Novapak Corp.'s second phase of a $15 million expansion is under way at its Paris, Ill., plant.
The $2.5 million project will add Sidel stretch blow molding machines, high-capacity injection mold tooling and auxiliary equipment to the plant. Equipment is due to arrive next month, said John Krebs, vice president of marketing for Novapak. Novapak is a wholly owned subsidiary of PVC Container Co.
The facility had been only a preform production facility, with Novapak's Eatontown, N.J., and Walterboro, S.C., locations doing all the blow molding. However, all three plants will have stretch blow molding capacity by September.
``By increasing capacity of universal preforms at the Paris plant, and expanding PET stretch blow molding locations from two to three, Novapak has significantly increased its ability to develop, produce and ship a PET bottle,'' Krebs said.
Paris will add 20-25 employees, and will see preform capacity increase 33 percent, Krebs said.
Earlier this year, the Paris facility doubled in size to 130,000 square feet, tripling production of PET preforms to supply Novapak's blow molding operations at the other plants. The remaining $9.4 million designated for expansion will be invested at Eatontown and Walterboro next year.
``The expansion project is strategic in the custom PET market,'' Krebs said in a June 24 telephone interview. ``The two-stage method is a direct hit on the market; our customers keep asking for it. To keep up with market demand we need to keep adding capacity. Over the last 24 months we've built over 60 custom molds. Our customers are hooked on the universal preform approach.''
He added that a customer can build a custom blow mold on the two-stage process for less than $20,000, while single-stage tools typically run from $150,000-$200,000. Molding all preforms at a central location in higher runs also improves efficiency, he said.
Novapak offers standard PET bottles in sizes ranging from 8-64 ounces. The Eatontown-based firm also extrusion blow molds high and medium density polyethylene, glycol-modified PET, polypropylene, PVC and trilayer bottles in sizes from 1 ounce to 2.5 gallons.
The firm's HDPE and PVC extrusion blow molding operations were broadened earlier this year when publicly held parent PVC Container bought McKechnie Plastic Packaging of Philmont, N.Y.
PVC Container reported sales of $58.4 million for the year ended June 30, 1997. The company estimated its blow molding sales at $45 million, placing it at No. 36 on Plastics News' ranking of North American blow molders.