Business for custom injection molder Fourfold Mouldings Ltd. is getting a surprise kick these days with growing demand for a small drink container for cider maker H.P. Bulmer Ltd.
Keighley, England-based Fourfold has invested in two new Sandretto Serie Nove 242-ton presses to handle production of the 800,000-unit-per-week contract. Now the molder is buying a third press, as production is scheduled to rise to 1.2 million containers per week.
In addition, Fourfold had to get two 16-cavity hot-runner molds to make the containers. The company is investing about 300,000 ($438,000) to upgrade its plant and in new equipment, said Managing Director Martin Wilson.
The one-piece PET moldings are molded on 20-second cycles and are delivered to Bulmer for filling and labeling.
Colored polyethylene caps for the containers are being produced by Portola Packaging Ltd. of Knottingley, England, at its plant in Doncaster, England.
Apart from its Bulmer contract, Fourfold is a general custom molder with an emphasis on automotive parts. It is a long-established supplier of wing mirror components and colored emergency warning light lenses to Britax International plc.
In addition, Fourfold makes its own brand of polypropylene carrier trays for plant pots, sold to the horticultural growing trade.
The company's 30,000-square-foot plant has 48 employees and has annual sales of about 4 million ($5.8 million), Wilson said.
The 30-milliliter (1-ounce) containers are for Bulmer's popular new schnapps chaser "Sidekick," which was launched in the United Kingdom in November. The single-serve drink comes in four flavors, and the capsules are designed to be either clipped onto the rim of a drinking glass or over the neck of a cider bottle.
Fourfold operates 20 presses. It had to install a clean room for its new Sandretto machines to meet strict standards for the beverage business. The presses, desiccant dryers and automatic bulk packing equipment are housed in the plant's former storage area.