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Amros Industries Inc. has installed the first thermoforming machine ever built by Tri-Matix Corp., a company known for its robotic parts-handling equipment for injection molding.

Cleveland-based Amros bought the in-line former, its seventh, to accommodate an expanding thin-gauge business for customers such as Rubbermaid Inc. of Wooster, Ohio, according to Gregory Shteyngarts, president and owner.

At an investment of about $250,000, the Tri-Matix, with touch-screen computerization, has a 30-inch-by-36-inch platform and 7-inch draw capacity. It is the first thermoforming machine to come from Tri-Matix Corp. of Bay Shore, N.Y., which specializes in robotic parts-handling systems for injection molding, said Eduard Zimmermann, vice president of sales and marketing.

Amros is using the Tri-Matix TI3630, delivered last month, to form rigid PVC Christmas wreath containers for Rubbermaid, said Shteyngarts. Founded in 1986 as a designer and manufacturer of packaging equipment, the firm moved into contract packaging a couple years later, then entered thermoforming in 1992, he said.

By midyear, Amros, which has doubled thermoforming capacity each year since then, plans to add two more in-line machines in Cleveland, where it has two leased plants totaling 55,000 square feet, he said.

Other equipment includes three Drypoll and three Alloyd-built thermoformers; two Milltronics three-axis, computer numerically controlled milling machines; and eight packaging machines. It employs about 84 in contract packaging, and 21 in its thermoforming operations.

The thermoforming business, fueled mainly by original equipment manufacturers' packaging needs, includes designing and making blister packs; trifold and hinged, self-locking clamshells; and trays for cosmetics and tools. The company also thermoforms several proprietary product lines for the medical equipment industry, including polyurethane-filled seat cushions.

Zimmermann, who owned thermoforming equipment maker Drypoll Inc. of Flushing, N.Y., for 21 years before it folded in 1990, said he teamed up with Tri-Matix in October to add in-line and sheet-fed machines, including rotaries, to that company's offerings. Under construction at Tri-Matix's Bay Shore plant is a second in-line former, which will be featured in June at the equipment maker's booth at NPE 1997 in Chicago.