And those mold making operations have been essential to Desma's ability to provide products and services that meet its clients' quality, performance and customer support expectations. Because for Desma, it's not just about providing customers with high-quality injection molding machinery. It's also about ensuring a full spectrum of support—think: automation, software and data-driven insights, a well as maintenance services.
And that holistic service vision, that's where the mold making fits in.
"It was a business we started in the USA to create value, to stay in the value chain of our customers," Early said. "… When we build the mold and design the mold, we tend to integrate a little bit more process support into it, and it has worked out well for us."
It's worked out well, in part, because Desma brings decades of expertise in mold making to its U.S. operations. Globally, Klockner Desma Elastomertechnik GmbH — Desma USA's parent company — has been making molds for about 30 years. Today, it maintains mold-making operations in the U.S., India and Germany.
And those operations are growing. Particularly in the U.S.
This year, Desma USA's mold-making business will account for about 15 percent of the company's sales, and that's expected to continue growing in the years ahead, especially with the investments the parent company is making, Early said.
Last year, Desma invested $500,000 for manufacturing equipment that supported the NAMC's mold-making capabilities. Next year, it will see another $500,000 investment for a mill-turn.
Combined, that $1 million investment says quite a bit about just how much Desma values the North American market, Early said, adding there is great potential for growth across the continent. And that's particularly true for end markets such as automotive—with the rise of electrification—and infrastructure.
"To say that (North America) is a mature market is not fair," Early said. "The market is a stable market with head space. And the head space exists in the growing markets, in electrification, in infrastructure.
"Desma USA is 25 percent of the global turnover of Desma worldwide, and it is a market that our parent company has a strong belief in the management style and my team, and they continue to allow us to invest, which I believe is what our customers need."
And it turns out, customers need a machinery company that also manufactures molds.
"We have a very strong backlog and a very strong customer base that we partner with, but it seems because we are known as a machinery supplier, (many) people don't really associate us with tooling," Early said.
But that, Early noted, will continue to change, especially as more and more customers discover Desma USA's tooling expertise.