News | March 4, 2022

For 50 Years, Pioneering Plastics Manufacturer Has Grown By Getting Smaller And Smaller

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CHARLTON, MA– What started 50 years ago as a small tool and die shop has grown into a global leader of a niche industry that didn’t even exist at the time. MTD Micro Molding has a long history of investing in innovation to best respond to its customers’ rapidly evolving needs. It’s a philosophy and strategy that made them pioneers in plastics manufacturing, helping medical OEMs to successfully produce the smallest, most complex medical device breakthroughs.

Richard J. Tully founded MTD, then called Miniature Tool & Die, in the basement of his 200-year-old colonial home in Charlton, Massachusetts in 1972. The main product at that time was making connector molds for the electronics industry. After investing in new EDM technologies, expanding its capabilities, and growing its business at multiple locations in Worcester, MTD finally moved into a new 16,500 square-foot facility in Charlton in 1998.

MTD began working on a new niche: micro injection molding. Very little was known about micro mold building or micro molding at the time, but MTD’s medical OEM customers were quick to encourage the company to explore this field more. With the region’s rich history in the plastics industry—particularly modern injection molding—MTD was able to attract top plastics engineers to join its team of expert toolers. In 2002, MTD participated in an 18-month long Mass MEP assessment to establish whether changing the business focus to micro molding could be sustainable. By 2006, they purchased two molding machines, began working on high-volume bioabsorbable components, and were awarded an NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to study the microflow of plastics. The investment paid off. Within just two years, MTD’s micro molding business surpassed micro tooling for the first time.

Dennis Tully took over the business when his father retired in 2008. In 2010, the company name changed to MTD Micro Molding to reflect its micromolding focus. Offering both micro tooling and micro molding in-house enabled customers to get their micro components to market faster—which was critical for medical OEMs. To optimize their manufacturing processes, Dennis decided to narrow MTD’s focus even more: medical micro molding.

Inspired by what his father set in motion, Dennis established MTD’s five core values: Be the First, Be the Best, Be Responsible, Be a Team, and Ever Forward.

Like his father, Dennis knew that being “innovative” wasn’t a marketing slogan. It meant a continual investment in technology, capabilities, and people—all with a focus on responding to the emerging needs and challenges of their customers. MTD was the first in North America to purchase and customize equipment like the Sarix EDM milling machine and Mitsubishi MX600 oil wire EDM machine, enabling the efficient production of micro medical designs that were thought impossible to manufacture. It was the first in its industry to hire a full-time R&D engineer, who is devoted to exploring what new micro molding materials and capabilities are possible. Additionally, ten percent of its annual revenue is invested in these internal R&D projects. This created a strong problem-solving culture at MTD that sees each challenge or “impossible” design as an opportunity to advance innovation forward yet again.

These values also drove business. Under Dennis’ leadership, MTD more than doubled its workforce and achieved significant growth, twice placing MTD on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list. In 2018, MTD was named the Plastics News Processor of the Year, the plastics industry’s most prestigious award, becoming the smallest company to win the title in its 22 years. MTD was also recognized as Plastics News Best Places to Work in Plastics for four consecutive years. And Dennis Tully, who unexpectedly passed away in 2019, was posthumously inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame, a distinctive honor bestowed on individuals from around the world who shaped the direction and future of the plastics industry.

This tremendous growth spurred a building expansion in 2021, which allowed MTD to further increase medical manufacturing capacity and add new services, including custom assembly and packaging solutions.

Going forward, the new generation of MTD plastics engineers and micro medical experts will continue partnering with OEMs to redefine the boundaries of what’s possible.

As CEO Gary Hulecki says, “MTD remains committed to the strategy and values set by Richard and Dennis Tully for the past 50 years. As the demand for even smaller devices with tighter tolerances continues to grow, our team will stay ahead of emerging trends to respond quickly, precisely, and efficiently to our customers’ needs and challenges.”

Learn more about MTD’s history: https://go.mtdmicromolding.com/e/292982/about-history-/22tb3ty/1357338338?h=2QkzCXf1yAWnro0EZuFBbIgqOvw0jYwSKN---diCa6E
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About MTD Micro Molding

Founded in 1972, MTD Micro Molding custom-crafts ultra-precision molded components that meet the exact requirements of companies in the medical device industry. In-house tooling, unparalleled bioabsorbable molding expertise, ISO 13485 certified systems, state of the art equipment – all under one roof. Our exclusive focus on bioabsorbable and drug delivery medical micro molding ensures the successful delivery of complex custom products that nobody else can produce.

To learn more, visit mtdmicromolding.com or come tour our facility in Charlton, Mass.