VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Mold maker FGL Precision Works Ltd. keeps diversifying its product line, and has won recognition for its work on a challenging project. "FGL has not isolated itself to just structural foam or injection molds," Chief Executive Officer Sol Algranti said in an interview at Structural Plastics 2000, held March 26-28 in Vancouver. "We also do compression molds, and we've recently done rotational molds."
President Frank Meisels and two brothers founded FGL in Ontario in 1965. His nephew, Tom Meisels, is FGL's vice president.
The firm responds to daunting challenges.
"FGL has a reputation for building large aluminum molds, but also as a company willing to get involved in new ideas," Tom Meisels said.
For example, FGL got involved in mid-1997 when Loma Co. was constructing a plant in Carencro, La., to make structural road mats, but could not find a firm to make the molds.
"They had plans in place, and construction was already done on the plant, but they had hit an obstacle in getting the molds built," Tom Meisels said. "We were very interested [and] decided to go along with it."
FGL won the conference award and building and construction award at the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Structural Plastics Division meeting. Both were for the huge mat Loma makes with FGL molds.
In last year's contest, FGL won the materials-handling award for a large plastic container made with another FGL mold.
FGL employs 75 at two Ontario locations. The main Concord site makes medium-size and large molds up to 45 tons.
The firm acquired KNT Precision Works Ltd. in October and operates the business now as an autonomous division. KNT is in Brampton and makes intricate small and medium-size molds.
Meanwhile, Loma's operations are growing, and its high density polyethylene mats are withstanding gigantic stresses.
Fina Inc., now part of TotalFinaElf SA of Paris, recently moved South Korean-built chemical processing vessels of 700 tons and 1,200 tons on the mats, Loma Vice President Ken Seaux said in a telephone interview. He and his father, Paul, started Loma in late 1994.
Those weights exceed original expectations, but future mats may be able to endure greater stresses.
Loma is working on a way to "fuse one part to the other and match up the honeycomb hexes," he said. A new method could increase the mat's stiffness by a factor of six.
"We are looking at technology for other panel requirements," he said. Possibilities include flooring for outdoor storage buildings.
Users place a layer of geo-textile material on the ground to prevent erosion and minimize mud seepage between joints. Soloco LLC of Lafayette, La., leases the Dura-Base mat system as a replacement for wooden mats.
Loma had 1999 sales of $18 million, and Seaux forecasts $25 million this year. "We are looking at expanding our customer base" including potential military applications, Seaux said.
Initially, Loma placed an order with FGL for 12 molds. Subsequently, Loma ordered 12 more sets that were completed in June. Each set weighs about 10,000 pounds.