Made in Eastern Iowa: MSI Mold Builders and big competition

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- If fortune favors the bold, Roger Klouda's good fortune at MSI Mold Builders should not be a surprise.

MSI Mold Builders, in Cedar Rapids, claims to make the world’s best mold. The company points to quality, efficiency and a swift turnaround for its success in North America.

Klouda insists MSI, on Sixth Street SW in Cedar Rapids, produces the world's best molds.

"MSI manufactures medium to large injection molds," said Klouda, president of MSI Mold Builders. "Molds that people squirt with plastic to make them plastic parts. While you may find plastic parts relatively inexpensive, the molds used to make the plastic parts are very expensive. It's not unusual for a lot of our tools to cost between $80 (thousand) and $1 million dollars. Inside this building, we’re making the molds that will come out in 1 or 2 years for your car, just ski, your four-wheeler, the molds start right here in Eastern Iowa."

The facility started out as a smaller building but the demand to expand grew into more and more square footage on the north end of MSI. Some of it more business. Some of it larger machinery for larger parts.

"It’s growing more on the larger stuff," said sales manager Toby Bral. "We do very large molds and there’s only a few players in that game. A lot are heavily automotive and so they’re in Michigan area. We’re seeing a lot for the large stuff and the attention out of the automotive guys because we can compete on timing and do things faster."

That balance in service -- providing the part but in a quicker turnaround for companies in North America - is what MSI is relying on in this highly-competitive field.

"We’ve got a lot of competition from overseas and Canada and when it comes to price, it means a lot less if you can do it on timelines," said Bral.

Klouda noted a bright future in manufacturing with this combination of machinery and technology. Kirkwood Community College is three miles away, just across I-380. He said that MSI also will pick up the costs of college for any college student who works hours with the company.

"They’re great paying jobs and one of the things we utilize a lot of are interns, primarily from Kirkwood Community College," said Klouda. "We pay 100% of their tuition and books if they work for us ten to fifteen hours a week. Most work 20-30 hours a week but, for the most part, if they work ten to fifteen, we’ll pay 100 percent of their college education. We’re looking for people who are college-capable but not college-focused. They’ve had enough of school, are mechanically-inclined, love computers."

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