Growth is a way of life for Con-tainers Northwest Corp., where additions of equipment, plants and markets occur routinely. ``Although we're only 41/2 years old, our last two years of growth have averaged more than 70 percent annually,'' said Dean Hebb, vice president of sales and marketing, ``and our facility in Tumwater [Wash.] is highly regarded in the industry.''
The company has embarked on its third physical expansion in Tumwater, began blow molding operations at a new Arizona plant Nov. 1 and plans to open a blow molding facility in Lathrop, Calif., in May.
The company, which uses only PET, reported $60 million in blow molding sales and $20 million in injection molding sales for the year ended Sept. 30.
Blow molding of beverage and food containers accounts for about 75 percent of the Tumwater volume, and injection molding of preforms, the remaining 25 percent. The facility opened with 120,000 square feet, has absorbed additions of 60,000 and 80,000 square feet and, by May, will open another 100,000 square feet for preform storage. Employment ranges from 150-240.
``Our growth is a combination of PET soda bottles, water containers and other food areas, and we have grown considerably in the preform area,'' he said.
The company added six blow molding machines this year and now operates eight Sidels with six to 16 cavities and three Dyna-plasts with three cavities each. Sentry and Seco Engineering have supplied elements of bottle conveying and eight automatic and three semi-automatic palletizing machines.
For the preform business, Containers Northwest has ordered two 600-ton and three 300-ton Husky injection molding machines for delivery in 1997's first quarter. They will complement 13 existing 300-ton Huskies. Novatec Inc. has supplied most of the 12 resin drying and heating systems.
Initially, a group of Pepsi-Cola bottlers formed the company to gain more control of their PET bottle supply. They get their product, but represent less than a quarter of the business now.
``We have taken special care to commit to the customer,'' Hebb said.
The company makes millions of beverage preforms daily, shipping them across the United States, into Canada and Mexico, to South and Central American countries and across the Pacific Ocean to places like Western Samoa, Vietnam, Japan, China and Guam.
``International has picked up, especially in the last six months,'' Hebb said.
The operation at the newly constructed, 64,000-square-foot, Tuc-son, Ariz., facility, known as Containers Southwest, employs more than 20 and will ramp up to 45 within weeks.
The venture with Lane Sales Co., a Pepsi bottler in Tucson, targets a market from west Texas to Southern California, southern Nevada and portions of Colorado and Utah.
Containers Northwest has been negotiating to lease a building of about 145,000 square feet in Lathrop's Crossroads Industrial Park.
``We will outfit the building and have full production by May,'' Hebb said.
The blow molding plant will serve northern California, northern Nevada and Oregon.
Hebb would not go into detail, but said he expects that Contain-ers Northwest may announce plans for still another plant in November.