Silcotech North America Inc. is spending close to $2 million to expand its Bolton, Ontario, headquarters plant.
Silcotech North America President Michael Maloney said in a phone interview that the firm is investing in injection molding machinery, tooling, floor space and personnel to keep apace with growth for its molded liquid silicone rubber components.
"For product development, for each step in time-to-market the duration is getting shorter," Maloney explained. "We're developing manufacturing solutions to meet that demand."
Silcotech North America's primary markets are medical and health care, automotive, packaging and consumer electronics, where elastomeric properties of LSR are in rising demand. Since its founding in 1998, the company has grown to a 120-employee business with 29 injection presses with clamps from 25 to 250 tons.
Maloney credits his firm's emphasis on tooling as key to meeting LSR molding challenges.
"You need to control your own tooling technology," he said.
Maloney and his team of engineers pay particular attention to cold runners, valve gates and other tooling systems to handle tough jobs in multidurometer parts and micromolding.
Silcotech Carolina Inc. was established in York, S.C., in 2013 with an initial investment of $3.5 million "because we wanted a leg in the United States," said Silcotech North America cofounder and vice president Isolde Boettger in a phone interview. Production at York began in January 2015.
"Customers have asked us for more locations in case there is a disruption [in Bolton]," she explained.
The York plant focuses on the medical market and operates a Class 8 clean room to ensure molded components are free from contamination. Initial investment at York was $3.5 million, but the firm has spent more since then to boost molding capacity.
Silcotech's reach extends to Nodia, India, where Silcotech Bonny Products (India) Pvt. Ltd operates as a joint venture with Bonny Products Pvt. Ltd. That operation began in 2009 and serves the broader Asian market in addition to India. Nodia is near New Delhi.
About 80 percent of Silcotech North America's sales are for critical components in medical and health care applications. For coinjection of silicone onto a thermoplastic substrate, specific molding machines are identified in the firm's enterprise resource planning system to keep them separate from presses that only mold silicone rubber.
The Bolton-based firm relies on Arburg injection presses.
Silcotech has molded up to nine different materials and colors in a one-shot molding process. This unique accomplishment was for a iPhone 5S cover that Silcotech North America displayed at the MD&M Minneapolis trade show in 2015.
Silcotech North America's quality system certifications include ISO 9001, ISO 13485, ISO 14001 and TS 16949. It also complies with U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards and is run along Six Sigma lean principles.
Silcotech AG in Switzerland was founded in 1984 by Udo Lange, a friend of Maloney. Udo Lange and his brother, Holger Lange, were minority shareholders in Silcotech North America until they sold their interest in the Swiss business in 2010 to the Sealing Solutions business unit of global engineering firm Trelleborg Group. Silcotech North America continued as an independent, separate corporation.
Maloney had a long track record in injection molding design and manufacturing automation before cofounding Silcotech North America. Boettger used her background in hot runner distribution to structure the business practices and systems of the Bolton-based company. Isolde Boettger is a sister of hot runner expert and owner of Technojet Machinery Corp. of Toronto, Paul Boettger.