In another leg of its meteoric rush into the ranks of major PET container makers, Ball Corp. of Muncie, Ind., has chosen Ames, Iowa, as the preferred site for a huge bottle plant. Ball spokesman Scott McCarty confirmed the preference May 1, but said details have to be worked out before the official site is announced.
``The size will be about 250,000 square feet,'' McCarty said in a telephone interview. ``And we will be making PET containers for the food and beverage industries.''
If plans are realized, the plant will be similar in size and volume to the three PET container plants the company already has under construction in Chino, Calif.; Lysander, N.Y.; and Reading, Pa.
Ball, once a power in the glass container industry, announced only last year that it was selling its glass container division in favor of an all-out push into plastic container manufacturing. All the new plants are due to begin operations either this year or early next year.
The decision to enter the increasingly crowded PET container market was based on projections that the use and demand of PET will grow at double-digit rates through the end of the millenium, and on the desire to take advantage of the increased use of PET in emerging nations.
Ball has relied on alliances with major beverage makers, including Pepsi-Cola, for support in building the PET capacity, but McCarty said he could not disclose whether a main customer already is lined up for the Iowa facility. A plant in Iowa would facilitate distribution, with the other plants in the East and West.
Reports have said Ball is negotiating for incentives to build in Iowa, but that site preparation already has begun.