A custom molder near Canada's national capital of Ottawa is poised to expand its business in medical components.
L-D Tool & Die in October obtained certification for ISO 13485-2003, which focuses on medical device manufacturing. The Ottawa company forecasts the certification will help it grow by 30 percent.
“Two of our largest customers requested it,” said L-D sales manager Ken Toews in a telephone interview. Toews said need for such certification is growing in the medical market. The ISO rating helps ensure integrity in the medical parts market.
L-D will spend about C$1.5 million (US$1.3 million) to further strengthen its medical business, Toews estimated. About 80 percent of the investment will be for a 10,000-square-foot clean room and the rest for new injection molding capacity to be installed in the area.
L-D now runs 16 injection presses with clamping forces ranging from 40 to 850 tons in its 40,000-square-foot facility. All machines are equipped with robots. It runs a tool room and offers a range of secondary services such as pad printing, ultrasonic welding and assembly. Toews said L-D's medical components business relies on engineering resins but the firm also molds commodity plastics like ABS, polypropylene and polystyrene. The company is diverse with stakes in consumer products, construction and landscaping, industrial, electrical, and other markets.
As it grows its medical business, L-D also is quoting on reshoring opportunities as companies find molding work in China is getting more expensive and with the disadvantages of long lead times, upfront payment schedules and occasional quality problems. For many jobs that aren't labor intensive, molding costs can be competitive or at an even lower cost in Canada, according to Toews. Materials costs are lower in North America and turnaround times are a third or less the time it takes Chinese molders to fulfill an order.
L-D does significant business in China, however, on the mold making side. The company has some 200 to 300 molds per year — the bulk of its customers' needs — built in China. L-D runs a fully equipped tool shop to keep its molds in good repair. In its early days the company built a lot more molds but now many molds are more economical to build in China.
L-D employs about 75 and expects to add 20 more jobs as its order book grows. Toews wouldn't disclose sales figures but said they are about seven figures annually. The company was founded by its owners Lawrence Dickson and Dave Tait in 1990.
“Quality and service are very important to us in selecting a manufacturing partner,” stated DNA Genotek President Ian Curry in a news release. DNA Genotek of Kanata, Ontario, will soon be a bigger customer once L-D begins molding saliva testing components for the firm. Spartan Bioscience of Nepean, Ontario, is its other major medical parts customer.
“This [ISO] certification will create growth at the company and high-quality manufacturing jobs in our community,” Dickson stated in a news release.