Training grant gives molder edge for expansion

Currier Plastics, a custom injection molder in Auburn, NY specializing in innovative solutions for the packaging, medical, electronics and instrumentation markets, is expanding its facility. To help fund the 55,000-sq-ft expansion, Currier applied for assistance through the Excelsior Jobs Program and Economic Transformation Fund. Currier sought additional funding through NYSDOL’s Existing Employee Training program in order to upgrade the skills of incumbent workers and to create a culture of lean manufacturing throughout the entire organization.
   
“We are expanding our current footprint to accommodate growth in our core business of custom design, and injection molded, and blowmolded packaging,” said Diane Pisciotti, human resources manager for the company. “We felt that the additional workload would require that we train more in lean manufacturing techniques to ensure our success moving forward.”
   
Currier plans to retain the 100-plus manufacturing employees and add 50 new manufacturing jobs in the next five years. The proposed expansion will nearly double the current square footage of 65,000-sq-ft to a total of 120,000-sq-ft, including a large warehouse area. The addition should be complete sometime in the May, but no exact date has been set.
   
Max Leone, VP business development for Currier, told PlasticsToday that because the company specializes in two processing disciplines under one roof—injection molding and blowmolding—their warehouse requirements are greater.

“We will be adding new equipment as well,” Leone said. “On the injection molding side, we’ll be adding some Sumitomo large-tonnage electric presses as well as some presses from Negri Bossi. On the blowmolding side we do two types—injection stretch blowmolding using Aoki equipment, and we’ll add three or four more of those lines in the next year. We also do extrusion blowmolding using an Italian machinery maker, Automa. We’ll be adding to that as well.”

The in-house Technical Training Program will include both hands-on and classroom learning for approximately 80 people resulting in about 100 hours of training and mentoring. The Job Instructions (JI) will focus on the Lean Manufacturing Enterprise, and would support process standardization/process control among technicians and operators. The JI Training Program will allow Currier to advance new products and processes because the company’s workforce would be applying a consistent methodology to their work with a greater focus on continuous improvement, said company information.

Leone explained that the training program through the NYSDOL will be an expansion of Currier’s current training program. “We have on-going training of our employees on participation in Kaizen events, efficient processes, and job instruction training. All of our employees receive training so they have a clear understanding of their job and everyone is on the same page. This new program would accentuate that process. People are our biggest resource, so we believe this will be beneficial to our continued growth.”

Pisciotti added, “The value this training will provide is immeasurable. It would supply Currier with a skilled, flexible and committed workforce, and would in turn promote our V2 [value times speed, or true velocity] business philosophy and enable Currier to be more competitive and innovative in an ever-changing global economy.”

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