PITTSFIELD, MASS. - GE Plastics, expecting 30 percent growth per year during the next five years in the bottled water industry in Asia, is supplying polycarbonate resin to several firms there. The company also offers a bottle buy-back program for its customers. Recently, Manly/Filpet Inc. of Manila, Philippines, began molding 5-gallon water bottles using GE's Lexan resin. The company expects to make 700,000 water bottles per year. As a result, the Philippines will be the second-largest supplier in Southeast Asia of these bottles, GE said in a news release. Indonesia is the largest.
GE of Pittsfield attributes the growth in water bottles in Asia to unsafe local drinking water. The company claims the number of blow molding machines used to make water bottles in China doubled during the past 18 months, and the bottled water industry generates $100 million a year in sales in Taiwan.
Local production of water bottles will mean lower prices for water companies because they will not have to be imported, said Syed Jafry, industry manager for consumer packaging
In GE's bottle buy-back program, GE Plastics buys PC scrap from the customer's manufacturing process and reclaims used bottles. After working out an individual buy-back program for a participant, a third party collects the PC and cleans and granulates it. The flake then is used by GE or a molder.
BOWLING GREEN, OHIO - Three former Lear Corp. employees who applied their knowledge in high-tech blow molding applications to start their own company now are expanding the Bowling Green firm.
After renovating a leased 38,000-square-foot building, Pinnacle Plastic Products installed two blow molding machines and employed 30. Another machine will be added this month and joined by yet another early next year. Hagen said the number of employees will double. The firm projects sales of $2.4 million through the end of this month.
Pinnacle was started in January by Gary Gratop, president; Mike Hagen, vice president of engineering and operations; and Kevin Tearney, vice president of sales and marketing. Gratop had been a Lear corporate controller, Hagen worked in research and development in engineering, and Tearney had been a sales manager. In addition, plant manager David Wielgolpolski had 30 years of experience in blow molding at Lear. At Pinnacle, they are targeting non-automotive markets.
``Many automotive suppliers got out of the nonautomotive market because of the needs and demands of the automotive manufacturers,'' said Hagen, who has 20 years' blow molding experience. ``There's a void in the nonautomotive market now and a need for high-tech capability.''
Pinnacle serves the personal-care, toy, trash can, furniture, appliance and lawn and garden markets.
BROOKFIELD, MO. - Apex Plastics, a Brookfield blow molding company, has expanded a plant as a result of closing another.
The 7,500-square-foot Taylor, Texas, plant was closed at the end of August because of lack of business. It had seven employees and two blow molding machines.
``We had opened the plant there [a little over a year ago] to test the market in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana,'' said Sam Featherston, president of Apex's parent, Plastic Cos. Enterprise.
``Our customers were only in northern Texas and Oklahoma. We decided we could service our customer base equally as well in Brookfield,'' he said.
With the closing of the Taylor plant, the Brookfield plant added the two machines that had been in Taylor. Featherston said no employees will be added to the 20,000-square-foot Brookfield facility. Apex has 35 employees and 12 blow molding machines that make products for the food, motor oil, medical, household and industrial chemical, and personal-care markets.
Apex reported sales of $2.5 million last year. Plastic Cos. Enterprise is based in Lincoln, Neb.
SHARON CENTER, OHIO - Partners in Plastics, a Sharon Center blow molder, received an industrial development bond that the firm used toward the purchase of a new machine.
The $1 million, 40-pound Sterling was installed and began production last month. About 16 employees will be added to the staff of 75 at the 70,000-square-foot plant. Special waste containers and trash bin lids made from high- and ultrahigh-molecular-weight plastics are manufactured on the machine.
``To produce a larger-size product we needed the machine,'' said President Greg Vincent.
The development bond from Medina County was approved for $995,000 and is tax-free. The bond was the primary method of financing the machine, he added.
The firm has eight machines making products for the medical, toy, industrial chemical, drum, packaging, automotive, trash can and lawn and garden markets. It reported sales last year of $6.3 million.