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A custive molder (Web-exclusive photos)

March 1, 2006

3 Min Read
A custive molder (Web-exclusive photos)

Situated at the crossroads of France, Germany, and Switzerland, SAF exclusively produces advanced packaging products for the global CTF marketplace.SAF’s machine utilities descend from stylish overhead racks, freeing access to the full-featured cells on its shop floor.Demanding customers benefit from SAF’s specialties such as multishot, overmolding, and insert molding.SAF worked with DuPont to develop proprietary technologies necessary to produce these thick-walled Surlyn parts, which have the look and feel of glass.Web-exclusive photo: Multimolding is but one of the advanced technologies SAF employs to produce products its customers need.Web-exclusive photo: Product handling, assembly, hot stamping, quality testing—SAF adds automation to its manufacturing cells to subtract costs.

A what? Custive? What’s that? We asked a few industry insiders what we should call a custom molder that exclusively produces parts for a single market, like a captive molder. Here’s what one insider said.

The word’s creator, Thomas C. Schmidt, is marketing demand manager at Ferromatik Milacron North America (Batavia, OH). Coincidently, Milacron is the exclusive supplier of molding machines to the custive molder this story is all about. But it’s pure coincidence. Honest.

Our custive molder is called Société Alsacienne de Fabrication (SAF–that’s the Alsatian Mfg. Co. for the monolingual among us). A little more than three years ago, SAF moved into a brand-new 8500m2 (91,500-ft2) facility in Hésingue, France. And it’s doing about e20 million (about $24 million) in sales today, supplying just one market. Pour quoi?

Here’s why: The growing, global, multibillion-dollar market it serves is expected to reach more than 20 billion units in a couple of years. SAF molds and contract manufactures caps, capsules, lids, and jars for some of the biggest brand names in the cosmetics, toiletry, and fragrance (CTF) market, including Chanel, Clarins, Dior, Emporio Armani, DKNY, and Lancôme. Plastics reportedly account for about 60% of all the CTF product packaging by value and are the fastest-growing material of choice.

Custive capabilities

A family-owned and -run operation, SAF has gained international recognition for its value-adding, cost-effective, market-specific technical expertise. Sandrine Riss Kuntzelmann is project manager. Her father, Bruno Riss, is president.

Some of the products it produces require multishot molding—a company specialty, as is DFMA. Some require overmolding and some insert molding—insert molding over glass. Some require molding unbreakable thick-walled parts with the transparency and feel of glass, using such advanced materials as DuPont’s Surlyn PC 350 ionomer. Many of its products resemble works of art.

SAF employs about 75, working three shifts five to six days/week. It runs 43 molding machines, ranging from 55-350 tons. All of its new multishot machines are all-electrics. Each press runs in a fully automated manufacturing cell, incorporating all the secondaries necessary to produce near-finished products.

“One cell,” Kuntzelmann says, “was manual only a few months ago. Automation gave us a 15-20% piece price cost reduction. The idea came from us, not from the outside. Another part is delivered so that our customer only has to fill it with its product and automatically cap the molded container.”A demanding market like CTF packaging demands the special degree of dedication only a custive molder can deliver. After all, this market’s primary customers are among the most demanding in the world.

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