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StackTeck has long been known for its technical expertise in the design and building of precision, multicavity molds, and today it defines the phrase “more than just a moldmaker” with turnkey manufacturing systems and partnerships with suppliers and customers globally.

Clare Goldsberry

January 26, 2011

9 Min Read
Plant Tour: A high-end 
mold deserves 
a high-end 
production cell

StackTeck has long been known for its technical expertise in the design and building of precision, multicavity molds, and today it defines the phrase “more than just a moldmaker” with turnkey manufacturing systems and partnerships with suppliers and customers globally.

When StackTeck Systems Ltd. (Brampton, ON) announced its expansion of joint developments with Matrix Technology Specialists Ltd. (Hong Kong) just over a year ago, the two companies embarked on a new business model that combined Matrix’s business re-engineering expertise with StackTeck’s plastic part and mold design and manufacturing capabilities. On June 30, 2010, StackTeck announced the acquisition of Matrix Technology Specialists.


Randy Yakimishyn (left) and Mike Gould chatted with IMM in StackTeck Matrix’s booth at the recent K show, in addition to inviting us to tour their plant.


Over its history, StackTeck Matrix as a company evolved from a moldmaker (StackTeck) to a manufacturer of molding cells such as IML specialty cells, to the development of thin-wall packaging, to the company it is today.


StackTeck Matrix’s Technical Center is equipped with 11 injection molding presses for mold validation and qualification.


The mold manufacturing facility is equipped with a variety of state-of-the-art machine tool technology, giving StackTeck Matrix the flexibility to build molds from single-cavity to extremely large, multicavity stack molds.


StackTeck Matrix demonstrated this system at the K 2010 show in the Mold-Masters booth. This 64-cavity mold runs a sub-5-second cycle.


Inmold labeling offers high-impact, creative packaging alternatives for an expanding range of applications. With molding machine partners and robotic automation partner CBW, StackTeck Matrix designs and builds complete IML cells.


This IML system cell was a joint effort by StackTeck Matrix, Netstal, and CBW. The system can be configured for a wide range of IML parts, and featured automated handling of pre-cut labels, part demolding, and stacking automation.

The resulting company, StackTeck Matrix Systems, now has operations and resources in Toronto, ON; Hong Kong; Bangkok, Thailand; Guadalajara, Mexico; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Boston, MA. StackTeck Matrix Systems starts with intimately understanding its customers’ business, and then delivers flexible molding systems that include re-capitalizing existing machinery and developing flexible manufacturing cells, configurable to various applications.

“This enables our customers to competitively enter new markets,” says Randy Yakimishyn, president and CEO of StackTeck Matrix Systems Americas, which today is a $50 million business. The company specializes in molds for food, beverage, and consumer product packaging for large OEMs.

(Scroll down to view a video of the 4e Technologies system in action.)

Mike Gould, VP of business development for StackTeck Matrix, notes that a “void in the mold manufacturing industry” in terms of total manufacturing solutions for packaging customers provided an opening for the company’s current business model.

Marcus Sutch, president and CEO of StackTeck Matrix Systems Asia, says, “There’s so much nonvalue-add in the injection molded product production process that we saw a unique opportunity to build systems that get closer to the end manufacturer. From the cap and closure and bottle manufacturing to the fill plant, there are millions of dollars of non-value-add cost. We can make these systems more portable, less specialized, and automate them using tools available around the world.”

An international partner
Currently, StackTeck Matrix’s molding systems are installed in 35 countries. Management believes that staying healthy as a business requires growing a strong customer base outside North America. “It’s important to have a global presence,” says Gould. “Healthy companies create healthy relationships.”

“Being a sole supplier to our customers means we’re not commoditized as a moldmaker,” Sutch adds. “We don’t want to own the world, but we do want specific companies that understand the value we provide and what we can do exclusively for those companies.” The company’s goal, he articulates, is “a focused group of very good customers—not a lot of customers. We pick those customers with whom we can grow and be strategic.”

StackTeck Matrix doesn’t give customers what they want—that’s an old model that won’t work in today’s strategic business model. “Give them what they need,” says Sutch, “and if they don’t want it, convince them they need it. Find those customers that want more than just hardware. In the total manufacturing process, the cost of the mold is insignificant.”

Making customers successful in their manufacturing process is key to the company’s success. For example, it helped a customer with a one-cavity battery production cell take the cycle from 70 to 40 seconds. Today, that customer operates seven cells that StackTeck Matrix designed and built with all-electric presses, 20 molds, automation, and end-of-arm tooling, increasing the capacity by 40%. It also reduced costs by taking out non-value-add steps and eliminating WIP (work-in-process). StackTeck articulated the business strategy to the customer, and then brought all the entities together for a successful program.

Next step: Flexibility and sustainability
StackTeck Matrix Systems recently announced the next step in the evolution of its business model called “4e Technologies—Creating Sustainable Solutions.” Sustainability is key for the company’s packaging customers, and 4e Technologies enables StackTeck Matrix and its customers to deepen their partnership, focusing on more output and less resource consumption. The term “4e Technologies” means that all projects are based on long-term sustainability, as well as respect for the environment, community, and long-term benefactors. Additionally, regardless of the end product, there is a common goal to preserve environment, energy, efficiency, and economics (the 4 Es).

