American Plastic Industries Inc. is expanding its polypropylene sheet extrusion capacity and has bought a machine that Reifenhauser Inc. will display at NPE.
American Plastic will use the Mirex sheet extruder for in-line thermoforming of PP sheet into cups and food containers, said Charles Amin, a partner in the Chattanooga, Tenn., firm. The new machine will be one of five sheet extruders it runs in Chattanooga.
Amin estimated his firm's expansion will cost as much as $3 million. It also recently bought a 146,000-square-foot warehouse to bring its total space to 246,000 square feet, part of which it is leasing to another firm until American Plastic needs it.
Amin said PP cups and containers are a growing market in airlines, hotels, and delicatessens, where they compete with polystyrene and PET. According to the company, the PP products have high clarity, are microwavable and require less material than competing resins.
``A savings of 2 or 3 grams per cup, when compared to [polystyrene], makes PP finished products less costly,'' Ray Amin, Charles Amin's brother and partner, said in a news release.
Clear PP cups and containers are a more mature market in Europe.
American Plastic's new extruder has a 4.7-inch, 33:1 length-to-diameter ratio, grooved feed extruder, a 35.4-inch-wide die and a horizontal polishing stack. Reifenhauser will have the machine in production at NPE, scheduled for June 16-20 in Chicago, with an Illig thermoformer, which American Plastic also bought.
The Amin brothers started American Plastic in 1989 and began making thermoformed PP cups soon after. The firm also runs seven blown film lines that make trash can liners and laundry bags for hotels.
The company's sales last year exceeded $10 million.