Post Falls, Idaho — Idaho gun holster manufacturer Tedder Industries is running five Wittmann Battenfeld injection molding machines — with two more on order — after founder Thomas Tedder connected with the machinery maker at NPE2015.
Tedder Industries also bought Wittmann Battenfeld auxiliary equipment.
“It just makes sense to purchase products that are built to work together,” Tedder said.
All of the equipment runs from the same controller on the same software.
Tedder Industries makes belts, holsters and accessories for concealed-carry guns. The leather products have plastic components.
Thomas Tedder started his business as a hobby in 2010, and Tedder Industries has grown since then, now offering three main product lines: Bigfoot Gun Belts, Old Faithful Holsters and Alien Gear Holsters.
He bought the nearly vacant Post Falls Outlet Mall, outside of Coeur d’Alene, and last year moved into it, a centralized location instead of the former three-building operation. He has created the Tedder Business Center to recruit other businesses to the mall.
Tedder Industries founder Thomas Tedder.
“I created this process in my garage because I wasn’t satisfied with the products I saw and I knew I could do it better,” said Tedder, the CEO. “The process we use now is a scaled-up, and far more efficient, version of that same initial process, with different tweaks being added all the time to make it even better.”
The gun items are sold online.
In the manufacturing process, components are interchangeable to make holsters that fit different gun sizes for customers. For example, the latest Alien Gear holster, named the Shape Shift, has 11 different configurations, which can be quickly swapped out.
Tedder Industries uses a unique management style. On a large board in the middle of the production room is an “idea board,” where employees can submit an idea that is then put up for a vote. Also, every 30 days, each division holds an election for a mentor from among its own employees. The mentor gets a bump in pay and acts as a liaison from that division to upper management and their supervisor.
From that pool of mentors, employees also elect value stream leaders, and they are given even more responsibility.
All production employees attend weekly meetings on how to make the company leaner and more efficient.
Walking around NPE2015, Thomas Tedder had recently decided he was going to move all molding operations in-house and put all of his manufacturing under one roof. He was drawn to Wittmann Battenfeld because of the company’s range of integrated products and single-source capability. After traveling to several West Coast regional facilities to look at the machines and talk with people from different molding press suppliers, he picked Wittmann Battenfeld.
Tedder Industries runs five Wittmann Battenfeld injection molding presses: two EcoPower 240/1330 machines and three EcoPower 110/130s. Two presses are on order, and the company plans to order three more after that, later this year.
Auxiliary equipment includes two Drymax dryers, five Tempro Direct C250 Primus temperature control units (TCU), five Feedmax feeders, three Coolmax coolers, two Dosimax blenders, two hoppers, a Tempro Direct basic TCU, a loader, a material dryer and a granulator.
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