FTM bought a Nissei injection press with 120 tons of clamping force to do mold sampling and low-volume production. Then around 2010, the company got into production molding.
The company added two all-electric Milacron presses, machines of 110 and 165 tons. Customers wanted FTM to run some production, and the firm ended up molding on a full-time basis, he said.
“We wanted to diversify, because traditionally we were always a tool shop. And our focus was designing and building custom injection molds, initially for a variety of industries,” Levak said. “But currently we're heavily into automotive now, with the tooling.”
FTM's molding operation is automotive-focused as well. The company molds small connectors, fittings, sensors and under-the-hood parts, often using engineering plastics and glass-filled nylon, he said.
Levak said FTM supplies Tier 1 companies. He declined to identify the customers.
Levak likes all-electric injection molding machines.
“The technology gives us more control and flexibility as far as controlling the process, because we're molding tight-tolerance components. Consistency is critical in the process,” he said.
On a tour of the plant, FTM was running a 16-cavity hot runner mold.
“And the tooling that we build is for tight-tolerance parts — again, sensors, valves, connectors, those type of small parts,” he said. The company also does a lot of mold repair, and can turn around emergency-type repairs in a day or two.
Robert and Donna are both 68 years old. Their son, Randy Levak is general manager and is handling more day-to-day responsibilities as his father takes a little more time off. In the small shop, Randy also oversees finance, sales and human resources.
“We've got some really talented people from an engineering and tool making standpoint,” Robert Levak said. That includes Marty MacDonald, vice president of operations, who has worked for FTM about 15 years.
FTM also is beefing up its sales. About a year-and-a-half ago, the company hired plastics industry veteran Matt Kerns as vice president of business development and strategic planning.
Before Kerns joined FTM, Robert and Randy Levak handled all the sales.
“We've been a small tool shop for many years, and we built sales by reputation and word of mouth,” Robert Levak said.