Platinum Tool Technologies has survived a roller coaster 2010 and now finds itself halfway through 2011 not only recovering at its Canadian base, but also with a new and growing mold-servicing operation in Mexico that is bringing it new business.
The mold maker, based in the Windsor suburb of Oldcastle, Ontario, started 2010 by winning an interest-free loan worth more than $1 million from the Canadian government to help it diversify and expand.
The firm bought a five-axis gun drill and made plans to move into the aerospace industry, beyond its existing automotive focus.
But in July, its banks pulled financing and the company was nearly forced to shut down. From a high of 72 employees, it was down to 18 on July 16.
Platinum was able to scramble, said President Dan Moynahan. The firm found contract work through some of its neighboring toolmakers with overflow production. It also tracked down a line of credit at a new bank and held on to its government loan while also refocusing on the strongest path for immediate growth.
Platinum is now back up to 39 employees and held the grand opening of its new Saltillo, Mexico, facility May 25.
“Our plan was to diversify into aerospace, but we were able to transfer over to other equipment to make our mold-making leaner and better, and get into Mexico,” Moynahan said in a June 1 telephone interview.
Platinum had been traveling to Mexico to visit customers there since 1993, but with more international companies — including automakers — building their manufacturing bases there, it became harder and more expensive to maintain tools solely from Oldcastle.
Having a base in Saltillo, which is one of Mexico's auto manufacturing hubs, gives it more access to work in Mexico on new tooling from customers who want suppliers that can handle both new work and repair and maintenance work. Saltillo oversees maintenance, repair and engineering changes.