ASHAWAY, R.I. — Ashaway has become the “center of excellence” in extrusion for Graham Engineering Corp., which comprises the Welex sheet line business, American Kuhne extruders and systems, and Graham blow molding machines
Becoming part of Graham Engineering has broadened Ashaway's reach, putting its single-screw extruders into complete systems from Welex and, in the future, Graham Engineering, according to Bill Kramer, chief technology officer of extrusion systems.
Graham Engineering bought American Kuhne in 2012, and Welex the following year. Graham moved Welex sheet line manufacturing from Greenville, N.C., into Graham's headquarters factory in York, Pa., creating a blow molding center of excellence and establishing Ashaway as the extrusion center.
Kramer said the company will need to expand the 25,000-square-foot Ashaway factory in the future.
The integration of the three companies “brings us a lot more presence,” Kramer said in a recent interview at the Ashaway location, just over the border from Connecticut along I-95.
“It's being able to sell extruders directly into [other] markets, Kramer said. For instance, selling an extruder to a blow molder that wants to retrofit an existing line.
Ashaway now builds the extruders for Welex sheet lines. Kramer said the extruders include decades of Ashaway-developed know-how.
Gina Haines, Graham Engineering's vice president and chief marketing officer, said the three brands first exhibited together as Graham Engineering Corp. at the K 2013 trade show in Germany. They shared a 5,600-square-foot booth at NPE earlier this year. The combined exhibit enjoyed an 80 percent jump in booth traffic at NPE 2015, compared to the visitors to the three individual companies' exhibits at NPE 2012, she said.
“We started our pre-show promotion, working every angle for a good six months before the show,” Haines said. “We had great, great engagement.”
Kramer said “some of it was crossover” between the three brands. “But some of it also was just the fact that our presence at the show was bigger, more dramatic,” he said.