BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — Packaging thermoformer Cotnyl SA Industria Plastica of General San Martin, Argentina, is entering the dual-oven crystalline PET tray market and updating part of its industrial park. To achieve its goals, the firm has just acquired two Illig thermoforming machines, which represent a $1 million investment. The machines were exhibited at the Argenplas trade show in Buenos Aires, held April 3-8.
Cotnyl's main business is manufacturing polypropylene disposable trays and plates.
The company manufactures roughly 24 million PP trays per month, using 12 OMV, Kiefel, Rigo and Illig thermoformers.
The new equipment will allow Cotnyl's capacity to exceed 35 million trays per month, said owners Sergio and Daniel Nosovitzky.
"We plan to use one of the new machines mainly for CPET and the other to help us reorganize our industrial structure," Daniel Nosovitzky said. "Our goal is to utilize the smaller equipment to manufacture new and experimental items, the intermediate thermoforming lines for medium-scale products and the large, high-tech machines for mass-consumption packaging."
Cotnyl extrudes its own PP sheet on five lines — mostly Rulli- Standards — and also builds its own tools. In the case of the CPET trays, it will start production by buying sheet from third parties; the first samples were imported from the United States.
"Competitors are also trying to introduce a line of packaging for prepared food that can go directly from the freezer to conventional ovens or microwaves. However, we are not aware of any molder having already introduced this kind of product in South America," Daniel Nosovitzky said.
Cotnyl was founded in 1986. The company currently exports 8-12 percent of its production to countries such as Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia and Israel. The firm is negotiating its first sale to Europe.
Cotnyl expects to record between $6 million and $7 million in sales in 2000.
Meanwhile, Cotnyl's investment in the CPET tray business is opening a new frontier for sheet manufacturer Paolini SAIC, which has begun producing CPET sheet in Argentina to fulfill the packaging firm's needs.
Paolini's director, Antonio Paolini Jr., said his company has been studying CPET for the past two years and is ready to launch it in a regular product line.
"It is a sophisticated material for which the processing begins with the sheet molding and ends during the thermoforming stage," Paolini said in a telephone interview.
The firm uses Eastman Chemical Co.'s VersaTray resin.
Paolini produces acrylic sheet through cell-cast technology, as well as extruding up to five-layer sheet.
Materials include high-impact and crystal polystyrene, polyethylene, ABS, styrene acrylonitrile, PET and glycol-modified PET. Paolini also markets extruded acrylic sheet imported from ICI in the United States.
The company is headquartered in Villa Adelina, in the Buenos Aires metropolitan region. It produces 330,000 pounds per month of acrylic cell-cast sheet and 992,000 pounds of extruded sheet.
Cotnyl expects its sales to reach $15 million in 2000.