NASHVILLE, TENN. — Shepherd Thermoforming and Packaging Inc. and its sister company, Shepherd Plastics Inc., are adding equipment to handle customer demand.
Shepherd Thermoforming and Packaging plans to have a thin-gauge, in-line match metal punch line operating by December or January. The Brampton, Ontario-based company is retrofitting one line and adding the trim press.
``One of our customers has a large-volume blister package that can only be run on match metal and right now it is on an off-line press,'' said Barry Shepherd, president of the companies.
The company bought the machine, which is fashioned for quick tool changeover with electronic push-button set-up features, from L.R. Equipment Corp. of Beaverton, Mich.
``It's designed for the guy who might change tools a few times a day,'' said L.R. Equipment President Larry Richardson at SPE's recent Thermoforming Division conference in Nashville.
He added that the machine is a roll-fed, form-and-trim press customized for medical market applications and is designed for certified clean-room applications. All contaminants such as lubricants or dripping air valves stay below the sheet line. Some 80-90 percent of L.R.'s business comes from machines for the medical market, Richardson added.
``We purchased a 30-inch, full-blown, in-line machine from them a year ago,'' Shepherd said in a telephone interview. ``We are running three shifts on it and are satisfied with it. The trim press is a lot cheaper than Brown or Lyle and L.R. is trying to grow; it's a small company.''
The processing firm will invest about $100,000 and add three employees with the new machine. Shepherd currently employs 35 and runs five thermoforming machines at its 12,000-square-foot plant.
About 90 percent of the company's business is in packaging such as clamshells, blister packs and trays. The balance comes from thermoforming specialty items such as detergent scoops. The company molds about 70 percent PVC, 15 percent PET and the remaining 15 percent is a variety of materials.
Shepherd Thermoforming and Packaging reported sales of $2.3 million for the year ended Jan. 31, according to Plastics News' 1998 ranking of North American thermoformers.
Shepherd Plastics is a heavy-gauge thermoformer and will take delivery of a 4-foot-by-6-foot, three-station rotary machine in October.
``The equipment will be busy as soon as it comes in,'' Shepherd said.
The company shares three employees with Shepherd Thermoforming and Packaging and serves the automotive market with dunnage trays for original equipment suppliers.