Mold and prototype maker Quality Models Ltd. of Windsor, Ontario, will begin custom and proprietary injection molding this summer primarily for the marine and recreational vehicle markets. Quality recently ordered four Cincinnati Milacron presses and expects to begin molding in July, according to Glen Rogers, the firm's sales manager.
It has contracted local molders to make plastic components in the past few years and will reduce, but not eliminate, its reliance on outside molders, Rogers said.
``We want to be able to respond quickly to customer needs,'' Rogers said in a telephone interview.
Customers tend to buy small numbers of parts but may need them in a hurry, he explained. They also may rush tool design changes.
Quality recently purchased four injection presses from Stephen Sales Group of Markham, Ontario, Canadian sales representative for Cincinnati Milacron of Batavia, Ohio.
Rogers said his firm bought a 300-ton toggle machine, two 500-ton hydraulic presses and a retrofitted 1,000-tonner. It will install them in a new, 8,000-square-foot plant it recently built across town from its Windsor mold-making shop.
The venture into molding will cost it about C$1.5 million (US$1.1 million).
Rogers said his firm is exploiting injection molding's potential in marine applications held by metal, glass-fiber-reinforced plastic and vacuum formed plastic. The marine industry generally is not familiar with injection molding's precision and productivity, he explained.
The private firm was established in 1986 mainly to make prototypes. It branched into production tooling for molded plastic marine components, most of which it designs in-house.
For the past few years it relied on undisclosed molders to make Quality's custom and proprietary products, which were sold by Quality's sales division.
Unlike most Windsor-area mold makers and molders, Quality has not focused on work contracted out by major automakers based in nearby Detroit.
Rogers said Quality's tool shop spends most of its time on the company's own marine and recreational vehicle molds, but about 10 percent of its work is in automotive and other industrial prototyping.
Rogers cited an all-plastic marine pump drive system, to replace die-cast aluminum, as a recent Quality development.
He listed steering wheels, radio enclosures, handles and a range of other boat parts as other examples of Quality's product line.
Rogers estimated Quality's annual sales at C$10 million (US$7.4 million). Quality expects to double the size of its new molding plant and add three more presses within a year.