Strategic focus crucial to molder's $21 million expansion

Strategically growing business requires a lot of planning and making many tough decisions, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Just ask Currier Plastics, (www.currierplastics.com) a custom plastics processor specializing primarily in the packaging industry including beauty and cosmetics packaging, amenities, household consumables, and electronic connectors and medical measuring devices.

Currier has developed capabilities and expertise in mold design, injection molding and three blowmolding process – injection blowmolding, injection stretch blowmolding, and extrusion blowmolding. “That triangle of capabilities – design, injection molding and blowmolding – we believe is ideally suited for servicing the packaging industry,” says Max Leone, VP business development for Currier. “That is due to the fact that one type of container can require two processes. A injection blowmolded container can also require an injection molded cap or lid.” 

The process actually began about seven years ago, says Leone. Today, Currier is in the final phase of its $21 million expansion. “Like many general-purpose molders we served many different markets,” he tells PlasticsToday. “We began to recognize, however, that it was getting more difficult to be all things to all people and began a strategic focus on the packaging market. We found that we had a number of customers – good customers – that we had to let go as our strategy evolved just because they weren’t well-suited for Currier’s strategic focus. From that point onward we continued on the path of developing the capabilities to serve primarily that market.”

Currier broke ground on the initial expansion about two years ago based on anticipating new opportunities from both new and current customers. The injection molding department has begun the relocation of equipment in the newly renovated 25,000-sq-ft production area. New equipment for the injection molding department includes a 15,000-lb crane, which enables moving larger, high-cavitation molds. The company’s new 40,000-sq-ft blowmolding facility is complete and fully operational.
   
Currier currently operates a combined total of 46 machines. On the injection molding side, presses range from 24 to 500 tons, giving the company the ability to run high-volume cap and closure molds and a variety of containers and jars.

Leone notes that even the company’s 120 employees are attuned to and have the expertise needed to support Currier’s customers. “We’re even doing containers for hot-fill operations and have people on board who are experienced in that market direction,” Leone added.

Currier took the opportunity to build in efficiencies wherever possible during the design phase of the expansion including: energy-efficient lighting for the warehouse and the new blowmolding building; a state-of-the-art water treatment system with a new cooling tower that supplies chilled water to the molding machines; and a 275-ton evaporative water cooling tower on the roof that pumps water through a heat exchanger that is then used to keep process water at the correct temperature.  A 100-ton water chiller uses the tower water to keep its compressors cool, and a Delta Monitoring system controls the speed of the pumps and tower fans to increase or decrease speeds depending on the load that is put on either system. “It almost runs itself,” says Dave Norsen, Currier's facilities manager.

Currier followed guidelines for non-combustible construction and installed fire doors that separate the blowmolding and injection molding areas from the warehouse to help isolate any incidents and contain them to a specific area, thereby reducing risk. A new sprinkler system was also installed in the blowmolding building and throughout the warehouse, and heat sensors added through the offices.

Leone adds that “the value we bring to the table compounds itself with the variety of equipment, processes, and the personnel who contribute to the company’s success in the markets we serve. Strategic planning is a necessity in today’s competitive environment.”

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