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CHICAGO — Century Die Co. has expanded its blow mold manufacturing capabilities, the Fremont, Ohio, firm announced May 21.

General manager Gary Bewley said his firm spent about $1.2 million to add an electric discharge machine, a graphite mill and a computer numerically controlled lathe.

Each machine brought new capabilities to Century.

The equipment additions were part of a five-year, $3 million expansion due to be finished in 2000. Last year Century expanded floor space and hired more staff. Bewley said his firm targets an average 15 percent gain in capacity during each year of the expansion.

Century Die's new EDM, from Charmilles Technologies, will reduce labor and shorten delivery time, Bewley said.

He said Century Die needs the machine for finishes on bottle blow molds and to make difficult cavity cuts. Century also will offer EDM services to other companies.

The Boston Digital graphite mill will allow Century to make its own electrodes for the EDM and can be converted to cut metal to complement the company's CNC equipment.

Century's Monarch Predator CNC lathe will reduce setup times and improve efficiency in making cores.

The lathe has full C-axis capabilities and can make engraving and contour cuts.

Century has diversified into a range of blow molds, including injection blow, injection stretch blow and extrusion. It also builds injection molds.

The firm's officials will be on hand to explain the services during NPE in Chicago at Booth E10214.