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10/1/2014 | 1 MINUTE READ

The Customer Buys the Machine, You Mold the Parts

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Currier Plastics houses and operates customer-owned injection and blow molding presses, cutting costs for both parties.

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I’ve heard of custom molders locating a satellite operation inside a customer’s facility, but a recent visit to Currier Plastics in upstate Auburn, N.Y., exposed me to the inverse of that arrangement. On both the injection and blow molding sides of its business, Currier is operating some customer-owned machines in its plant. The reasons for doing so differed in each case.

 

In extrusion blow molding, Currier runs a large Automa machine making three sizes of HDPE detergent bottles. According to Steve Valentino, blow molding plant manager, the basic machine cost $1 million and required another $300,000 to $400,000 in hardware and software modifications for product-quality purposes and to allow quicker mold changes. Because the raw material accounted for 70% of the piece price, Currier told the customer that the job would not be profitable if Currier had to pay for the machine and upgrades. So the customer bought the machine and pays Currier to operate it, but at a much lower machine-time rate than usual. (The machine is pictured here receiving attention from Mary Stotler, Currier’s first female blow molding technician.)

 

In injection molding, Currier had been custom molding acetal electrical parts an OEM that subsequently acquired a business with in-house molding capacity. The OEM came to the conclusion that Currier could mold the parts more efficiently than the acquired captive operation. So the OEM moved eight Engel presses to Currier. Five of them are now molding acetal cable-connector insulators; the other three are currently idle, awaiting new program approvals. Again, both parties save money, so the arrangement profits both, according to Sriraj Patel, injection molding project engineering manager and toolroom manager.

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