Last month, we reviewed how much has changed in processing technology since this magazine was launched in 1955. This month, we take a broader look at how the plastics processing business has evolved in a half-century. We profile four custom processing firms that have witnessed that evolution—two of them were founded the same year as this magazine. In 50 years, these four firms—one injection molder, one blow molder, a thermoformer, and a sheet extrusion and compounding firm—followed different trajectories. One became a global molding empire; one remained a small family-owned company; and two were swallowed up by larger organizations. But some common themes are evident: the imperative to keep up with the latest technology, the value of flexibility to take ad vantage of new market opportunities, and the overwhelming pressure to adjust to customers and competitors that are no longer just within 200 miles but anywhere on the globe.
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Nypro Inc., one of the largest custom injection molders in the world, with 66 operations in 18 countries, started 50 years ago in a converted mill building in Clinton, Mass.