Toy Manufacturer Secures Grant for New Custom Molding Division

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plastic toysLittle Tikes Co. is one of the largest toy manufacturers in the country. While the plastic toys that they make might not seem very technical, the process by which many of them are made certainly is. According to Crain’s Cleveland Business, a news site located near the Ohio-based toy company, Little Tikes was awarded a two-year $250,000 grant through the Ohio Development Services Agency, with the help of the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) in Cleveland.

“We’re open for business,” said Bill Cofield, Little Tikes’ vice president of operations.

The grant will allow the toy company to expand the process by which it makes many of its products, called rotational molding. Rotomolding, as it’s known colloquially, is an extremely unique process that involves heat to melt and fuse plastic resin in a closed mold. It’s a four-stage process that doesn’t use any pressure, unlike most plastic molding processes.

Little Tikes has used this sort of technology for some time, but with the grant money — and the $250,000 matching investment the toy company is chipping in themselves — they will create a subdivision called LT Molding Solutions. This new division will exclusively use custom molding technologies and could create as many as 400 jobs in the area.

“We have a strong production capability, with the capacity and technology that we have on the shop floor, and the years of experience that we have out there,” Cofield said. “And our world-class distribution center is able to ship anywhere in the world, when the customer needs it, and how they need it.”

According to Cofield, employment at the toy company tends to fluctuate with the seasons by sale volume. For example, the pre-holiday season always gets a boost, so they’re hoping the new division will help control that flow more consistently.

Little Tikes is already one of the largest rotomolding manufacturers in the country, and the additions this grant will bring should only bolster their reputation in this space.

Once the custom molding products division is launched, the company is estimating that they will generate about $10 million in sales along the supply chain.

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