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Fire pumps save plastics factory

By: Kate Tilley

November 11, 2013

CAROLE PARK, AUSTRALIA — An investment of A$65,000 (US$60,000)in fire-fighting equipment is credited with saving a A$30 million plastics factory.

A fire broke out at Viscount Plastics Pty. Ltd.’s Carole Park factory, 12 miles south-west of Brisbane’s CBD, on Sunday, October 6. It sent thick, black smoke billowing skywards as firefighters battled to extinguish the blaze.

The company lost storage buildings several forklifts and trucks, but the main factory was saved.

Site manager Phil Malone credited the company’s investment two years ago in pumps to boost water pressure. He said tests showed the municipal water mains could not provide sufficient flow rates to protect the factory if it caught fire, so Viscount bought booster pumps as a form of risk management.

“It could have been worse, had we not installed the fire-fighting gear. [The pumps] paid for themselves a million times over,” Malone told Plastics News.

The injection molding factory manufactures a range of industrial products, including materials handling crates.

Malone said the 30-year-old factory, which operates 24 hours a day, lost one eight-hour shift, but no customer orders were affected. He would not be specific on the damaged property nor the cost involved. The factory employs 40 people.

He said the fire had “a big impact” on the business, but had “recovered from it.”

Investigators believe the fire was deliberately lit but Viscount was not a specific target as there have been other fires in the industrial suburb of Carole Park.

Viscount has eight manufacturing sites in Australia, two in New Zealand, three in China and one each in Thailand and Malaysia.

Viscount is owned by the Melbourne-based packaging entity Pact Group Pty. Ltd., which bought it in 2012, after its third takeover attempt was finally approved by the competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Viscount was previously a division of the global packaging and materials handling company U.K.-based Linpac Group Ltd.