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Injection molder Accudyn expanding operation in Erie, Pa.

By: Bill Bregar

February 22, 2013

ERIE, PA. -- Accudyn Products Inc., a custom injection molder in Erie, has purchased a local mold maker, Crusade Tool Co. in Fairview, Pa., and is building a high-bay expansion to add larger-tonnage machines.

Husband and wife Tom and Peg Bly, who co-own Accudyn, said Crusade Tool had supplied them tools since they founded the molder in 1997.

The owner did not want to deal with day-to-day operations anymore, so the Blys ended up buying the business last summer.

Once the 13,000-square-foot expansion is finished, by the end of March, Accudyn will move the tooling operation into the existing headquarters building. Tom Bly said Accudyn has hired three mold makers from Crusade Tool, who will work with one tool-repair person the molder had already employed.

Accudyn runs 26 injection molding presses in Erie, with clamping forces of 20-500 tons. Another 18 presses run in an Accudyn facility in Chihuahua, Mexico, a wholly owned subsidiary run by local partners.

Accudyn employs 75 in Erie and more than 100 in Mexico. Sales were about $20 million in 2012.

The company molds parts for markets including appliance/ switches market, industrial, automotive, gears, building systems and heavy equipment. One specialty is molding radiator end tanks for automotive and heavy truck. Capabilities include overmolding, ultrasonic welding and post-molding assembly. Accudyn uses visual-inspection systems.

The molder is woman-owned. Peg Bly, the president, owns 51 percent. The rest is owned by Tom, whose title is vice president of operations. Their son Jon works in sales and marketing. Another son, Ted, is a plastics engineer and is in charge of program management and quoting. Daughter Danielle Bates is the accountant.

Both members of the husband-and-wife team are natives of Erie, a hub of plastics processing. They met in 1983, when they both worked at a Johnson Controls Inc. plant there. Tom, a toolmaker, started at JCI in 1976, moving up until he became general manager of the Engineered Plastics Division, doing automotive molding. Peg was a JCI accountant.

Then, in their mid-40s, they started a custom molder. "We talked for years about starting our own business," she said.

They made a good team, she said: "He had the operations end of things and I had the financial expertise."

Accudyn began with two presses in a 4,000-square-foot building. In 2001, they moved to a 26,000-square-foot building. Two years later, the Blys bought their current plant.

They started the plant in Mexico in 2007. "One of our largest customers ... asked us to take a look at putting a facility down there," Tom Bly said. "We've grown very rapidly down there."

Right now Accudyn has 56,000 square feet of space in Erie. The 13,000-square-foot addition will have overhead cranes.

"There's a continuous investment based on the growth of the business," Tom Bly said, adding Accudyn had three new customers last year in Erie. And in Mexico, "We have people walk in the door and ask us to mold for them."

The owners plan to add three or four injection molding machines, of 500 and 700 tons, over the next year for the expansion. Four of the current 26 machines in Erie are 500-tonners.

The Erie stable of machines includes 22 Nisseis and four Sumitomo all-electric presses. Tom Bly said that in recent months, the company has bought three new Nissei presses, with clamping forces of 60, 110 and 500 tons.

Accudyn runs Haitian injection presses in Mexico. In the past year, the company has added six new presses there. Two Haitians currently are on order, one of 300 tons and one of 400 tons.