Augros molds the cap for Minotaur.

There’s more to the molded cap topping off your favorite fragrance bottle than meets the eye.

That’s what Cosmetic Packaging & Design found out when it visited Augros, the Ronkonkoma, NY-based manufacturer of custom molded plastic components for beauty packaging.

CPD was there for a basic course in injection molding for fragrance and cosmetic packaging and came away impressed at the technology and expertise that goes into this segment of the business.

Cartier chose Augros to mold these caps.

Augros is the U.S. division of French parent company Augros Cosmetic Packaging. It offers design services, manufacturing of custom plastic and metal packaging components, surface treatments and decoration with hot stamping and foil banding. Established in the U.S. 22 years ago, the company has been at its present location, manufacturing cosmetic and personal care components for 11 years. Currently, Augros employs a staff of 127 at the Ronkonkoma plant.

A four-man design staff works to continuously develop new concepts. “We take the new ideas to our customers to show them what can be done in terms of design and cost effectiveness,” Peter Arentzen, company president and chief operating officer, said.

Augros molds metal containers in Europe.

Recent Augros innovations include a patented square jar and twist-on cap designed and co-invented by Paul Abbatepaolo, senior project engineer, and the patented Y2K Compact developed by Scott Roman, senior project engineer.

“The patented square jar and neck design allows easier access to product in the corners of square-shaped jars,” said Abbatepaolo, who added, “Because this option has never been available before, square jars have tended to be off-limits. The two-piece, ultrasonically-welded jar design allows for maximum product capacity in the smallest, most economical, injection-molded package.” And, by separating the neck finish from the bowl, Augros is able to mold thinner-walled parts that have a faster molding cycle and consequently lower cost.

Bulgari’s cap is made by Augros.

The Y2K compact stores the makeup separately from the applicator in a swing-out compartment on the bottom of the compact. Y2K is molded of SAN with ABS added for impact resistance. The top of the jar, which holds the makeup and a mirror, has a round, screw-on lid. All the parts are molded by Augros in durable plastic.

Whether a customer brings its own plan or Augros creates it, once a component has been designed to a customer’s satisfaction, decisions about materials must be made, because not all plastic is the same.
While all are petroleum products, each resin has characteristics that make it more appropriate in certain applications.

Augros makes the metal case for this Perry Ellis package in Europe and the plastic component in the U.S.

Polypropylene generally produces an opaque product, so colorant is usually added to the resin before it is melted and injected. Other materials such Eaststar copolyesters from Eastman Chemical and Surlyn from DuPont can produce clear, glass-like effects.

The molds themselves are complex pieces of precision made equipment with male and female halves, which, when tightly fixed together, create a void in the exact shape of whatever component is to be made. Most molds used for cosmetic and fragrance components will contain one to eight forms to be molded.
Augros currently molds parts that range in size from about one quarter inch up to 12 inches, and, “If a customer needs something other than that, we’ll figure out a way to do it,” stressed Arentzen.

Puig called on Augros to mold the metal and plastic components of this package.

He explained that each time a mold is closed, it is sealed by applying many tons of pressure. Molten plastic is then injected into the voids through a tiny hole called a “gate.” Water is pumped through the mold to remove the tremendous heat, thus cooling the parts.The mold opens and the parts are removed. This is referred to as the “shot cycle” and can take anywhere from 10 to over 100 seconds, depending mostly on how much cooling time is required.

As much as Augros’ molds are made from hardened steel, they do not last forever, but typically will perform for about one million cycles. The molds are custom made in about 12 to 16 weeks, but faster deliveries may be possible if needed.

Once the cycle is completed, a robotic arm moves the forms to the next stage, which can be decoration with metallic bands, robotic assembly or another decorating process. Along with creating a multitude of caps and containers, Augros has mastered the placement of metal foil accents as well as graphics stamping—all in automated processes.

The Augros family of businesses also includes metal forming by extrusion and stamping, allowing the company to produce unique creations. Ultraviolet from Paco Rabanne features packaging that is an industry first with the use of silicone in an innovative design and an engineering concept that combines glass, brushed metal and silicone plastic. Perry Ellis from Parlux Fragrances is an upscale, functional spray package consisting of a metal shell made by Augros Packaging Metal in France and molded plastic components by Augros Inc.

The square jar and twist-on cap, above, and the Y2K Compact at left, are recent patented innovations from Augros that were created by staff engineers.

It takes special internal services to support the custom-made machinery that is set up at the 95,000 square foot Augros plant. “You can’t just go out and buy an injection molding machine set up to make custom caps for cosmetics,” said William Hayes, vice president of manufacturing. “We have custom-made machines to produce custom-made products.” A full service machinery shop enables the company to customize and maintain its specialized equipment.

Quality control is extremely important and Augros dedicates a great deal of time and energy to making sure its products meet all specifications. An in-house quality control lab performs a range of tests including compatibility and seal tests before a component goes into full production. Then, once manufacturing has started, every two hours there is in-process inspecting in which the machinery is checked and one full “shot”—the pieces that are made in one full cycle from the mold—are checked against specifications.

“The AQL—accepted quality level—tells us how many items to check for a project of a certain size and how many of that total can have a problem and the rest still be OK. For instance, out of a certain total, you could have two with defects but if you have three, then all the items would be have to be 100 percent re-inspected,” explained Arentzen.

Then, before the components are shipped, there is a final inspection of a representative number of boxes to assure the customer that all specifications have been met with the highest quality product.