International Packaging Corp. has stopped making commodity polystyrene jewel boxes because it cannot compete with low-cost offshore production. Instead IPC is marketing a full line of electronic media packaging made by other processors.
IPC has sold its 15 injection molding presses of 300 tons, robotic product-handling machines and production molds and plans to lease its 30,000-square-foot Fort Wayne, Ind., facility.
Major North American competitors include Duluth, Ga.-based Mediapak Corp. and Viva Magnetics (Canada) Ltd., which has plants in Delta, British Columbia, and Scarborough, Ontario, and a sister company in Shenzhen, China.
IPC's shift in strategy reflects the trouble North American firms have in competing with offshore production of jewel boxes, according to Philip Clemens, president and chief executive officer.
"Two remaining manufacturers of jewel boxes — Mediapak and Viva — can make large material buys to achieve economies of scale in North America," Clemens said Jan. 5 by telephone.
"About a year ago, we started to taper down on the commodity jewel-box business and began brokering and importing product," he said. Customers include entertainment and computer-software publishing companies.
IPC is obtaining specialty and commodity packaging for various formats of digital versatile discs for movie, game and read-only-memory applications and compact discs for audio, ROM and recording uses. Gene Hull, IPC executive vice president of sales and marketing, heads the firm's initiative with expectations to work with foreign and domestic suppliers.
IPC anticipates factory-to-customer shipments on most items with some warehouse activity as needed.
Clemens said the company is offering products on the Internet.
IPC's jewel-box production began in 1986. A sister company, auto industry supplier National Plastics Corp. in Fort Wayne, absorbed some IPC workers.