About Us – Founding and Growth
Jim Hitchcock, a journeyman moldmaker, founded Hitchcock Tool in 1997. As a prototype mold shop, initially his work targeted aftermarket auto parts and prototype inventions. Those early molds featured aluminum frames with nickel-plated core and cavity. During those first few years, it became apparent, that the plastic molding industry was lacking in good, low cost, aluminum mold bases that could be rapidly shipped to moldmakers upon demand. Most molders machined their own aluminum molds because they couldn’t justify the cost of a steel mold – and no aluminum mold bases were readily available for purchase.
In 2004, Mr. Hitchcock changed the company model to concentrate on producing ready-to-buy and made-to-order aluminum mold bases. As customers continued to need aluminum bases, we continued to increase our standard sizes and stock of mold bases. In 2005, the company changed its name to American Quality Molds, a name Mr. Hitchcock believed reflects the values and commitment to American quality and workmanship. This is a value he instilled and a value that we still hold to today.
In May of 2018, Shrader Enterprises LLC, owned by Rick Shrader, purchased American Quality Molds (AQM). Mr. Shrader not only continued to stress the values and commitment to quality that AQM was founded on, but he also committed to increasing the size, quantity, and breadth of on-the-shelf mold bases to be better able to meet customer needs and have even quicker delivery times. Today, we have all of our standard size mold plates and components pre-machined, ready to grind, and do final checks and assembly. Delivery in most cases is 1-3 days.
In early 2020, AQM moved into a larger facility in Richmond, IN. The larger facility allowed for better work flow, more raw and finished goods inventory, improved assembly and shipping lines, and for more machines. With the move we also purchased a larger VMC and tooling to allow for production of even larger mold bases. This continued investment is all to serve our customers better.
During 2020, AQM set record levels of production as molders and medical suppliers struggled to meet medical equipment and personal protective gear demands due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These needs were recognized by local, state and federal governments, who, in-turn, directed funding into grants for manufacturers to be better prepared when or if these needs arise again. AQM was awarded a State of Indiana Conexus Manufacturing Readiness Grant to invest in more equipment and capabilities to be even better prepared to support these needs during another potential pandemic or supply chain crisis.
As we have grown, AQM is also working with shops who are trying to expand into the Injection Molding industry. We are helping to do design and 3D work, to bring products from design to market. We look forward to supporting your shop too!