Schmalbach-Lubeca Plastic Containers USA Inc. and AquaPenn Spring Water Co. have entered territory previously unexplored by either firm. Schmalbach is molding PET water bottles on AquaPenn's filling site.
Schmalbach began leasing space at AquaPenn's plant and headquarters in Milesburg, Pa., at the beginning of the year. The blow molding firm occupies 32,000 square feet of the 160,000-square-foot plant. The joint program will grow when AquaPenn expands to 345,000 square feet by February.
``This is a first for both companies,'' said Schmalbach-Lubeca plant manager Joe Pollhein Sr.
``Schmalbach-Lubeca has never been on site with a customer. It's extremely challenging and rewarding for everyone involved. It's developing in a very positive way.
``This allows closeness to our customer and the ability to respond quickly and effectively to quality and production issues,'' Pollhein added. ``The cost savings is attractive to the customer and it reduces the work load of tracking shipments and deliveries.''
The coming expansion will provide more room for blow molding bottles, warehousing, additional truck docks and bottling lines, said AquaPenn spokesman Dick Cooper.
``We can keep up with demands and meet customer requirements,'' he added.
Schmalbach operates four blow molding machines manufacturing PET bottles in sizes from 8 ounces to 1.5 liters at the AquaPenn plant. The company will produce about 90 million to 100 million bottles this year at the plant.
With the completed expansion, Schmalbach will lease a total of 72,000 square feet and run three to five additional machines. Although current equipment is not in-line with AquaPenn's filling lines, the new machines will be.
Schmalbach-Lubeca also expects to boost its 35-person work force at the operation to about 45 people, Pollhein added.
Schmalbach-Lubeca Plastic Containers is based in Manchester, Mich. Parent company Schmalbach-Lubeca AG is based in Ratingen, Germany.