MCTD is the leading tool-and-die maker

If you make a superior product, the world will find you.

That’s a good thing for MCTD Inc. because no one is going to find the company’s front door simply by driving down the highway.

MCTD is a precision tool-and-die manufacturer whose parts are used by the aerospace, automotive and general manufacturing industries. The 10,400-square-foot company is hidden behind a massive brick building in the Winski Industrial Park on Michigan City’s West Side.

President-owner Timothy Johnson has owned the 28-year-old company for the past six years. Acquiring the business was the realization of a dream for him.

“I had always wanted to run a business and I saw an opportunity,” Johnson said.

Immediately before he acquired MCTD six years ago, Johnson was working for another Michigan City company. He was content there and hoped one day to be general manager, but the opportunity wasn’t there. That’s when he decided to take the plunge and move out on his own.

Today, MCTD (the company originally was known as Michigan City Tool and Die) has 19 employees, many of them with decades of machining and tool-and-die experience.

Johnson says what makes MCTD unique is the ability of its mechanical and electronic control designers to work directly with customers to deliver the precise product a customer requires.

MCTD is not a general production machine company that produces the same fixture over and over. Instead, it’s a specialty machine company that focuses on one-of-a-kind and limited run products.

“We have excellent employees here. There are not many other people who do what we do,” Johnson said. “Michigan City is a good location for us. We’re close to Chicago and southwestern Michigan and South Bend. Going forward, this community presents possibilities for manufacturing.”

Since Johnson took over at MCTD, he has recorded a steady growth, although the recent economic slump caused a 40 percent dip in sales last year. Before that, growth had been about 30 percent, he said.

Johnson said 40 percent of the business he did in 2009 wasn’t on his books in 2004.

“Our customer base is growing. We’re much more solid,” he said. “When I bought the company, three customers made up 80 percent of my business. Last year, 12 customers made up 80 percent of my business.”

Johnson says he’s much more comfortable with that number because if one client runs into trouble, he has 11 others to fall back on.

And because the company’s customer base is constantly changing, Johnson says he has to be nimble to maintain growth.

Among the products made by MCTD, Johnson said, are parts and assemblies for motion control, assembly lines, materials handling, custom control panels as well as various specialty parts for a broad spectrum of customers from California to Massachusetts to Mexico.

The company offers expertise in machine, control, tooling and design solutions. Johnson explained that those are the real meaning of MCTD.

While MCTD does work with a few area customers, the majority are scattered across the country. Recently, MCTD began working with a company that needed precision components to go inside the cockpit of an airplane.

“We’re making the fixturing and tooling and helping with assembly,” Johnson said.

Through that company, MCTD also began doing some precision work for NASA.

Learn more about MCTD here.