Perstorp Plastic Systems targets grocery and agricultural uses for its collapsible polypropylene totes.
Now, Perstorp injection molds the totes with gas-assist technology at plants in France and Austria, but plans call for production also in Detroit and Tacoma, Wash., facilities.
Timing of U.S. production depends on ``how quickly the market will grow,'' Jean-Marc Van Maren, vice president of marketing and product development for the Americas, said in a telephone interview. Perstorp's Americas operation is based in San Francisco.
Perstorp exhibited the totes at the Produce Marketing Association exposition, held Oct. 19-21 in Anaheim, Calif. The line continues the firm's efforts to penetrate agricultural and food markets.
Using an advanced gas-assist technology minimizes the amount of ribbing to ease cleaning and washing procedures, Van Maren said, and produces a Collapsi-Tote of specially modified PP with a tubular frame that is ``more durable than a frame of solid plastic'' and has a ``very high strength-to-weight ratio.''
Perstorp has tested the system extensively in Europe, where it markets versions in three heights and two different metric-sized footprints. Major grocery chains use loaded totes for in-store displays and then return the containers for field harvesting.
``We are producing [the totes] in high numbers in Europe [and have] gone through several design iterations since we started with it several years ago,'' Van Maren said.
Perstorp began U.S. marketing efforts for the Collapsi-Tote in August. The tote's price range is $7-$10, while a one-way corrugated box costs 50 cents to $1.50, according to Van Maren.
The firm initially is offering U.S. customers totes measuring 23.6 by 15.7 by 9.1 inches, with a 2-inch collapsed height. Early next year, Perstorp will introduce 24-by-16-inch versions in the United States, as well as shorter units at 7.75 and 4.75 inches. Each footprint cubes out to a standard 48-by-40-inch grocer's pallet.
Perstorp Plastic Systems employs about 950 worldwide, had 1996 sales of US$190 million and is one of four business units of Sweden-based Perstorp AB. The parent employs about 7,000 and has sales of US$1.5 billion.