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May 27, 2002

4 Min Read
Picture-perfect productivity wins the prize


The folks at Ontario Plastics—like (left to right) Gerard Reynolds, Kevin Hayes, Andy Schneider, and Ralph Barnes—credit their success on a 56-year-old corporate culture based on loyalty, pride in workmanship, and never being satisfied.

Lean manufacturing, continuous quality improvement, value-added service, partnering—long before the phrases were coined to describe such principles they were already being practiced at Ontario Plastics Inc. (Rochester, NY). Since 1946, working out of its plant on Dewey Ave.—originally a Ford Model-T dealership—this small, family-owned and -operated custom molder has exceeded customer expectations. Last year one of its oldest customers officially recognized its efforts, work ethic, and loyalty.

Ontario Plastics is the first injection molder to become an officially certified supplier to Eastman Kodak Co., a Rochester neighbor. It won this preferred supplier status in the eyes of Kodak's buyers because it can meet Kodak's quality and delivery goals and has the systems in place to achieve year-to-year, double-digit improvements in productivity. Ontario Plastics already molds more than 400 different Kodak parts. With the certification comes a promise of a significant increase in volume.

Ontario Plastics was one of the first molders of plastic camera parts for Kodak. It even warehoused parts for the company when its customer ran out of room. Over the years it has won several of Kodak's valued supplier awards. But the OEM changed the criteria for evaluating its suppliers a couple of years ago, intensifying its quality auditing procedures, among other things. Though it had put an MRP system in place and had started on its ISO registration, Ontario Plastics was notified that it had much more to do to meet the newer, elevated Kodak standards.


Ontario Plastics started out with HPM machines. It has since switched to Van Dorn Demags and maintains a reputation as a full-service supplier. In the 1950s, it molded the heads for Howdy Doody dolls and painted them upstairs.

Following the recommendations of Kodak's auditor, the folks at Ontario Plastics rolled up their sleeves, won the first ISO 9001:2000 certification in the area in September 2001, passed the Kodak criteria in December with flying colors, and were handed the certification in March of this year.

It's a Family Affair
That's the true secret of Ontario Plastics' success. Almost everyone in the factory, all 30 to 35 of them, is either a descendant of the founding fathers and original employees, a neighbor, or a close family friend. Many have worked there an average of 20 to 30 years. Employee turnover is probably less than part returns, which are practically nonexistent. They have no job titles on their business cards, if they have a card, but everybody knows exactly what to do and how to do it.

Ontario Plastics is privately held with sales around $5 million. It molds more than 1 million tight-tolerance, high-precision custom and proprietary parts every month at its 56,000-sq-ft facility, mostly out of PP and HDPE, but also out of PEEK, PEI, PC, ABS, and other ETPs. It operates 20 presses, ranging from 75 to 450 tons. All are Van Dorn Demags, including five new HT models with advanced Pathfinder 5500 controllers. As part of the Kodak initiative, a Windows-based SPC software system was installed that tracks part weight in real time right out of the machine.

The molder builds complete tools up to 350 tons with up to 16 cavities, 20 to 25 each year, 85 percent of which are for in-house use. It has close to 1000 active molds and does up to five changeovers, 24/5. Secondaries include assembly, ultrasonic welding, solvent bonding, prototyping, structural foam, and insert molding. CAD/CAM and DFM work, performed in-house and in conjunction with outside partners, is done with Unigraphics, SolidWorks, and MasterCAM software.

Low-volume, quick-turnaround molding of complex components and assemblies with top-quality and on-time delivery are Ontario Plastics' specialties. The company focuses on industrial OEM parts and has been awarded several official recognitions for its quality, delivery, and pricing, along with repeat business over the years from most of its customers—not just Kodak.

Contact information
Ontario Plastics Inc.
Rochester, NY
Gerard Reynolds
(716) 663-2644

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