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Over the past 25 years, Ontario-based LSR molder Silcotech North America has grown from two employees and two machines into a thriving global firm with some unique product accomplishments. But they’re nowhere near satisfied.

Michael Maloney and Isolde Boettger on the Silcotech shop floor. Photo Credit: Raphael Boettger

The business landscape is littered, unfortunately, with the remains of companies that took a single misstep and came crashing down. For a vivid reminder, Target’s entry into the Canadian market in 2013 was its first foray in international expansion, and it ended in failure two short years later, when the big-box retailer shuttered all 133 stores in the country.

But sometimes it’s done right. Silcotech North America Inc., for example, is a Bolton, Ont.-based liquid silicone rubber (LSR) molder that ventured out on its own 13 years ago and hasn’t looked back.

Silcotech, which celebrated its 25th year in business in 2023, was started with co-founders Michael Maloney and Isolde Boettger as the only two employees, with two molding machines in a small, rented space in Bolton – and today the company is global, with well over 100 employees, doing business out of its own highly automated, state-of-the-art facility in Bolton, and with a facility near New Delhi called Silcotech Bonny Products Pvt Ltd., that began operations in 2009 and serves the broader Asian market in addition to India.



The firm’s roots go back even further to when Maloney was gaining experience in injection molding design and manufacturing automation while working in Boston as the technical director for Netstal USA in the early 1980s, which is also when Silcotech AG in Switzerland was founded by Udo Lange, a friend of Maloney. Boettger, meanwhile, had obtained a Master of Education degree in her native Germany before moving to Canada with her family in 1981, where she subsequently gained valuable industry experience by working for a North American firm that distributed Heitec hot runners (she’s also the sister of hot runner expert Paul Boettger, who owns Toronto-based Technojet Machinery Corp.). Moving to southern Ontario in early 1998, Maloney partnered with Isolde to found Silcotech North America in May of that year as part of the Silcotech global group. Udo Lange and his brother Holger were minority shareholders in Silcotech North America until they sold their interest in the Swiss business in 2010 to the Sealing Solutions business unit of global engineering firm Trelleborg Group – which is when Maloney and Boettger decided to go it alone. “Isolde and I were only 12 years into Silcotech at that point, but we knew we didn’t want to be part of a conglomerate, so we bought the company and continued it as a separate corporation, and the only independent Silcotech in the world,” Maloney said.

Undaunted, Maloney and Boettger continued to expand the company, pick up key accounts, and add key personnel. In 2017, the firm invested $2 million to expand its Bolton headquarters plant by adding injection molding machinery, tooling, and floor space to keep pace with growth for its LSR components.

And its customer list was also growing, resulting in some interesting and diverse product developments. Two Silcotech customers, Diva International and Trudell Medical International, have both produced products that have revolutionized health care; the Diva Cup is used by women globally for safe, cost-effective, and eco-friendly period care; and the Trudell Medical line of breathing products are also used worldwide to improve medication delivery to clear patient’s airways. Silcotech helped both companies develop and bring their products to market and has molded millions of parts for both. “These were among our first two big accounts, and it was a risk for us at first because very few LSR molders were making products like these at the time – especially with the Diva Cup, which no other molder wanted to work on,” Boettger said. “But Michael and I both agreed that these were areas we wanted to get into, and we embraced the opportunities.”

And in 2015, Silcotech collaborated with LSR supplier Dow Corning to mold an LSR iPhone cover composed of nine distinct LSRs, with eight different shades of LSR down the back, and each of those different colours featuring a unique durometer from 20 to 75 Shore A, plus another LSR for the phone case’s housing. Molded in a one-shot process and displayed at the MD&M West show that year, the cover drew a lot of attention from attendees. Codenamed “Canvas,” Silcotech kept the novel technology under its own roof as a trade secret and has used it to make other parts for other customers since.

Maloney is now Silcotech’s president and Boettger is vice president, and the company’s executive management team has been further fleshed out over the years as chief financial officer Viren Aggarwal joined in 2009, chief operating officer Yogesh Chauhan joined in 2010, and business development manager Daniel Morris – who Maloney had first met when Morris was the sales and marketing director of Netstal USA – joined in 2015. By 2017 the firm employed about 120 workers, which remains the approximate total today.


Silcotech’s current primary markets are medical and health care, automotive, packaging, and consumer electronics, where the elastomeric properties of LSR are in rising demand. And they’re rising because of LSR’s special benefits as a two-part silicone-based polymer joined together by a chemical bond. “LSR is a very unique material with unique mechanical properties,” Morris said. “It has superior heat stability, low-temperature flexibility, aging resistance, chemical resistance, electrical resistance, and great shelf-life reliability. All of these make it a good fit for injection molded parts for products used in industries such as medical, automotive, food, appliances, textiles, and consumer goods.”

Silcotech’s quality system certifications include ISO 9001, ISO 13485, ISO 14001, and TS 16949. “We’re also registered with U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards and Health Canada standards,” Chauhan said. And the company encourages employee engagement to improve processes and technologies, with considerable help from Boettger’s educational background. “Because of my training as a teacher, I enjoy helping our employees develop their skillsets to bring out the best in them, and we’ve been particularly successful with the staff that have been with us for many years because we get to know what their strengths are and what jobs are best suited for them,” she said. “These efforts have enhanced employee satisfaction and resulted in very low turnover.”

