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FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2016 photo, John Currier, of Currier Plastics, speaks to members of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council at Currier Plastics.

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Currier Plastics wants to expand — again. 

The Auburn plastics manufacturer has applied for a $1.8 million grant and $180,000 in tax credits through the state's regional economic development council initiative to support its proposed $9.9 million expansion. 

The project would require the purchase of a 165,000-square-foot building. John Currier, president of Currier Plastics, said the company is looking at two properties in the Auburn area. 

"We want to keep it local," he said. "That's a good thing for the community, but it's also a great thing for us so that we can staff it with local people." 

Currier revealed why the manufacturer is looking to expand for the second time in five years. The company is aiming to expand into markets within the medical industry. 

Currier Plastics offered some products for the medical industry, but it wasn't a large portion of its portfolio. That began to change in the last year when Currier Plastics landed two new customers. 

One need for the medical industry is plastic products for fluid analyzing equipment. With its expansion, Currier Plastics could manufacturer containers to hold blood and urine samples and parts for the equipment. 

The containers for the blood and urine samples are consumables, Currier said, because the products are used once and discarded. 

"That's a great thing for us because it results in good volume," he said. 

While acquiring another building is a major part of the expansion, Currier Plastics also plans to buy new equipment. The new machinery would be specifically for its medical product manufacturing. 

The electric-powered equipment would be used in place of older hydraulic machines. The newer machinery would help achieve two goals needed for medical equipment: cleanliness and high precision. 

Additional training is included in the expansion plan. Currier Plastics offers design and engineering for some of its products and that will be expanded for its medical manufacturing.

"It's a big deal for us," Currier said. "We're very excited. We've already landed a couple customers in these segments. The market is absolutely huge and we're just going to nick a corner of it for now." 

The project is expected to create 20 new jobs over three years. The expansion will allow Currier Plastics to retain 150 existing employees. 

Currier Plastics won't know until December whether it will receive the state's support. The regional economic development council awards are usually held at the end of the year in Albany. 

The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council endorsed Currier Plastics' expansion as one of its 38 priority projects. 

The company received state funding for its last major expansion. The $21.75 million project was supported by a $1.75 million state grant. 

Tracy Verrier, executive director of the Cayuga Economic Development Agency and one of the county's regional council representatives, said the expansion will have another benefit: Currier will begin exporting its products. 

"It just puts them on a different playing field," she said. "That company is very community minded and if they are invested in Auburn and they want to stay in Auburn, we want to help them do that." 

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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