Innovative Molding Inc., a cap and closure molder in Sebastopol, Calif., expects to resume full production this week, after flooding that began Jan. 9. Heavy rains in California caused the Russian River to rise, backing up the Santa Rose Laguna and flooding the factory, according to Tom Brians, plant engineer. Brians, interviewed by telephone Jan. 24, said three of the company's seven injection molding machines were operable that day. He said he expects that all seven machines - three 100-ton Van Dorns, one 80-ton Arburg, two 300-ton Toyos and one machine the company built in-house - will resume operating.
Motors and parts were sent to Electrical Equipment Co. in Petaluma, Calif., for cleaning and drying. Van Dorn and Toyo Machinery technicians went to the plant to assist the firm.
Innovative Molding also lost about 14,000 pounds of resin, stored in gaylords, Brians said. Finished caps are stored in a higher building across the street, which had much less flooding than the factory, he said. Still, about 3,000 cases of bottle caps were damaged.
When they came to work the morning of Jan. 9, employees found about one-half inch of water in the plant. They set up sandbags and got a pump going. By 6 p.m., the water was 39 inches deep. They used a boat to survey the flooding the next day.
Brians praised employees, who worked for four days to remove water, take apart machines and steam-clean the plant.
``Several of our workers' houses flooded, but they managed to get to work anyway. We had several people who stayed in Red Cross shelters who came to help with the cleanup,'' he said.