Home-grown tool design shop reaches top of its field
When there is a tough tool to design, C & C Design of Wisconsin gets the call. Why would a tool shop that has its own designer on staff call C & C Design? "We usually get the tough jobs that they can't afford to spend the time on," say Paul Cate, C & C Design founder and owner.
For Paul, the challenge is nothing but new. He started C & C Design as a one-man shop over twenty years ago, when he was injured working as a machinist. Since then, the company has grown to employ seven top-notch designers, and occupies a 5,000 ft2 building in Cottage Grove, WI.
C & C Design serves several types of customers: tool shops, molding facilities, and end-user manufacturers. Explains Cate: "We do everything that has to do with the tooling aspect of design, whether it's a tool design, product development, or inspection of products for moldability. We do a lot of work on product changes and modifications."
Customers come from a variety of industries, from automotive and medical equipment to consumer products and electronics. Cell phone battery cases, flashlights, thermostats, automotive window knobs – these are some of the products we all use that were likely to have some design work done by C & C.
Challenge: Doing the jobs others can’t
"We specialize in all types of molding – conventional injection molding, multi-cavity, two and three-shot, auto unscrewing, shuttle/rotary, insert/hand load, hot runner systems – you name it," says Cate. "Most of our work is plastics, but we also do some aluminum die cast design and zinc tooling. One thing you see more these days is two-material products. We've been doing these for twenty years, but you certainly see more of them today."
A big part of the day-to-day challenges C & C Design faces is the quality of the parts data they receive from their customers. "CimatronE data translators do a great job. Some of the shops are really behind in terms of the software they use," says Cate. "We often get jobs that come with no 3D, just 2D dxf or igs files. To create the mold design, we end up fixing a lot of non-native 3D part files in CimatronE. Not having to work in a closed solid really speeds things up."
Solution: CimatronE brings higher productivity and speed
When it comes to design software, C & C relies solely on CimatronE. "It's a simple decision," say Cate. "CimatronE enables us to do more design work better and faster. It makes us more productive; we can handle many more customers with our existing resources."
Results: The formula for success
Cate has found a simple yet effective formula for success: find your niche, serve your customers right, hire good people, and give them the best tools to get the job done. In over twenty years of existence, C & C has never laid off an employee. In an industry that has seen many downtimes throughout the years, this is quite a remarkable feat.
Then again, that's what C & C Design does best, as Paul Cate attests: "We’ve established a reputation for taking the most challenging jobs and turning high quality designs in very short timeframes. That's why customers keep coming back to us."