Currier Technology Inc. plans on June 1 to start up three new Bekum machines to launch a blow molding operation in Auburn, N.Y. So far CTI has invested $450,000 to buy four Bekum extrusion blow molding machines - one is yet on order - and reconstruct 10,000 square feet of space in a facility it shares with sister firm Currier Plastics Inc.
An injection molder, CPI just finished an $800,000 project of its own, which adds 10,000 square feet and two more presses to its operations at the Auburn site, said John Currier, CPI president and owner.
Currier is also a CTI owner, along with David Kievit and two silent partners. Kievit will be heading up the new blow molding company.
Both businesses are custom shops catering mainly to customers with low- to medium-volume requirements of about 50,000-500,000 units, according to Currier.
Already CPI and CTI have customers in common, and their long-range plan is to target such single-source needs.
The blow molding outfit will make bottles and containers for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and business machine markets. To start it will employ five, filling in as business grows, said Currier, who expects CTI's work force to grow to 30 workers within three years.
Sister CPI redesigned and renovated most of its 25,000 square feet in the Auburn building, which was constructed in the 1920s, he said. The injection molder lost only 24 hours to downtime during the months-long reconstruction, which included pouring new floors and installing two overhead cranes for mold installation, centralized vacuum for materials-handling, a closed-loop water circulation system and air conditioning.
The firm also added four new presses, with robotics, but retired two older models, bringing its total count to 14 machines, for now - the plant setup can accommodate twice that many, Currier said.
``We've been growing at about 25-30 percent per year for the last five years. If we continued to grow, we just had nowhere to add machines,'' he said.
``We pretty much land the sales, then quickly go out there and expand,'' he noted. ``Being small, we really can't do it any other way.''
The latest addition, an 8-ton benchtop Nissei with a shot size of 3 grams, was just such a response to customers' needs. The machine will mold connectors for coaxial cable and fiber optics, and components for respiratory equipment, among other tiny, tight-tolerance parts, some weighing just ``fractions of a gram,'' Currier said.
CPI, which employs 30, recorded sales last year of about $3 million. The company will receive ISO 9002 certification by year's end, a path CTI also plans to take, Currier said.
The sister companies will be able to share synergies and expertise, as well as the costs for some in-house programs, such as worker training, he said. Some of CPI's recent offerings for workers included blueprint reading, statistical process control/total quality management and a class on cardiac pulmonary resuscitation.