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Currier Plastics (Auburn, NY), a custom molder specializing in both injection molding and extrusion blow molding, recently came up with a creative way to accommodate customers that is cost effective and profitable for everyone. Two customers had approached Currier at about the same time—one needed additional blow molding capacity for detergent bottles; another customer had purchased a company that had in-house injection molding.

Clare Goldsberry

November 4, 2014

3 Min Read
Customers buy the machines, Currier Plastics molds the parts

At one point, Currier had considered locating an injection molding satellite operation inside the customer's facility, but found that was not in its own best interest nor that of its customer. With some creative planning and working with the customer, Currier moved eight Engel injection molding presses to its own facility. "We'd been molding acetal electrical parts for a long-time OEM customer that subsequently acquired a business with in-house molding capabilities," said Max Leone, Vice President, Business Development. "However, the OEM came to the conclusion that Currier could mold the parts more efficiently than the acquired captive operation. Given our price position and quality, it made more sense to put that molding operation in our facility, so we took in their machines. That allows them to do what they do best and get away from the responsibility of the molding."

Today, five of these presses are molding acetal cable-connector insulators; the other three are currently idle awaiting new program approvals. "Both parties save money, so the arrangement profits both," said Sriraj Patel, Injection Molding Project Engineering and Tool Room Manager.

In extrusion blow molding, Currier runs a large Automa machine, making three sizes of HDPE detergent bottles for another customer. According to Steve Valentino, Blow Molding Plant Manager, the basic machine cost $1 million and required another $300,000 to $400,000 in hardware and software modifications for product-quality purposes and to allow quicker mold changes. Because the raw material accounted for 70% of the piece price, Currier told the customer that the job would not be profitable if Currier had to pay for the machine and upgrades. So the customer bought the machine and pays Currier to operate it, but at a much lower machine-time rate than usual.

"Blow molding detergent bottles is a very competitive business, so we concluded that in order for them to meet price points to get more market share, instead of offering our regular hourly rate they'd buy the equipment and we'd lower our hourly rate," explained Leone to PlasticsToday. "We worked out the numbers and this is an investment they would pay off over a number of years, which would give them an immediate cost advantage. It's on the floor running parts as we speak."

Leone added that the contracts for the arrangements with the two customers were carefully laid out in detail. "We specified the areas of responsibility for the machines, including preventive maintenance costs. Warranties from the machine manufacturers also came into the picture," said Leone. "All of that was worked through and very clearly outlined as to who is responsible for what. We then had both companies' attorneys review the contract and they tweaked the language to ensure that everything is covered."

Now that Currier has put in the work to formulate this type of program with two diverse companies—it has developed a template that includes the contract language, the bailment agreement, and all the other specifications—it would consider doing this with other OEMs. "We have a very creative CFO, Mike Cartner, who is also an owner that came up with this contract," said Leone. "So, big kudos to him for financially structuring this program, so that it's a mutually beneficial win for everyone."

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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