Windsor, Ontario-based Cavalier Tool & Manufacturing Ltd. continues to grow as a "boutique" mold maker with a focus on speed to market at the center of a nearly C$11 million (US$8 million) investment.
Founded in 1975, Cavalier Tool produces more than 200 mid- to large-size molds annually for the automotive, commercial, recreational and agricultural markets.
About 250 employees build tools for injection, structural foam, gas-assist, multishot, thermoset, prototype and compression molds that operate in 250-4,000 ton presses.
Cavalier's growth has also come rather quickly. Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the company has expanded from one to three production sites and opened a third office in India. Some of the new demand came from the medical market, according to Sales Manager Tim Galbraith.
Cavalier typically builds high-tonnage tooling, which has a limited market in medical, but the company did respond to early pandemic needs with deeply discounted tooling to solve personal protective equipment shortages.
"Although Cavalier's medical market footprint is small, the immediate supply chain disruption of the initial COVID lockdowns required domestication of products normally imported," Galbraith said in an email. "Cavalier stepped up to produce a program of molds in two to four weeks to assist in filling production requirements for hand sanitizers."
Then the markets for consumer goods and powersport products surged for Cavalier, and both have remained strong throughout the pandemic.
"Both markets are long-term staples of Cavalier's business footprint," Galbraith said. "Manufacturers requiring fast and reliable tooling trusted Cavalier to meet their those needs."
"Speed to market" will be the theme of Cavalier's exhibit at the Injection Molding and Design Expo, set for May 25-26 at Detroit's Huntington Place. The event is put on by Plastics News and Applied Market Information Ltd.'s Injection World magazines.
Almost all of Cavalier's $8 million investment is allocated to the future Plant 3. Galbraith said that figure will likely climb as construction costs continue to rise.
Cavalier invested in Plant 2 last year after acquiring the 22,000-square-foot Mold Services International Inc. facility in Oldcastle, Ontario, in January 2021 to add production capacity and technology to go after bigger projects. The company had to raise the roof and lower the floor to accommodate a custom machine expected to arrive in the summer.