Recently formed blow molding firm WhiteRidge Inc. of Reidsville, N.C., plans to spend more than $1 million to expand its facility and capacity by October. WhiteRidge bought certain assets from Zarn Inc. to produce blow molded double-wall cases, custom products and commercial dock flotation devices called Poly-Floats.
Zarn's former president, Robert G. Hartman, is majority shareholder, president and chief executive officer for WhiteRidge. He was Zarn's president for 14 years before forming WhiteRidge last October. WhiteRidge bought Zarn assets in December.
Hartman said he decided to lead a buyout of some of Zarn's businesses when Zarn's owner, Compagnie Plastic Omnium SA of Lyon, France, decided to exit those businesses.
WhiteRidge plans to buy a twin 10-pound blow molder and triple its plant size to 30,000 square feet, Hartman said. It is negotiating to buy the machine from Cincinnati Milacron's Plastics Machinery Division or Sterling Division of Davis-Standard.
The new machine ``will open up a lot more possibilities for technical molding,'' said Hartman.
WhiteRidge now has two Airform blow molders acquired from Zarn that can mold products with about 10 gallons of volume. The new blow molder will be more versatile and be able to make products about twice as large. Hartman said the new machine will help WhiteRidge go after new markets in outdoor power appliances and toys.
Zarn's new president, Derek Showell, said the businesses it
sold to WhiteRidge were ``relatively small,'' but he would not disclose their size or terms of the deal. Showell said Zarn will focus on roll-out trash carts at its plants in Reidsville, Atlanta and Madera, Calif. It also continues with a nursery container and flower pot business in Atlanta.
Hartman said WhiteRidge's double-wall cases are for packaging tools, instruments and emergency equipment. Poly-Floats, mainly aimed at commercial use, attach to standard dock structures to increase buoyancy.
Compagnie Plastic Omnium bought Zarn in August 1991. It also owns Plastic Omnium Industries Inc. of Troy, Mich., which is building an auto fuel tank plant in Anderson, S.C.
Minority owners of WhiteRidge are former Zarn employees Roy McCollum and Jane Dancy, who are responsible for sales and customer service, respectively. Kathleen Barbee is WhiteRidge's financial officer.