ATLANTA — Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. plans to enter the niche blow molding market with one machine that makes preforms and blow molds the bottles, similar to small machines offered by other manufacturers.
Husky plans a prototype machine early in 2000 and hopes to commercialize it later that year, said President Robert Schad. He disclosed the project at Packaging Strategies '99, held March 22-24 in Atlanta.
Bolton, Ontario-based Husky tried to make a similar machine about five years ago, but abandoned it because it proved too complicated and too costly, he said.
``We intend to do something like this again, but not in the high-volume market,'' Schad said.
Schad declined to offer details but said Husky's Index preform machine with an attachment would make a ``marvelous product.''
Rich Morrow, a Toronto analyst who follows Husky, said the project does not sound like it would jeopardize Husky's relationship with French manufacturer Groupe Sidel. Husky supplies preform equipment for Sidel's blow molding machines.
Executives were not available to comment at Sidel's U.S. operation, Sidel Inc. of Norcross, Ga.
Companies still will want to use separate preform and blow molding equipment in high-volume markets, said Morrow, who is an investment analyst at CIBC Wood Gundy Securities Inc. in Toronto. He said the new machine probably will be limited to ``fairly specialized manufacturing applications.''
Husky unsuccessfully has tried to make one-step blow molding machines since 1986, including the Integrated Two Stage, which was abandoned in 1995 or 1996, said Gary Hughes, Husky PET marketing manager.
The new development effort focuses on Husky's Index machines, he said. Hughes, who spoke in a March 26 telephone interview, declined to provide details.
Two Japanese-owned firms lead the market for one-step machines that injection mold preforms, then blow mold bottles — Aoki Technical Laboratory Inc. and Nissei ASB Machine Co. Ltd.