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Chicago firm gets state help to make bottles more efficiently

By: Jim Johnson

December 16, 2013

Gold Eagle Co., which makes more than a million plastic bottles for the company’s line of well-known automotive fluids each week, is hoping that access to high-powered computer equipment will help improve those containers.

The Chicago-based company, which makes well-known products such as HEET, STA-BIL and No Leak, produces its own bottles at its location in the southwest part of the city.

And now through a new program dubbed the Illinois Manufacturing Lab, Gold Eagle and several other companies are gaining access to the computer equipment to perform modeling and simulation to help increase design, testing and manufacturing productivity.

For Gold Eagle, the hope is to make improvements in plastics bottles that will allow for less material use and improve environmental performance, said Jennifer Rook, senior manager of communications.

“We hope to make a better, stronger bottle with less resin because we make all of our bottles here on site. We fill roughly about a million bottles a week. That’s a lot of bottles in our world. For a small manufacturer, that’s a lot of bottles,” Rook said during a Dec. 16 interview.

Reducing the amount of resin in each bottle also will help lower shipping costs and reduce the amount of cardboard needed to ship the finished goods. And that means less environmental waste, she said.

Gold Eagle’s work will involve bottle drop testing modeling and simulation, the state said.

“We’re always looking to control costs as much as we can,” Rook said.

The company and nine other firms are involved with the Illinois Manufacturing Lab, a program established to link the University of Illinois with the business community to help create economic development.

Gov. Pat Quinn was at Gold Eagle to kick off the initiative, a big deal for the firm, Rook said.

“The IML will be a marquee attraction for companies around the globe to come to Illinois so they can work with cutting-edge techniques and technologies to drive our economy forward,” the governor said in a statement.

Controlling waste has always been an important focus for 81-year-old Gold Eagle, Rook said. “This coming along, this is just great timing,” Rook said. “It’s just the right thing to do.”

“We’re always looking at reducing our carbon footprint, and these are ways to do it,” she said.