Plastics News - Show Daily - October 24, 2022 - 21

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Plastics News, October 24, 2022 * 21
Diverse end market mix key for growth at Graham
By Joseph Pryweller
Plastics News Staff
Diversifi cation has been the
passcode unlocking growth for
Graham Engineering in an economy
that requires nimble movement
to stay successful.
The company, a U.S.-based
producer of equipment for blow
molding and extrusion, weathered
the ups and down of market conditions
over the past two years by
adroitly shifting focus to different
applications when needed, said
Michael Duff, Graham vice president
of sales and service.
For instance, while new housing
starts has sagged and fewer
plastic construction parts were
needed, the company has shifted
focus to health care, where the
market is booming.
Instead of placing all its cards
in one pot, the York, Pa.-based
company has increasingly spread
its focus on three main areas of
business: health care, building
and construction, and packaging,
Duff said. That has helped the
company earn a record year in
some areas of its business in 2022
while not having to shoulder any
shutdowns or layoffs during the
darker COVID period.
" A diversifi ed portfolio has
helped us continue to expand, "
Duff said during an Oct. 20 interview
at K 2022. " We're managing
the market changes as well as
anyone can. "
Lately, the company
has moved heavily
into health care, which
accounts for about 20
percent of Graham's
sales and rising, said
Scott Howland, Graham's
strategic market
manager for blow
molding systems. At the start of
COVID, the medical market moved
from a focus on elective to emergency
surgery. Graham responded
by providing equipment to help
make such items as multiwall catheters,
molded sheet and even wipe
containers for hospitals, he said.
It introduced a medical modular
extruder that allows a barrel to be
changed in less than four minutes.
And while construction work
has been slow to grow due to high
interest rates dampening home
starts, the company found other
opportunities, albeit in some
unexpected areas. That includes
equipment used to produce fi ber
tubes for underground vaults,
also called electrical junction
boxes, needed to replace older
electrical systems in homes, Howland
said.
GRAHAM
ENGINEERING
Hall 17,
Booth C82
based processors that
have decided to take
production in-house,
Howland said.
Other blow molding
processors have
expanded in-house
production instead of
having parts shipped
from outside companies. " Deliveries
have been pulled back in, " he
said.
Another trend benefi ting blow
molding suppliers has been the
reshoring trend that has led many
U.S. customers to take back production
in-house instead of having
components or machines delivered
from overseas, Howland
said. The company has quite a
few machines on order for U.S.That
has benefi ted Graham
and allowed it to meet some of
its supply chain challenges, Howland
said. That has offset some of
the issues associated with higher
costs of blow molding machinery,
which has swelled due to rising
material prices and lack of supply.
That situation has affected everyone
in the industry, and processors
have grown accustomed to
paying more for equipment than
in the past, Howland said.
While Graham has not expanded
its internal operations recently,
the company continues to
grow. In July, Graham purchased
Kennedy Tool & Die Inc., adding
molds and tooling for blow molding,
reaction injection molding,
thermoforming and structural-foam
molding to its portfolio.
Kennedy is located near Graham
in Birdsboro, Pa., keeping production
close at home, Duff said.
Graham now has four business
units: Kennedy Tool,
American Kuhne, Welex and the
Graham brands. The company
Corey Gast, marketing manager at Graham Engineering. The company
acquired Kennedy Tool & Die earlier this year to add to its product
offerings. Plastics News photo by Marco Stepniak
is owned by Graham Partners,
the Newtown Square, Pa.-based
holding company that also
owns processor Graham Packaging
Co. and others.
The company also continues
to expand its offerings, Duff said.
The newest development is a machine
with a higher shot size of
70 pounds, a move that allows
customers to provide larger and
heavier parts.
Graham also has expanded use
of its Navigator control platform
that Duff said is ready for Industry
4.0 applications. The control
panel has added features that provide
remote monitoring and support
and can troubleshoot and
fi x potential problem areas online
instead of having to send a technician
on-site. Duff added that 75-90
percent of machine troubleshooting
can be done online.
Whether it is inhouse, postconsumer,
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K22 MAIN BOOTH: Hall 9 / Booth C09
OUTDOOR AREA: FG-CE03
2209024ERE_Plastics News Show Daily.indd 1
21.09.22 12:00
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Plastics News - Show Daily - October 24, 2022

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