American National Can Co. will spend $11 million to triple production capacity to make barrier PET preforms for blow molded containers. ANC will make the investment at its Bellevue, Ohio, plant. It announced Aug. 31 that the project nearly will double Bellevue's size and includes an injection molding center to make PET preforms. ANC will begin con-struction of the 83,000-square-foot addition this month and expects to start commercial production of the preforms early next year.
Gamma preforms are blown into containers for products such as ketchup, juices and salad dressing that require an oxygen barrier. Gamma preforms have inside and outside PET layers and a middle barrier layer of ethylene vinyl alcohol.
ANC took Gamma commercial about a year ago after several years of development. Its main use so far has been for ketchup bottles.
ANC will supply the preforms to outside customers and other ANC operations, including its Batavia, Ill., plant which makes PET ketchup bottles, according to Bob Valle, vice president and general manager.
ANC said it will continue to make polypropylene barrier food containers at Bellevue. Last October it expanded PP container capacity at the facility, which primarily supplies ketchup producers.
Officials did not disclose preform capacity, suppliers of injection presses for the Bellevue project or how much of the investment is for machinery. Valle said the $11 million does not include the cost of installing more blow molding machines.
Employment is to rise to about 110 from 100 when the expansion is done.
Bellevue plant manager Bruce Zemba said increased business with existing and new customers, and a favorable labor climate, convinced ANC to make the investment at Bellevue.
ANC acquired a flexible packaging plant in Asheville, N.C., earlier this year, and soon will begin making flexible packaging at a new facility in Boscobel, Wis.
ANC had total sales of more than $4 billion last year in metal, glass and plastic packaging. Plastics News estimated it had blow molding sales of $47 million in 1993, and plastic film and sheet sales of about $500 million in 1994.