Atlas Pallet Systems Inc. of Las Vegas plans to begin manufacturing its structural foam pallets in-house and also enter the new field of blow molded pallets. Atlas owns its molds but outsources the molding of it structural foam pallets to four molders. By year's end, Atlas will have 25 molds. To meet expected high demand, Atlas will continue to use other molders even after it starts its own production, said Michael Husted, vice president of sales and marketing.
``Our plans are, within the next two years, we will have two of our own plants, operating our own equipment,'' Husted said. ``But even with that, with 25 or more molds, we won't be able to produce everything, so we'll still have to contract out.''
The molds are designed by Atlas' parent company, Precision Molds and Plastics Inc., also of Las Vegas. Ramko, of Hemet, Calif., builds the molds. Atlas has a sales office in Crestline, Calif.
Blow molding is a new way to make plastic pallets. Most plastic pallets are made by structural foam molding, thermoforming or injection molding. Husted said Atlas Pallet Systems is working with resin supplier Phillips Petroleum Co. to develop the blow molded polyethylene pallets.
Ramko will do the blow molding for Atlas, although Bob Andrei initially plans to have an outside firm mold the pallets. Ramko currently does not do blow molding.
Earlier this year, an Erie, Pa., custom injection molder, Port Erie Plastics Inc., acquired a Cincinnati Milacron blow molding machine with a 60-pound head to blow mold pallets.
``The main reason to do it is the production time is a lot less than building structural foam pallets, so it cuts the cost to the end user. Also blow molding produces a thicker-skinned pallet than a twin-sheet thermoformed pallet,'' Husted said.
The four companies that do structural foam molding of pallets for Atlas are: Horizon Plastics Co. Ltd. of Cobourg, Ontario; Fort Wayne Plastics Inc. of Fort Wayne, Ind.; Doskocil Manufacturing Inc. of Arlington, Texas; and Associated Plastics Inc. of Riverside, Calif.
Atlas also has one mold in production in China making structural foam pallets, Husted said.