Thermoflex Corp. began thermoforming operations in Baya-m¢n, Puerto Rico, in early March, to supply custom packaging markets largely served by imports. Thermoflex began producing glycol-modified PET and polystyrene packaging components for a local medical devices firm, according to Robert Brown, president of Crystal Thermoplastics Inc. of Cumberland, R.I.
Crystal formed the Thermoflex joint venture more than a year ago with Flexible Packaging Group, a major supplier of cushioned and protective packaging in Puerto Rico. Brown said Crystal began making the packaging components in Rhode Island last year but moved production to the U.S. territory to save transportation costs.
Thermoflex plans to have three thermoforming lines in operation at Bayam¢n by the end of the year to serve its growing business on the island.
``A lot of packaging is being imported'' in Puerto Rico, Brown said in a telephone interview from Crystal's head office.
Thermoflex spent about $500,000 to install the thermoforming line and related equipment. The line is able to make 900 of the components simultaneously at the Bayam¢n plant owned by Flexible. Flexible has two other Puerto Rican plants, which are distribution facilities.
Brown said Crystal's growing sales also will spur an expansion of its Rhode Island facility, but he would provide no schedule or equipment details. It runs 12 lines at Cumberland making trays, clamshells and blister packaging. Its sales for the year ended Dec. 31 were $10.5 million, up from $9.5 million in the previous year.
Assets of another thermoformer, Ja-Ca-Jo Inc. in Guayna-bo, Puerto Rico, are for sale. Brown said Ja-Ca-Jo, which made cups and other commodities, was not a competitor, and he has no interest in buying its equipment at an April 6 auction.