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KLW Plastics adding Atlanta plant, boosting use of post-consumer HDPE

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September 13, 2012

MONROE, OHIO (Sept. 13, 2:15 p.m. ET) — KLW Plastics Inc. is opening a plant in Atlanta to expand the company’s geographic footprint and boost production of tight-head containers made from post-consumer resin.

The Monroe, Ohio-based blow molder has developed a multilayer tight-head container made with 60 percent post-consumer resin. It’s the first container on the market to contain post-consumer resin and earn Department of Transportation approval for shipping hazardous or regulated materials, said KLW President Mike Legeza by phone.

The containers also are 10-15 percent lighter and take about 18 percent less energy to produce. Despite the material reduction, the containers feature consistent thickness and meet full United Nations standards, according to KLW.

The containers will help KLW customers reduce their carbon footprint and meet sustainability requirements, Legeza said.

“We see sustainability as essential; it’s not going anywhere,” he added.

The containers are made with a specialized high density polyethylene from Nova Chemicals Corp. and specific regrind acquired from KLW customers in a closed-loop system, a combination that can be more costly but prevents the containers from leaking, Legeza said.

KLW manufactures containers using Kautex shuttle blow molding machines. Its production lines are highly efficient — they can produce about two containers every 35-48 seconds — offer rapid color changes and feature numerous in-line quality checks, Legeza said.

The company invests about $2.5 million to $3 million on each line, he added. “We don’t cut corners here. We truly invest a lot of money in the technology side.”

The 50,000-square-foot Atlanta plant will open Sept. 19. Production will begin with a single line, largely producing containers from virgin resin, but KLW has plans to add a second line soon. That line will focus on PCR containers, Legeza said.

The Atlanta plant will have 25-30 employees.

KLW also operates plants in Houston and Monroe. The company serves the industrial market and largely manufactures 3.5 to 7 gallon tight-head containers, but does work with customers on proprietary projects, said Tom Gruber, KLW’s national sales manager.

In the next year or two, KLW plans to open an additional plant in the Northeastern US, likely in Allentown, Pa., Legeza said. Having smaller, strategically-placed plants allows KLW to offer customers rapid shipping and better customer service, he added.

“Our idea is to be advanced as we can and set good ways to doing business in an industry that is very stagnant,” he said. “We’re trying to make waves.”

The company, founded in 2005, had $25 million in sales in 2012, according to the most recent Plastics News survey of North American blowmolders.

KLW is owned by private investment firm KODA Enterprises Group.