This week we publish our updated ranking of North American mold makers. Years ago we kept this list to the top 20. Today our ranking includes 146 tooling makers with more than $3 billion in related sales. That's up 5.5 percent over last year's total. The top 100 appear in our print issue, and the rest are available online.
Once we started growing the ranking, it really took off. By 2013, we had 115 firms with related sales of $1.7 billion. Curious about those numbers, I gathered the counts and totals from the last 10 years' worth from the ranking histories. I found a 10-year, 38 percent gain in the average sales per company. To put that in perspective, the same figure for injection molders was 26 percent. Injection Tooling In China
The big news is the continuing trend of the vertical integration in the supply chain. We've covered several acquisitions this year, including Adler Industrial Solutions Inc.'s purchase of R&D/Leverage in September. R&D is ranked at No. 18 with estimated sales of $54 million. Omaha, Neb.-based Adler debuts in our ranking at No. 38 with an estimated $19 million, having already acquired Pinnacle Molds Inc. and Rapid Mold Solutions Inc. The combined listing next year should put them in or near the top 10.
SyBridge Technologies Inc., based in Southfield, Mich., is listed at No. 3 with $184 million in related sales. The listing represents the combination of its continued acquisition activity and most recently that of Calframax Technologies Inc.
According to those firms that sent in their data reporting gains, organic growth was on average about 10 percent. Automotive still tops the list of end markets served. Injection molds remain at the top of mold types produced.
Beyond acquisitions, is the next big leap in tooling going to come from additive manufacturing? If yes, then we may be seeing some new questions added to our survey form.
When the subject of product development comes up, one of my sources is my husband, who works for a manufacturing consultant in Cleveland. If fact, we met while both of us were working at a local manufacturing plant. You can just about imagine our dinner conversations, worlds collide when we talk about printing new components for almost anything that breaks at home, including that knob on the stove again.
So here is what Mike Keller, senior product development engineer at Magnet, The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, had to say about 3D printing and tooling: "The advantage of additive tooling is that you can incorporate cooling channels in the print along with the mold cavity. You can design those cooling channels to follow the curvatures of the part design getting excellent cooling everywhere you need it."
Keller added: "This is impossible, or at least extremely expensive, with standard tooling. The molds do cost more, but the cycle time reduction can be enough to offset the additional cost for some applications."
PepsiCo Inc. is using additive manufacturing, in addition to blow molding, to develop beverage bottles faster at a reduced cost.
Congratulations to Tom Barr, president of TK Mold & Engineering Inc., who was named 2022 Mold Builder of the Year by the American Mold Builders Association. Also to Rick Finnie, owner and president of M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp., who was named Mold Maker of the Year, and to Marcin Zajac, engineering manager of A1 Tool Corp. Mold Designer of the Year, both by the Society of Plastic Engineers' mold technologies division.
• Micro Mold Co. Inc. of Erie, Pa., moved up 36 spaces to rank at No. 81.
• Precise Tooling Solutions Inc. of Columbus, Ind., moved up 11 spaces to rank at No. 56.
• Elite Mold & Engineering Inc. of Shelby Township, Mich., moved up 11 spaces to rank at No. 85.
• Cavalier Tool & Manufacturing Ltd. of Windsor, Ontario, moved up seven spaces to rank at No. 8.
• Mantz Automation Inc. of Hartford, Wis., moved up seven spaces to rank at No. 33.
• Adler Industrial Solutions Inc. of Omaha, Neb.
• Ameri-Tool Industries Inc. of Albany, Ore.
• Modern Mold & Tool Inc. of Pittsfield, Mass.
• Zircon Corp. of Hulmeville, Pa.
The full listing is available to view online at www.plasticsnews.com/mold-makers. If you work for a company that is missing from the ranking, we would like to include you next time. Please contact Hollee Keller at [email protected] .
Keller is Plastics News' editorial research coordinator and author of the All Things Data blog on PlasticsNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @holleekeller.
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