In Memorium: Tony Sikorcin, Founder of Craftsman Tool & Mold
Sikorcin started working in the tool and die trade as a tool grinder and tool technician. He moved from tool grinding to running a Keller duplicating machine. This fueled his love for the trade and the desire to run his own business.
He started Craftsman Tool & Mold Company in 1965, in Franklin Park, Illinois. At its inception, Craftsman Tool & Mold had 10 moldmakers and built plastic injection molds. One of his machine purchases was a Cincinnati Hydrotel, which changed the course of his business. Its travels were large enough to build dashboards and headlight fixtures for the automobile industry. These large travels brought moldmakers to Craftsman from throughout the country, revealing an industry need for a company that specialized in large custom mold bases. This was the beginning of Sikorcin’s new business plan and industry niche, which remains in place today. He quickly outgrew the facility in Franklin Park – the loading and unloading of semi trucks became an issue because the trucks were constantly blocking the alleys. Neighbors were complaining, so it was time to relocate.
Craftsman moved to Aurora, Illinois, in 1986, occupying a 40,000-square-foot building. Moving and the pouring of concrete foundations took longer than anticipated. Bills were coming in, but no work was going out when Kodak contacted Sikorcin, looking for a custom mold base builder for the company’s disc camera product line. One of the project managers at Kodak had seen a Craftsman calendar hanging on the wall when visiting one of Kodak’s customers. The capacity to make a large mold base was just what Kodak needed.
Sikorcin would always say, “Kodak came just in time,” stated Scott Smith, director of sales for Craftsman. With a secure customer and Sikorcin’s dedication to detail in whatever he did, Craftsman became the most sought after custom company for large, tight-tolerance injection mold bases in the country. Many companies made bases; however, not many catered to large, tight-tolerance frames. Craftsman is still thriving today and employs 43 people.
Tony’s son, Wayne Sikorcin, president of Craftsman, said, “I feel so honored to have been able to work alongside my dad in our family business. I will miss sharing my day’s victories and also the struggles with him. He always understood where I was coming from.”
Tony Sikorcin was one of the founding members of the AMBA (American Mold Builders Association), which was established in 1973.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to iWarriors.org, in support of service members wounded in the military.
Call for Nominations: AMBA 2018 Mold Builder and Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Awards
AMBA Mold Builder of the Year
Nominations are now being accepted for the 16th Annual Mold Builder of the Year Award. The award was instituted to recognize outstanding contributions made by an AMBA member. The recipient of this prestigious award will be an outstanding business leader, dedicated to the industry and an active member of the AMBA. Last year’s Mold Builder of the Year Award was presented to Joseph Genc, Jr., Graphic Tool Corporation, Itasca, Illinois.
AMBA Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Award
Call out for the AMBA 2018 Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Award is officially underway. First presented to Westminster Tool, Inc., in 2017, the award was established to recognize AMBA member accomplishments that have resulted in a notable impact in the area of education. Nominees will be AMBA member companies that have made great strides in education and/or recruitment over the past 12 months; have increased mold manufacturing industry visibility amongst students, parents, teachers and/or counselors and have plans to continue educational outreach.
The 2018 AMBA Mold Builder and Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Award winners will be announced during the upcoming Annual AMBA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, February 14-16, 2018, at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel; in national industry publications (including AMBA’s The American Mold Builder magazine) and posted on the AMBA website. The award recipients will receive a $5,000 scholarship grant from Progressive Components to be donated to the industry-related educational program of their choice. Visit www.amba.org for more information or to download a nomination form. Deadline for nominations is Jan. 5, 2018.
Alliance/iWarriors Golf Outing Scores Big
AMBA sponsored the Alliance/iWarriors Golf Scramble on September 15 to benefit the iWarriors program. The Mission: Raise $15,000 to support wounded members of the armed forces with iPad gift sets. Mission accomplished! The event was a huge success, as AMBA members from across the US, iWarriors supporters and the entire Alliance Laser Sales team rallied to raise $25,365.53 at the golf outing and fund-raising event. According to Tony Demakis, Alliance Laser Sales, “We had 90 golfers and over 100 people at dinner. We are extremely proud of our team, partners and the industry for coming together as a community to bring positive change to people’s lives.” For information on donating or putting together an “In Shop Challenge,” visit www.iwarriors.org.
AMMA Grants Boost Technology in Local Schools
AMBA members, industry suppliers, educators and school and government officials rallied around the installation of a new 5-axis CNC machine (donated by DMG Mori) at the Lincoln High School Career & Technical Education Center (Lincoln CTE) this fall in Warren, Michigan. AMBA members Rick Hecker, Eifel Mold & Engineering; John Hill, Midwest Mold; and David Loehr, Precision Mold, were on hand to stress the importance of community involvement to support students in a manufacturing career path after high school. Eifel Mold recently was awarded a $10,000 grant through the AMBA American Mold Manufacturing Advancement (AMMA) Fund, which was contributed to support the CNC technology with training.
Likewise, Extreme Tool & Engineering, Wakefield, Michigan, recently matched a $7,500 AMMA grant to donate $15,000 in support of Northwoods Manufacturing’s industrial arts offerings. A new 12-week course will expose high school students and adults to the injection moldmaking process, from concept and design through sampling and validation. In Romeo, Michigan, TK Mold & Engineering will use its $10,000 AMMA grant award to support the Romeo Engineering and Technical Center with new textbooks and promotional materials to advertise the program. These AMBA members have all utilized the AMMA grants to support their communities, close the skills gap and grow the future of American mold manufacturing.
AMBA awarded $60,000 in AMMA grants in August and just closed the second phase of the grant, with the goal of awarding another $40,000 to AMBA member organizations that are impacting their communities. Stay tuned for the 2018 AMMA grant launch in March.
Precision Mold & Machining Services Inc.
David Loehr, President
Founded in 1984, Precision Mold & Machining Services offers a complete line of machining and plastic injection mold services for a wide variety of industries. Precision Mold & Machining Services is ISO 9001:2008 certified and has more than 30 years of experience in machining and in the production, modification and repair of plastic injection molds.
Chris Lavery, Vice President of Manufacturing
R&D/Leverage USA, headquartered in Missouri, services the food and beverage, home and personal care and healthcare industries. It is the only company to offer both structural brand development and mold manufacturing capabilities. Structural brand development capabilities are upfront research, such as retail audits that include trend and color study, ethnographic research, consumer focus groups, concept development, validation and implementation. Mold manufacturing capabilities include full mold manufacturing for PET tooling, IBM tooling and injection molds, as well as unit tool development, testing, validation and training.
Graphel Carbon Products
Aileen Crass, Marketing Manager
Graphel Carbon Products has built a strong reputation for its broad precision graphite machining capabilities, value-added services and processes. From precision-ground EDM graphite blanks and machined graphite parts to print services, Graphel Carbon Products manufactures for a variety of industries, including plastic injection moldmakers, gas turbine engine manufacturing, power generation manufacturing and medical and furnace applications.