machining in the late ’70s and early ’80s, completely embracing automation in the early ’80s and becoming known for their ability to hold extremely tight tolerances during this time,” McPhee says. “In the ’90s, Mold Craft expanded its production to include motherboard connectors for new Internet ‘super-computers.’ In the early 2000s, we continued to develop our niche in the medical market, purchasing at least two new machines a year since 2004.”
Now, Mold Craft completely owns their 12,000-square-foot main facility, as well as a 2,000-square-foot engineering center. The company employs five design engineers, 27 toolmakers and machine specialists who cover first and second shifts, 10 professionals in sales, administration and leadership, as well as three robots that keep the machines running on the third shift.
Bartz and McPhee are the fifth generation of owners to purchase the company, and will ultimately explore their own options of selling at some point.
In 1998, the previous owners began discussions with Bartz. “In 2005, Justin McPhee was brought into discussions to help solidify the company after the 2000 recession,” Bartz says. “As we continue to grow and expand, Justin and I will look to pass the baton for the next 50 years of innovation.”
The future looks bright for Mold Craft in its 50th year, with specific goals in mind, including sales growth, adding more employees and building a second technology center over the next few years.
“We want to align ourselves with customers who have the same core values as us: integrity, loyalty, cutting-edge innovation” and a drive for perfection, says Bartz. “By following this plan, we are creating high-tech jobs and strategically searching out new customers.”
Mold Craft will be celebrating 50 years in business with an Open House on August 1, from 4-10 p.m.
200 Stillwater Road