SMYRNA, GA. - In preparing to leap into the PET container business in a big way, Ball Corp. of Muncie, Ind., has opened the offices and laboratories of its new plastic container division in Smyrna. The 33,600-square-foot, leased facility will house 20 employees who will direct Ball's entry into the market. Construction on an additional first-floor technical center is under way, and should be completed by mid-April, said spokesman Harold Sohn.
Ball is the world's third-largest maker of metal and glass containers, with 1994 sales of $2.6 billion, but has had no presence in the plastic container industry.
Sohn said, however, that simply because the office and labs will be located in Smyrna, does not mean Ball will locate its PET manufacturing in the region.
``I wouldn't assume that,'' he said. ``We are not prepared yet to make an announcement [on the location of a manufacturing facility], but it might be fairly soon.''
The firm announced late last year it was interested in entering the plastic container market because of continuing growth in the use of plastic in bottles and other packaging. At the time of the announcement Ball was look-ing for acquisitions that would allow it to enter the market.