Hillborough, N.J. — Blow molding expert Robert Slawska died Aug. 28. Slawska, who was 80, died peacefully at home.
Slawska was president of design and consulting firm Proven Technology Inc. in Hillsborough, N.J.
Slawska was a pioneer in industrial blow molding machinery. He began his career in 1964 with the Hartig division of Midland Ross. When Midland Ross lost interest in blow molding, Slawska and several colleagues left the company in 1971 and formed Barr Polymer Systems in South Plainfield, N.J. That firm developed its own accumulator-head blow molder, and sold 22 machines. But financial struggles led to it being sold to the Uniloy division of Hoover Ball and Bearing Co. in 1974.
One major Barr innovation was developing the first American-made, 55-gallon drum machine for a customer in 1972.
“Each of us [from Hartig] put in $10,000 to start Barr Polymer,” Slawska said in an interview in Plastics News. “I guess if we had put finances first we wouldn't have done it. But back then we were willing to take chances.”
Slawska moved on to Sterling Extruder Corp., also in Plainfield. He convinced Sterling to get into blow molding machinery in 1978, and Sterling became a pioneer in large-part accumulator-head blow molding equipment. Slawska and his group went on to build and sell 250 blow molding machines in the next decade.
Sterling now is part of Davis-Standard LLC.
Slawska received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 from the Society of Plastics Engineers' Blow Molding division. He served on the division's first board in 1972. He was named to the Plastics Pioneers Association in 2012.