SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - For one small Italian/Argentinian joint-venture injection molder, bigger is better. Contenedores Argentinos SA is a Buenos Aires, Argentina-based custom molder that specializes in high density polyethylene materials-handling and waste-containment products. The firm claims to be running Latin America's largest injection press to make one of the region's largest injection molded components.
Known as Conarsa, the 16-month-old joint venture between Italy's Jcoplastic srl and Argentina's Van Leer Envases, uses an Italian-made Triulzi injection press with 4,500 metric tons (4,950 tons) of clamping force to produce a trash bin with capacity of 992 pounds, according to Conarsa President Hector A. Mendez. Mendez also is president of Argentina's 800-member plastics processors association Camara Argentina de la Industria Plastica.
In an interview earlier this year at Conarsa's stand at Brasilplast '95 in SÃo Paulo, he said the huge Triulzi press uses a 154-pound shot of HDPE to make the municipal-waste bin. And that doesn't take into account the separate HDPE lid.
The finished container, including metal latches, reinforcing bars and hardware, is 69 7/10 inches wide by 52 2/5 inches high by 37 2/5 inches deep, and weighs nearly 210 pounds.
Conarsa makes the huge bin, as well as other HDPE containers, drums and pallets, at its sole plant in Neuquen in southern Argentina. The highly automated, 96,875-square-foot facility runs three shifts a day around the clock, with just five people per shift, according to Mendez.
The firm uses a 60-ton crane to move many of the 40-50 molds it uses around the plant.
Mundez said his firm, which processed about 6.6 million pounds of virgin PE in its first year of operation, molds an average of 400 bins a day with storage capacities of about 70 pounds each. Many of these are used by farmers to transport apples, tomatoes and the like from the field to the processing plant.
Mendez previously owned 15-year-old plastic drum maker Envasa Plas SA, until the Van Leer group of companies bought him out three years ago and changed the company's name to Van Leer Envases. He said he remained a Van Leer director until December 1994, and now no longer has direct ties to that firm.
A little more than a year ago, Jcoplastic (pronounced ``eeko-plastic'') of Battipaglia, Italy, joined with Van Leer to launch Conarsa as a manufacturing venture in Argentina, Mendez said. Jcoplastic operates four injection molding plants - three in Italy and one in Spain - making municipal-waste bins and similar products. It processes more than 88 million pounds of resin per year, Mendez said.