Poly-Tainer Inc. is investing about $8.5 million in expanding its facilities and capabilities to manufacture customized PET and stock bottles for personal-care and cosmetic products.
The Simi Valley, Calif., firm plans during 1999's first quarter to begin making PET preforms for small and midsize containers that will accept standard cosmetic closures.
``An enormous gap exists in the personal-care market for custom PET bottles,'' Julie Williams, operations manager, said in a telephone interview.
Poly-Tainer will offer a blown-cavity solution for $5,000-$6,000 instead of the one-stage solution, ``where tooling is much more expensive.''
Until now, Poly-Tainer has been limited to offering extrusion blow molded bottles of high density polyethylene, PVC or glycol-modified PET.
Poly-Tainer sees a way to fill a market niche through PET reheating and stretch blow molding. ``People want a custom mold,'' but their usage does not warrant the tooling costs, Williams said.
Poly-Tainer is on track to acquire another Simi Valley building by the end of December and begin a shuffling of functions, she said.
The 100,000-square-foot building, now in escrow, is one-quarter mile from Poly-Tainer's existing, 35,000-square-foot plant, which will be retained.
From January through March, Poly-Tainer will vacate an off-site, 35,000-square-foot warehouse and a 20,000-square-foot decorative silk-screening and PET blow molding plant, and relocate those functions to the new building. Poly-Tainer operates five decorating modules from Omso of Italy.
The plan is to relocate and integrate the molding operations during six to 12 months.
Currently, Poly-Tainer operates two single-cavity Formex machines to reheat and blow mold bottles of 16 ounces or smaller. It may acquire another single-cavity unit next year.
A Milacron 250-ton injection molding machine, now on order, will make the preforms, and a second press may be ordered during 1999.
Poly-Tainer has 40 extrusion blow molding machines with one to four cavities, for bottles with capacities of one-third ounce to 64 ounces. Bekum, Sinco, Comec and Magic made the equipment.
The firm's four injection blow molding machines — a 15-ton and three 45-ton models — are from Jomar, Uniloy and Rainville.
Poly-Tainer's 11 existing injection molding presses of 22-140 tons carry Arburg, Toshiba and TMC name plates.
Poly-Tainer had 1997 sales of $12 million. President Paul Strong forecasts sales of about $14 million for this year and continued annual growth of 10-15 percent.
Strong has rights in the United States to sell the Thailand-made blow molding presses of Sinco Technology Ltd. of Bangkok.
Poly-Tainer was established in 1971, employs 200 and also molds novelty items, toys, medical parts, golf sand-trap rakes and canteens.