Charlton, Mass. — In 1989, Richard Tully approached his son, Dennis, and asked him to work at Miniature Tool & Die. Dennis came on board as an employee without a title. He built molds and ran machinery. Dennis rose to engineering manager and, eventually, president as he learned more and as the organization grew.
In 1999, Boston Scientific approached Miniature Tool & Die to make a mold for what was, at the time, the world's smallest plastics part. Tully said the part would be so small that 500 pieces could be made from a single plastic pellet. There was little risk to Tully's team since Boston Scientific agreed to pay them whether or not they were successful.
"I don't know why they thought we could do this. We hadn't done anything close to that scale. Maybe we were the last resort for them," he said, describing the part that resembled a miniature rivet with an electrical winding that was surgically inserted to arrest an aneurysm.
"Previous to us making this part for them, they had a room full of people making these things by hand," he said. "They said sometimes a person would go an entire shift and not make one good piece."