Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items in conjunction with Naftasho, held Feb. 10 in Calexico, Calif. Reusable containers hardy market for Kiva
The plastics division of Phoenix-based Kiva International Inc. tripled production of reusable containers last year vs. 1998.
The growth gave the division about one-half of Kiva's annual sales of $14 million.
"This year, we plan to outsell the paper side," said Glen Williams, regional sales manager,
New international regulations provide incentive to use reusable plastic containers, he said at the show.
"A new law in Japan is mandating a tax on every wax box for disposal. That places plastic corrugated on a par in cost with wax board for a box. If they can reuse just once, they are saving money."
A law also says any wood pallet coming out of Japan into the United States must be fumigated, Williams said. That takes three hours and costs $300 a container, he said.
Kiva is designing reusable agricultural produce boxes that can be shipped from the United States or Mexico into Asia.
Kiva's Taylor, S.C., plant processes plastic; its Phoenix site uses both plastic and paper. Kiva employs 110.
Kenmex downgrades production increase
Kenworth Mexicana SA de CV won't have the capacity increase it had anticipated.
The operation, known as Kenmex, intended to boost monthly production of truck cabs to 33, until sales slowed to the United States. Last year, 30 percent went to customers in the United States and most of the remainder to Mexico, he said. Now, Mexico is absorbing virtually all production.
KenMex now will manufacture 29 cabs a month instead of 28, Octavio Gonzalez, a sales instructor, said during a tour of the massive production area and assembly lines in Mexicali, Mexico. Most of the cabs are for Class 8 vehicles.
Kenmex employs 1,900, including about 10 in fiberglass fabrication of cab hoods and tops and some sleeper components. It gets other plastic parts from outside processors.
Kenmex is a unit of Bellevue, Wash.-based Paccar Inc.
Andercraft expands, plans to add presses
Andercraft de Mexico SA de CV expanded in February into a 30,000-square-foot addition at its manufacturing plant and plans to buy injection molding presses.
"We began construction in December," Horacio Palma, plant manager, said at a facility tour in Mexicali, Mexico.
The original plant was 50,000 square feet.
Palma will use the space for material storage and warehousing.
He expects the Mexicali plant to have 40 machines by mid-2001. Currently, the site operates 15 presses, mostly Toyos and Toshibas, with clamping forces of 55-950 tons.
The facility employs 120 and intends to hire 100 more, he said.
Injection molded parts go to hospital, laboratory and health-care suppliers such as Abbott Laboratories, C.R. Bard Inc. and, next door, Cardinal Health Inc.'s Productos Urologos de Mexico SA de CV. The site also molds cases for Verbatim Corp. computer memory discs.
The Mexicali plant operates as a maquiladora of Andercraft Products Inc. of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.