A former Brazilian subsidiary of metal can maker AmericanNational Can Co. has become a major local producer of plastic packaging, plastic and paper tableware, and disposable hygiene and cleaning products for institutions. Today, the former Dixie Ltda., now Dixie Lalekla SA of SÃo Paulo, Brazil, is a publicly traded company with 1994 sales of around $90 million. It runs two plants that include polystyrene and polypropylene extrusion and coextrusion, thermoforming and printing lines. The company makes more than 300 products.
The company is engaged in merger talks with leading Brazilian flexible packaging producer Industria de Papeis de Arte Jose Tscherkassky SA (Toga).
Last year, Dixie Lalekla invested more than $8.5 million to buy new extrusion and thermoforming lines and to install new offset printing presses at each plant, said SÃo Paulo plant director Jaime Salinas Sanches.
He said that Dixie Lalekla plans to spend another $10 million on equipment and new products by 1996, including the installation of a 600-ton injection press, a new seven-layer PP/ethylene vinyl alcohol barrier extrusion line, and thermoforming lines.
Dixie Ltda., which was bought out by management from ANC in 1984 after it had switched to paper and plastics processing, finally was acquired by Lalekla, a Brazilian converter of tissue and other paper, in 1989.
In 1993 Dixie Lalekla carried out a major expansion when it acquired the plant of another plastics packaging thermoformer, Itap SA Embalagens of Votorantim, Brazil, 62 miles northeast of SÃo Paulo.
Today, the company consists of four operating divisions: packaging, which produces rigid PP and PS food containers; food service, which supplys hotels, fast-food chains and industrial kitchens with products like napkins, cups and food packages; consumer, which produces plastic cutlery and tableware for retail sale; and institutional, which makes disposable hygiene products, including ABS towel dispensers.
Dixie Lalekla operates a 237,600-square-foot plant in SÃo Paulo that includes four PP and PS extrusion/coextrusion lines with a total capacity of 4,400 pounds per hour. As many as four layers of PS can be coextruded.
The plant has 28 German and Brazilian thermoforming machines, Illigs and Heces, respectively, with 1.1 million pounds of monthly capacity. They form most of the extruded materials into products ranging from coffee cups to 4.4 pound ice cream containers.
Nine offset printing lines handle as many as 771,610 pounds of products per month.
Virgin resin, brought in from Brazil and abroad, is mixed with internal thermoform regrind before passing into the extruders by a Conair mixing and feeding system.
At the 432,000-square-foot Votorantim plant, Dixie Lalekla runs 10 PP and three PS extrusion lines that process as much as 4.4 million pounds of material per month; and 10 Illig and Gabler thermoforming lines for PP packaging. In addition, there are 18 offset printing presses and a PP waste recycling unit.
Production volumes of bigger PP ice cream containers now justify Dixie Lalekla introducing injection molding, said Sanches.The company is talking to machinery suppliers, among them Husky, with a view to installing the first machine - probably a 600-ton model - next year in Votorantim.
``Eighty percent of the output of such an injection press can be sold. The transfer of the big container to injection molding allows us to thermoform moresmaller containers,'' Sanches said.
This, he added, will be the forerunner of other injection lines.
Sanches said the firm plans to add four more thermoforming lines, two at each plant, to extend capacity for small dairy product containers.
The company is studying the introduction of new products including barrier multilayer processed food containers for longer shelf life, for specific customers. Sanches was reluctant to discuss the projects in more detail.
Dixie Lalekla expects to increase its current 10 percent packaging export level, mainly to South America, in the next two years. The company sells a range of margarine and yogurt containers.