A School within a Mold Shop
Unique Tool & Gauge Inc. began operations in 1982 and works with all major automotive producers and Tier 1 suppliers. The company operates out of a 60,000-square foot facility in Windsor, Ontario, providing full service design, manufacturing, and program management. And, just like many other mold builders has had to contend with the challenge of finding skilled workers.
To solve this problem, Darcy King, Unique President & CEO, set out to create a structured one-year training program designed to lead to full-time moldmaking positions with the company.
Five keys to capturing (and keeping) new business
We keep hearing from the automotive industry that there is a shortage of moldmakers. Yet, moldmakers keep wondering where all the business is? Surely, if there's a shortage of moldmakers, there must be more business out there.
Darcy King, president and CEO of Unique Tool & Gauge, along with his director of sales and program management, Al Standaert and Joe Luckino, director of new business development, sat down for a conversation about finding and capturing new business. There are five keys to finding and capturing new business that King has found works for Unique, a mold manufacturing company that specializes in large-sized aluminum molds for the automotive industry.
Unique Tool & Gauge Teams Up With Alcan To Set New Industry Standard
Unique Tool & Gauge teams up with Alcan to set new industry standard: largest block of 7000-Series aluminum ever forged used to produce a high-volume production injection mold for the automotive industry.Officials from Unique Tool & Gauge and Alcan Aluminum announced that a production aluminum injection mold recently built and having successfully completed trials was machined from the largest block of production tooling-grade aluminum ever forged anywhere in the world
Unique Tool & Gauge builds mold from largest 7000 Series aluminum block ever forged
Unique Tool & Gauge (Windsor, ON) and Alcan Aluminum, a global supplier of aluminum for a variety of industries including moldmaking, collaborated on a mold for front wheel-well liners for a high-volume sedan that is produced in the U.S. The 11,000-lb forging of Alumold 500 measured 70 x 52 x 31 inches, and is the largest forging ever done in 7000 Series aluminum, according to Alcan’s Manager of Customer Applications Engineering, Dan Popescu.
Ontario Shop Takes Up Efforts to Produce Skilled Workers
Many machine shops in the United States and Canada are working to remedy a shortage of skilled workers. For some, the efforts include linking up with local technical colleges and universities, establishment of apprenticeship programs, and outreach to high schools to encourage students to consider manufacturing as a viable career choice.
For most, however, strategies for finding and employing qualified workers are evolving, with management weighing the option of investing to develop those who are willing to learn machine-operating skills and, most important, stick with a training program and an employer. Among those companies that are ramping up investment efforts is Unique Tool & Gauge Inc., of Windsor, Ont., Canada.
Breaking New Ground With Aluminum Molds
According to Darcy King, president of the family-owned, 65-employee strong Unique Tool, the company began developing aluminum molds six years ago as part of project with Japanese automaker Honda. "Honda was looking to lower tooling and production costs while maintaining part quality," King said. "We presented them with the concept of using aluminum molds for high volume applications, which they liked, and we're now involved in a co-management arrangement with them."
Aluminum is continuing to gain ground in selected high-volume injection mold tooling, with General Motors Co. now launching its first parts using the lightweight material. Detroit-based GM uses aluminum for a map pocket for the Chevrolet Volt, said David Okonski, manager of the research and development engineering lab, during the Society of Plastics Engineers’ Automotive Thermoplastic Polyolefins conference, held Oct. 5 in Troy.
Unique Tool & Gauge acquires Gauge Rite Inc.
Unique Tool & Gauge Inc., a Windsor, Ontario manufacturer of both steel and aluminum molds for the automotive industry, announced the acquisition of Gauge Rite Inc., also in Windsor. Gauge Rite is a supplier of gauges and fixtures to Unique as well as other customers in the tooling and mold industry. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.
Production Aluminum Tooling: What's Holding You Back?
Quality. Cycle time. Cost. These four words define the business-success paradigm for today’s injection molder, particularly those who serve the automotive industry. Now, if there were a technology available to you that could help you in all three of these critical areas, and it wouldn’t require new investments in machines, wouldn’t force wholesale replacement of your workforce, and wouldn’t change much of anything except for improvements to your bottom line, could you afford not to pursue it?
Additional links to UTG in the media
- Honda sets the stage for broader use of aluminum molds
- Aluminating tooling
- Aluminum tooling speeds delivery and cuts cycle time
- Why aluminum tooling makes sense for high volume automotive parts
- Aluminum injection tooling - how to use maintain it
- Aluminum tooling proves its mettle