The following briefs were gathered by Plastics News staff reporter Sarah S. Smith and West Coast correspondent Roger Renstrom from Westpack, held Sept. 23-25 in Anaheim, Calif.
Pro-Western expands, shows pails and lids
Injection molder Pro-Western Plastic Ltd. of St. Albert, Alberta, which exhibited new products at Westpack, said it added 23,000 square feet to its plant in June.
The firm, which has more than 10 Husky machines, is using the space for storage. It plans to move its molding operations to the addition soon. Pro-Western also has ordered more equipment. With the expansion, total plant size is 100,000 square feet.
Company officials would not disclose the amount invested in the expansion or the new machines.
``Business demanded [the expansion] and the economy is buoyant,'' said Paul Lacroix, president and owner of Pro-Western. ``We wanted to support increased demand, for the future.''
The 28-year-old company molds high density polyethylene food and industrial chemical containers.
Pro-Western also offers four-color printing on containers and lids. Its newest products are tamper-evident 3- and 5-pound pails. They are molded with a break tab and snap lid designed to be liquid-tight and resealable. Pro-Western also introduced United Nations-approved lids for 20-liter and 5-gallon containers. These are used to transport hazardous chemicals.
Grand Central patents slip-resistant bags
Grand Central Manufacturing Inc., the maker of Polyrol-brand pre-opened bags, has patented new slip-resistant protective packaging.
Polyloc inflatable dunnage is coextruded film, with a low density polyethylene inner layer and high density PE outer layer. The 3-inch-by-3-inch prototype bags are inflated and sealed on a bagging machine.
``The advantages of the bags are space saving, the protection it provides, its recyclability and their ability to be printed or imprinted,'' said Grand Central President Gregory Hoover. ``They reduce expense. One truck of Polyloc equals 50 truckloads of expanded polystyrene packing peanuts. And they're priced competitively with peanuts and are cheaper than the biodegradable ones.''
The bags' slip-resistant outer layer keep objects from shifting to the bottom of a package during transportation. The Polyloc bags adhere to each other but are not sticky to the touch.
A customer would buy rolls of Polyrol and inflate the bags on site. One roll of film is equivalent to 20 cubic feet of EPS packing material, he said. The Palm Harbor, Fla., company is designing a machine dedicated to running this film to produce the bags. Hoover expects each machine to cost about $2,500.
Hoover has been in talks with a national department store to use Polyloc when it ships its packages. He expects to have a large user and begin full-scale production next month. In the future, the bags may be made from polyvinyl alcohol and photodegradable materials.
Grand Central manufactures HDPE, nylon, polypropylene and coextruded pre-opened bags for the automotive, food and components industries.
Hoover would not disclose the number of extrusion lines the company operates.
Star Container moves, doubles plant space
Star Container Co. moved its headquarters in Phoenix in May from a 56,000-square-foot facility to a 100,000-square-foot plant within Phoenix.
The move helped expand the firm's warehouse and production capacity. Star Container is an injection stretch blow molder that manufactures custom and stock PET containers for the food and beverage, pharmaceutical and nonfood industries. Its product line includes wide-mouth and narrow-neck containers.
The firm also has a 50,000-square-foot plant in Edinburgh, Ind. It operates both one-step Nissei machines and two-step Sidel equipment.
The company's goal is a lead time of two weeks. It also offers secondary services such as labeling, colors and packaging options.
Company officials would not disclose sales figures. Star Container employs about 120 and has been in business for 12 years.
Star Container and its sister firm, Top-Seal Corp., which molds closures at the Phoenix and Edinburgh plants, are part of custom injection molder Tech Group Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz.
Hishi Plastics USA increases capacity
Hishi Plastics USA Inc. is installing an additional extrusion line, downstream auxiliary units and more flexographic printing equipment at its 35,000-square-foot facility in Lincoln Park, N.J.