Boettger and the rest of Silcotech management are also committed to supporting the advancement of women in the company. “We’ve had some real success stories in this area – the current head of our packaging and final inspection department is a lady originally from India who has risen through our ranks through hard work and natural ability, which we were able to foster,” Boettger said. “We have more women in the company now than ever before, and we’re hoping to add more on the technical side going forward.”

Machinery-wise, the firm relies exclusively on Arburg injection presses, and recently bought two new Arburg machines – an all-electric 110 ton Allrounder 470 A 1000-290 Comfort, and an all-electric 220 ton Allrounder 570 A 2000-400 Comfort, both with LIM/LSR molding options and thermoplastic molding capabilities – for a total of 29 presses, with clamps from 25 to 250 tons. “The two new machines are sizes where increased capacity is needed and were added to handle growing business volume,” Chauhan said.

Arburg was chosen as the supplier of all Silcotech’s machines because of their long history of success providing machines for LSR applications, Maloney said. “Arburg and Engel are the only two significant OEMs offering LSR options for their machines, and Arburg’s presses feature a sound mechanical design and a very progressive control system,” he said. “Other brands play in the LSR space, but they don’t have the experience to deliver.” For co-injection of silicone onto a thermoplastic substrate, specific molding machines are identified in the firm’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to keep them separate from presses that only mold silicone rubber.

Silcotech’s Bolton headquarters currently has 22,500 square feet of space, and the company also occupies a nearby 10,000-square-foot warehouse for extra storage. “We also own the property behind our plant for future expansion, if necessary,” Maloney said. Silcotech North America does a “small amount” of automotive work at the Tier 3 level, Maloney continued, but it’s not something the company is actively pursuing. “Eighty per cent of our molding is medical or health care, including breast pumps, hearing protection devices, and respiratory care products,” he said.


In addition to its expertise in LSR molding, Maloney credits Silcotech’s emphasis on tooling as key to meeting LSR molding challenges. “We design our own tooling and build some of it, because LSR tooling is very specialized – the molds need to conduct heat very well, so they tend to not be stainless steel in the areas of the heated tool area,” he said. “That aside, we use H13 high hardness tool steel.”

And the firm is also becoming an automation designer and developer, as more and more of its customers are requesting post-molding part assembly. “Most silicone rubber parts are assembled or attached to something – either a metal part or another plastic part – and we can create multiple components in a single mold shot, pull out the components, and then do the assembly inline with our own automation,” Maloney said. As a welcome side effect, Maloney continued, this production style reduces overall costs. “Most traditional injection molders spend the most money on getting the part together – inventorying the individual elements of a part and then reorganizing them into a status where you can actually do the assembly – and not on molding it,” he said. “But we avoid that, because our multi-shot solutions give us the ability to create multiple runnerless components within a single tool, with the advantage that we understand the registration and location of those parts, so if they need to go together, we can discretely mold individual elements, understand their registration, pick them up, and assemble them upon removal. It adds a level of complexity in the manufacturing process, but it reduces a huge amount of cost in inventory and supply chain management.”

LSR parts in production at Silcotech. Photo Credit: Silcotech North America Inc.

Another quirk of LSR molding revolves around the materials themselves. “Because silicone has active chemistry, it has a limited shelf life – typically 12 to 18 months – which can be further cut short by temperature fluctuations in the plant, so it has to be stored carefully in a cool environment and used before either its expiry or best-before date,” Maloney said. Which caused a problem for some LSR molders during the COVID-19 pandemic, he added. “Some shops bought too much material at the outset, only to have it expire – and then get thrown out, unused – when orders slowed down and they couldn’t mold with it quickly enough,” Maloney said. “And then they ran low in the long run. So, for the good of the LSR industry, we sold some of our own material to competitors that had run short, which was an interesting dynamic.”

And sometimes this competition doesn’t come just from other dedicated LSR molders. “We do encounter some large plastic custom molders that have added a bit of silicone to some parts in order to get into this space – and we do very well against them, because incorporating silicone isn’t as easy as they think,” Maloney said.


Going forward after having hit the quarter-century mark, Maloney and Boettger have a plan for Silcotech North America that includes both continuous improvement and further expansion. “A few years ago, we decided to improve our turnaround time on quotes for new business, and we set a goal then of getting a quote out within 24 hours, and we can usually do it now – but we want to do it with every quote, barring an unusual circumstance,” Maloney said. “Our philosophy is, if you don’t set a target, you don’t meet a target.”

The company also wants to double the size of its business within the next five years. “We’ve seen growth in the 15 to 20 per cent per year range over the past two years and keeping that pace in FY2024 and beyond is going to require staffing up and also adding more automation, but we’re committed,” Maloney said. “Ultimately, our job is to keep our customers more competitive, which means being more efficient in terms of the overall process, value-added additions like assembly, and less touching of parts. We believe we were ahead of our time in our early days in developing LSR molding applications that most molding companies wouldn’t take on, and we’re not slowing down now.”


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