BERKLEY BEGINS IN-HOUSE THERMOFORMING

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In another vertical-integration move, packaging entrepreneur Jeffrey Berkley added in-house capability to thermoform components and is expanding its services for the medical industry.

``Many customers find it is faster, smoother and more cost-effective to outsource their packaging functions,'' Berkley said. ``It is conceivable that a customer will supply us with components or products and never have to touch their product again.''

Berkley, 43, formed his third company, Berkley Medical Industries LLC, on July 7 to continue the operations of Schneider Plastics Inc. Elle Mick and Dave Fox, both now retired, sold Schneider Plastics to Berkley on July 8. The firms announced the deal in December.

The limited liability company manufactures medical trays and packaging on 14 lines with cut-and-place, in-line thermoform, roller-die and punch-press capabilities in a 35,000-square-foot plant in San Marcos, Calif.

Seven machines are located in a 2,500-square-foot, Class 10,000 clean room. Berkley will expand the room to provide kit assembly, sealing, labeling and other contract packaging services.

The operation employs 110, anticipates 1996 sales of $5 million and, in March, received ISO 9001 certification.

Berkley Medical will make ``close to $1 million worth of thermoformed packaging for West Coast medical and consumer goods accounts currently being manufactured in the Midwest'' for a sister company, Berkley said. Consolidating thermoforming procurement on the West Coast will cut freight costs and improve response time.

Phillip Coates was named vice president of operations for Berkley Medical, and Craig Sannum adds the company to his responsibilities as executive vice president and chief financial officer for two other Berkley entities, Conceptual Design Industries Corp. and Berkley Packaging Industries LLC.

Berkley is president of Conceptual Design, which designs, sources and manufactures packaging systems, and chief executive officer of Berkley Packaging, which provides contract packaging and light assembly services. Since January 1996, the two firms have shared a 196,000-square-foot facility in La Mirada, Calif., that they expect to utilize fully in another year.

Berkley founded Conceptual Design in 1983 to fill a need for structural design and cushioning in packaging. Conceptual Design anticipates 1996 sales of about $20.2 million. In early 1995, he formed Berkley Packaging, which forecasts 1996 sales of about $5.5 million.