When operational by Jan. 1, the complete extrusion line will add 10-15 percent in capacity and the printing press will yield a 30 percent increase, said Vice President Philip DiPasquale. The equipment represents ``a considerable amount of investment for our company,'' he said.
Hishi employs 55 and makes seamless rolls of heat-shrinkable PVC tubing for use in tamper-resistant-packaging neckbands and sleeves.
Mitsubishi Plastics Industries Ltd. of Tokyo and other Mitsubishi companies formed Hishi in 1985 and manufactured the extruder and downstream equipment. Mark Andy Inc. of Chesterfield, Mo., manufactured the printing equipment.
Conveyor pockets nullify plate changes
Airlite Plastics Co. of Omaha, Neb., has patent-pending conveyor pockets that accept round and rectangular containers without changeover for its customers to use in filling operations.
The company injection molds polypropylene containers and linear low density polyethylene lids for the dairy, ice cream, retail and institutional markets. The carrier plates eliminate downtime because the round and rectangular containers use the same pockets.
When containers are delivered to a customer, they arrive nested in boxes. The cups are denested and separated before being placed in the conveyor pockets. The containers travel through the filling line, receive an overseal and are lidded while in the pockets.
``As a cup and lid manufacturer, we design a package and find creative ways for our customers to run our products,'' said Brian Christensen, Airlite engineering and print quality assurance manager. ``Before, a customer would load plates for round containers, then stop and change to rectangular. This eliminates that.''
The carrier plates can run on different types of packaging equipment and Airlite licenses its equipment to its customers.
Airlite operates more than 30 injection presses and employs about 450.
Cryovac displays ultrathin shrink film
Cryovac introduced a new 45-gauge version of its LD-935 high-performance, ultrathin shrink film. The company introduced a 30-gauge version of the multilayer coextruded polyolefin shrink film in July 1996.
The film's performance characteristics include puncture resistance, seal strength and machinability.
``There's less waste to the environment because it's a thinner film and there is less inventory, which takes up less space,'' said Chip Bolton, Cryovac advertising and direct marketing manager. Cryovac is a division of W.R. Grace & Co., pending a sale to Sealed Air Corp. of Bound Brook, N.J.
The film is approved for food packaging, and is used to package toys, games, housewares, hardwares, software, audio cassettes, videocassettes, greeting cards and other printed products.
Mobil Chemical touts metalized OPP film
Mobil Chemical Co. introduced Bicor BSM-2, a metalized oriented polypropylene film.
The film features a broad sealing range and a consistent coefficient of friction. The film is metalized on one side, and intended for use in laminations to reverse-printed outer webs.
``We believe this will be a real workhorse film for our customers who need a metalized film with consistent machine performance and excellent metal brilliance,'' Mike Degus, Mobil product manager for metalized films, said in a news release.
In addition, the company introduced Label-Lyte LS (70LS-447), a biaxially oriented PP label stock that gives retailers the option to display bottles with Mobil's labels on ice.
Eltron system prints cards on demand
Eltron International Inc. exhibited a plastic-card-on-demand printing concept that is growing in Europe and beginning to enter the North American and Asian markets.
A $6,995 Privilege 500 system prints, laminates and cools tamper-resistant cards of ABS or PVC, some with a polyester core, at a rate of 100 per hour. At $9,995, the Privilege 600 also offers higher production dual-station printing.
Eltron introduced the units in June for the market for personalized, secure cards with magnetic stripe and smart-chip encoding capabilities. The units avoid the credit-card mass market.
The state of Mississippi uses a predecessor Privilege P300C printer in mobile vans to do on-site, one-minute production of driver licenses, each with a color photograph and an overlap hologram. A digital camera and a personal computer feed the printer.
Eltron, based in Simi Valley, Calif., acquired Privilege SA of Varades, France, in January 1996 and retains the company's name as a printer product line. Printer manufacturing occurs in both locations, depending on production loads and foreign-duty issues.
Eltron's Privilege units can print each full-color card for less than 50 cents or monochrome card with a shaded background graphic for less than 5 cents.