Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these stories from Westpack, held Sept. 23-25 in Anaheim, Calif.
Polyair supplying metalized insulation
A distributor is using Polyair Packaging's new metalized polyester insulation to package shellfish, flowers or herbs for overseas air shipments.
``We form the material into liners for wax boxes,'' said Richard Litvak, Polyair Packaging's marketing and product manager.
Packagers maintain a constant temperature with a cold pack or ice within the package.
Polyair makes the Flexfoil Fresh-pak insulation in bubble-layer heights of three-sixteenths inch — which sells for about 14 cents per square foot — five-sixteenths inch and one-half inch. A New York customer sells the shiny material as a fashion-industry carrying bag, complete with a Polyair die-cut handle.
Polyair Packaging, a division of Cantar/Polyair Canada Ltd. in Toronto, employs 400 and expects 1997 sales of more than $50 million. Polyair makes packaging and insulation products in Toronto; Carlstadt, N.J.; Atlanta; Youngstown, Ohio; Chicago; and Corona, Calif.
Agr targets tester at PET containers
A plastic pressure tester from Agr International Inc. comes with an option that allows an operator to design test profiles and monitor the results through a personal-computer link.
The unit can ``design custom test profiles of two-stage PET containers of not more than 3 liters,'' said marketing coordinator David Dineff. The $23,000 microprocessor-based, pressure-driven tester can supply burst pressure and volume expansion data for plastic bottles.
Agr also exhibited an inspection system at Westpack that can detect cosmetic and dimensional defects in injection molded and extruded high-value plastic containers, generally for pharmaceutical applications, said Paul Di Zinno, sales applications engineer. An undisclosed Pennsylvania firm has acquired one system and ordered four more. Each costs $65,000 plus options.
Agr employs 240 and makes the equipment at a 100,000-square-foot facility in Butler, Pa.
SleeveTech exhibits SL900 label machine
SleeveTech Inc. of Raleigh, N.C., exhibited a semiautomatic SL900 machine that can apply polyethylene sleeve labels to 10-12 pails per minute and costs less than $20,000.
SleeveTech, which opened for business in November, installs machines and performs technical services on its own and competing equipment. The firm is affiliated, through joint ownership, with SleeveCo Inc. in Dawsonville, Ga.
SleeveCo, formed in 1987, prints as many as eight colors in line or process modes, laminates, and supplies labels for half-pints and containers as large as 55 gallons and bulk containers, said Martin Wilson, SleeveCo marketing manager.
SleeveCo. employs 50 and makes PE sleeve labels in a 48,000-square-foot facility.
Demand sluggish for Eco-Foam loose-fill
Demand from American Excelsior Co. customers for starch-based loose-fill packaging material has been ``relatively flat'' for the past year, said Ken Starrett, director of marketing.
In 1989, American Excelsior introduced a biodegradable Eco-Foam starch material that cost three times as much as regular polystyrene fill. Now, the starch-based product is ``15-30 percent more expensive,'' according to Starrett.
Since the product's inception, about ``30 percent of the styrene product has moved to starch products,'' prompted largely by price drops, he said.
Last year, the company added starch-based sheets and planks to its product line.
American Excelsior is headquartered in Arlington, Texas, has 31 U.S. locations and employs about 800.