BFT Plastics Ltd. is leading the way in the production of foam-strengthened blow molded pallets using technology developed by a three-way European venture.
Family-run BFT of Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, has invested £7 million ($11.4 million) in the project, and expects to start producing the pallet, called Oscar, in the second half of 1998, said Brian McCann, managing director.
The technology, which uses modified extrusion blow molding equipment to make multilayer foam core pallets in high density polyethylene, was developed by machinery supplier Krupp Kautex, resin producer Borealis A/S and Norwegian designer OBG Design.
BFT was set up by McCann's family in 1996 to use the new process for pallets. The firm is awaiting delivery of special blow molding equipment from Bonn, Germany-based Kautex.
McCann operates Clarehill Plastics, a Moira, Northern Ireland, rotational molder. He came across blow molding foam technology while looking for other pallet-production processes, he said.
McCann claims the pallet is lighter and stronger than conventional injection molded pallets.
Kautex modified a KB250 blow molding machine, normally used to produce coextruded automotive fuel tanks. BFT expects to produce 100,000 pallets a year.
The firm has set up in a 28,000-square-foot plant in Newry, Northern Ireland, and eventually will employ about 50. It is looking at other applications for the process.