Rex Luchtel thought something looked wrong when he first saw the R&D/Leverage Integrated Solutions in Plastics booth in the south hall at NPE.
There are no tools, he said during an interview at Booth S20089. Every toolmaker is supposed to have tools, right?
But the new look for R&D reflects the new role the company has made for itself, moving beyond the old image of what the company once was to embrace the new role it has slowly developed for itself in complete product development from a complete industrial design firm in-house with Leverage to prototyping, engineering, testing and, yes, tooling.
If you just define yourself as a toolmaker, then that's all [customers] are going to think you do, said Luchtel, CEO and vice president of operations for R&D, based in Lee's Summit, Mo.
The company has gradually added to its capabilities for the past nine years, culminating in the addition of industrial design with Leverage in 2008. It is now rolling out its new identity at NPE and through its operations in the U.S. and at Sutton-in-Ashfield, England.
Earlier this year, R&D created a production laboratory in England to help it extend its abilities in its key packaging businesses there.
Alan Tolley, managing director for R&D in Europe, said the company will be re-introducing itself to companies who may only know the firm for its mold making.
It's about changing the perception, Tolley said.
That perception is also reflected in the booth, emphasizing the final products that R&D has had a hand in developing, rather than just tooling as one aspect of those products.
You've got to add value to what you offer, Tolley said.
The addition of Leverage and complete industrial design not just tool design has opened new doors for R&D, Luchtel said, giving it contacts with brand owners as well as molders.
Leverage has gained a tremendous amount of traction, more than we ever expected, he said.
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