The following items were gathered by Plastics News reporter Steve Toloken at the International Bottled Water Association show held Nov. 13-15 in Baltimore.
Portola and Aquarius plan Chinese venture
Portola Packaging Inc. plans to start a joint venture to make bottles and caps and other closures in China by early 1998.
The venture, to be located in Shanghai, will form a partnership with a local firm, Aquarius Water.
The enterprise will serve the bottled water market in China, which is growing 30 percent a year, according to Portola Packaging.
The facility will have two blow molding machines, two injection molding machines and space for two more injection machines, said Joseph Buchanan, vice president of new product development for the San Jose, Calif., company.
``It's a small venture — a cautious investment,'' he said. ``The market in China is huge but there is no infrastructure. Getting resins, getting equipment repaired and getting anything done is very difficult.''
Grafco nears decision for site of 3rd facility
PET injection blow molder Grafco Industries L.P. is close to finalizing the location for its third factory — in Bettendorf, Iowa.
The company is in the final stages of talks on buying land in the Mississippi River city. Grafco hopes to have the 80,000 square-foot-facility completed by mid-1998.
The facility will have five blow molding machines and employ about 50 people, but can be expanded to 200,000 square feet, said President Tim Frank. The Hanover, Md.-based company will spend about $5 million on the facility.
Cheap electrical rates was a ``real heavyweight'' in choosing Iowa for the plant, he said. Iowa's rates were 40 percent below comparable locations in Illinois, Frank said.
Grafco, doing business as Grafco PET Packaging Technologies, ranked 48th in Plastics News' survey of North American blow molders with related sales of $30 million.
American Fiber plans to triple size of plant
PET preform manufacturer American Fiber Industries LLC plans to triple the size of its Little Rock, Ark., facility by March.
The company has three injection molding machines now, but plans to add another three injection machines and a blow molding machine next year, said President Saad Taha. The blow molder will be used for testing and for small runs of bottles, he said.
The expansion will cost $1.7 million.