This model fits with StackTeck Matrix’s focus on both high- and low-volume applications in food, beverage, and personal care (consumer) packaging, with the goal that every time a mold opens, a finished good is produced. “Our aim is to never lose control of the part,” says Sutch. “Rather than plastic parts raining out of a mold by the thousands, we provide orientation of each part for inline activity, such as printing, laser etching, inspection, and packing.”

Fast, efficient moldmaking
The company recently restructured its mold manufacturing operations to respond better to the dynamic global environment. Following StackTeck Matrix’s Continuous Improvement and Lean Performance Management System, plant workflows were rearranged to eliminate bottlenecks, interruptions, and backlogs.

Like most mold manufacturers, the goal is faster machining to reduce spindle time and improve quality. One of its largest high-speed CNC linear hard-milling machining centers, with a 40,000-rpm spindle speed and a rapid traverse rate of 400 ft/min, has eliminated 60% of the previous EDM cycle, improving delivery times for larger, more complex molds. Flexible programming of larger CNC machines automates multiple production steps and speeds delivery times for larger molds with higher cavitation and multimold programs. Precision milling machine accuracies have eliminated 30% of the EDM stages, while wire EDMs with new heat technology software can cut more intricate geometries 20% faster.

The mold manufacturing floor contains the latest in European and Japanese machine tool technology, including high-speed machining centers and automated EDM workcells. The equipment is laid out in lean manufacturing cells to incorporate multiple steps in one workcell and thereby improve efficiency. There is a bank of high-speed machining centers and a bank of EDMs.

On average, StackTeck Matrix produces 150 high-cavitation molds per year. The company also manufactures its own multilevel hot runners and mold frames, and can machine plates as large as 1.5m by 2m as well as micro components for beverage closures and pharmaceutical applications.

Cells in action
At the time of IMM’s plant tour, the company was prepping a closure manufacturing cell in its Technical Center, which opened in 2000 and is housed in a separate facility across the street from the moldmaking plant in Brampton, ON. This system was for demonstration at the recent K show in Germany (Oct. 27-Nov. 3). Though just minutes from shutting down the mold and crating it for shipment, the process engineer ran several more cycles to show us the cell’s operating capability.

The 64-cavity, all-electric 4e Technologies closure system produces the 1881 (short neck) CSD one-piece closure for Universal Closures. The cap has a patented “flex seal” and tamper-evident band, eliminating the need for a liner. The system incorporates a servo-valve-gate hot runner, six-axis robotics, inline cooling, laser etching, inspection, and boxing for shipment. The mold runs a sub-5-second cycle. The customer who purchased the cell was also in the plant that day, doing final approvals and last-minute quality checks. The Technical Center contains offices for customers during mold qualifications.

Another cell being qualified at the time of our tour contained a four-cavity mold that can be converted to a 2x4 stack mold by adding a second level and modified hot runner. “If you can get a customer to tell you their problem, you can create a system solution,” says Gould. The company is also working on a “flex” cell for closures that can run 32/48/64-cavity molds, according to varying part diameters and production demand.

Eleven injection machines were in the Technical Center during the tour, a number that varies depending on if a machine was shipped in by a customer for R&D and will be shipped out upon completion. “We also work with major machine OEMs to bring in their machines on consignment for a certain period of time to display and demonstrate their latest innovations and product launches,” explains Gould.

The Technical Center houses an IML development cell that includes a six-axis robot and a flex IML dispensing station. This enables the cell to be located on various test room machines to produce marketing and development samples for customers quickly and cost-efficiently.

Yakimishyn sums up StackTeck Matrix’s business philosophy: “Moldmaking is our core business, but we want to offer total molding manufacturing solutions,” he says. “We don’t just want to be on someone’s bid list.” —Clare Goldsberry

Vital Stats
StackTeck Systems Ltd., Brampton, ON
Facility size: Paget #1—engineering, manufacturing, and administration (90,000 ft2); Paget #2—Technical Center for mold validation, qualification, cell qualification, and mold refurbishing (40,000 ft2)
Annual sales: $50 million
Markets served: Packaging, including thin-wall food containers, caps and closures, personal care, pharmaceutical, and beverages; consumer goods
Customers: Many major OEMs such as P&G and Unilever, and packaging specialists such as Amcor and Berry Plastics
Capital investment: As much as 5% of sales annually for the past three years in precision machining and automation
No. of employees: 255
Work hours: Two shifts, six days, plus a flexible swing shift
Molding machines: 11 for testing and qualification, 100-660 tons; Netstal, Husky, Arburg, Engel, and Sumitomo Demag
Moldbuilding equipment: High-speed machining operations, hard-milling, EDM for cores/cavities with complex geometries, surface grinding, gun drilling
Mold technology: Single- and multilevel stack, IML, high-cavitation cap/closure, quick product change, and collapsing cores
Other services: Assembly of closure and other molds; mold testing; central QC (three CMMs compare steel to the model)
Quality: Three central CMMs, UG CAD model comparison protocol, three-person QC department, optical comparators, in-process work center gauging

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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