Currier adding Aoki machines

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Currier Plastics Inc. is adding two new Aoki Direct Heatcon 250-ton injection stretch blow molding machines to its plant.

The custom injection molder and extrusion blow molder in Auburn bought the machines to support new business and growth opportunities.

“Having the ability to now offer this technology to our customers has been on our wish list for quite some time,” Steve Valentino, blow molding manager, said in a recent news release.

Currier spent $1.1 million on the new machinery, according to the release. The firm selected Aoki machines because they offer a one-step, three-station molding process, said Max Leone, vice president of business development, in a telephone interview.

“We're injecting the preform in one side of the machine. It turns the bottle over and stretch blow molds the bottle, then the third stage ejects that bottle. You put your thumb on the [finished bottle] side walls and the uniform wall thickness is just incredible,” he said.

Leone said the new molding process addresses market sustainability concerns and can also use recycled PET. It allows Currier to move beyond continuous extrusion blow molding of low and high density polyethylene and clarified polypropylene bottles into injection stretch blow molding of clear versions made from glycol-modified PET and PVC, he said.

“Our market segment was demanding that we expand our capabilities. We looked and researched for 16 months before we settled on the Aoki equipment,” Leone said.

The new machines will be used to mold trial-size bottles for personal-care product samples, and potentially for hotel shampoos and lotions, he said.

Leone said Currier plans to add two 500-ton Direct Heatcon blow molding machines in the next 12 months as it expands its automation capacity. He added that the company also intends to add more injection molding machinery in the near future.

Currier was founded in 1982 as a close-tolerance injection molder and operates 25 injection presses with clamping forces of 20-500 tons, as well as 14 blow molding machines. The company had about $20 million in total sales in 2009.

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