Van Leer (UK) Ltd., the British arm of Dutch packaging company Van Leer NV, invested more than £1.5 million ($2.4 million) in a new facility to make large Valerex-brand plastic drums.
In addition, the Amstelveen, Netherlands-based firm is spending $1.63 million on new lines to blow mold smaller rectangular-shaped containers that fit standard European shipping pallets.
Both expansion projects, undertaken by Van Leer's United Kingdom plastics and fiber business division, have been taking shape at the company's large production site in Ellesmere Port, England.
Van Leer needed to install new equipment to begin making the large high density polyethylene Valerex drums. The drums are fabricated from extruded heavy-gauge sheet, which is welded to injection molded end sections to produce 54-, 57- and 60-gallon sizes.
The investment included injection molding presses, welding and ancillary equipment, but the company would not provide details about the equipment.
The drums principally are designed to carry chemicals such as acids, but other applications include transporting edible oils and foods.
Van Leer also manufactures blow molded HDPE Valerex drums from 5.2-13 gallons and a 260-gallon HDPE container at Ellesmere Port. In addition, the division's smaller English site at Kingston upon Hull produces 5.2 and 6.5 gallon HDPE drums.
In the second Ellesmere Port expansion project, Van Leer is preparing to launch production of rectangular 5.2 and 6.5 gallon blow molded containers later this year.
These plastic drums, already manufactured by the company in France, will be produced in England to a standard international design. They are shaped to suit the Euro pallet, explained Van Leer (UK) plastics and fiber sales manager Arnie Banford.
Van Leer NV has more than 140 operating companies in 47 countries worldwide. In Europe, the group makes plastic drums at eight sites in France, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Great Britain. In the United States the company makes drums in Bradley, Ill., and Lawrenceville, Ga.