Canadian Plastics

Injection molder Otto Engineering upgrades space, adds seven new presses

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The new injection molding machines, from LS Mtron, will help the Illinois-based company keep up with business growth.

The molding department team at Otto Engineering. Photo Credit: Otto Engineering/Next Step Communications Inc.

In a classic growth story, specialty switch maker Otto Engineering Inc. has moved into a new 25,000-square-foot molding shop and will equip it with seven new injection presses to meet growing demand that’s expected to boost the firm’s annual sales to US$145 million.

Founded in 1961 in the basement of company founder Jack Roeser in Park Ridge, Ill., Carpentersville, Ill.-based Otto Engineering makes control products and communication accessories for aerospace, heavy equipment, marine, and medical applications; and currently employs 535 workers, including 17 apprentices working on two-year contracts.

In February 2022, the company poured the concrete for a new molding operations floor and moved into the 25,000-square-foot molding shop that Thanksgiving. Under-floor utilities such as water, power, compressed air, and exhaust “keep the molding floor clean and pristine,” said Ed Trowbridge, senior manager of manufacturing operations. The new facility is part of a campus with company offices and the controls and communications divisions. A nearby technical centre that handles machining, stamping, and tool and die fabrication.

Otto Engineering typically molds 200 to 300 parts in a given run, company officials said in a news release, but orders can run as high as 1 million parts or more for customers that include the U.S. Department of Defense. The company produces a wide array of audio components ranging from switches and other parts for headsets to surveillance kits, headphones, military headsets and speaker microphones used by police; and it also also designs its own products, some of which are sold under the private labels of other well-known brands. One of the firm’s most high-profile projects was producing more than 900 switches for NASA’s Orion spacecraft.


The seven new injection molding machines are from LS Mtron, and will help Otto Engineering keep up with business growth, according to Tony Scianna, the company’s senior procurement specialist. Two of the new machines are 35-ton, all-electric presses, and were installed in the new molding shop and have been running since October while the other five should be delivered by fall 2023.

Many of Otto Engineering’s existing molding machines are uniquely paired with cranes directly over the press. “We execute over 100 mold changes per week,” Ed Trowbridge said. “That’s not unusual here – we specialize in fast mold changeovers. With our custom cranes, only one person is required to replace molds – and the mold is always over the machine, never the operator, for maximum safety.”

With 2023 sales forecast at US$145 million, Otto Engineering expects the seven new LS Mtron presses to play a big part of its strategy to continue growing as a global player in custom precision injection molding, the news release said.

LS Mtron was founded by South Korean tech giant LG Corp., and is represented in Canada by Plastics Machinery Inc., of Newmarket, Ont.


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