A new custom blow molding joint venture aimed at producing bottles for the international market is set to start in the Czech Republic later this year.
Czech processor Okula a.s. of Nyrsko, whose products range from automotive parts to spectacle frames and plastic bottles, has formed an alliance with Axium SA of Argences, France, to manufacture a range of PET and high density polyethylene bottles, primarily for export.
Axium, which also manufactures plastics products including spectacle frames, holds 60 percent of the new venture, to be called Blow Pack a.s. The operation is to start in September.
The Okula plant in Nyrsko is primarily an injection molder but has been blow molding bottles since 1990. Today the plant has six blow molding machines: two old Czech-built Chodos Duo machines and the others supplied by Krupp Kautex, according to Okula sales manager Jere Hradek. Okula already manufactures small PET bottles for pharmaceutical customers.
Okula will contribute its entire blow molding operation to the Blow Pack venture, while Axium is providing capital and technology, Hradek said.
Blow Pack is preparing to install two more machines, and Hradek expects to add four more eventually, bringing the total to 12 lines. The company will make pharmaceutical and liquid-food containers, with about 70 percent of the output targeted for export. France and Germany will be the primary markets, he said.
Management will be a joint affair, with Axium's Robert Cury taking the role of chief executive and Robert Seidler becoming the production plant manager. Blow Pack will occupy about 1,300 square feet of Okula's plant.
Today, 60 percent of the Nyrsko plant is dedicated to injection molding, chiefly vehicle interior trim. The plant has 60 presses, largely Battenfelds. Okula is set to install six new, smaller Battenfeld presses along with a used, 950-ton Battenfeld unit, by the end of August. The investment was driven by a rise in automotive demand along with growing business from the electrical/electronics sector, mainly from Panasonic.
About a third of Nyrsko's production is devoted to eyeglass rims, with about 30 percent of output exported to Slovakia. Okula currently produces as many as 450,000 pairs of optical frames per year.
In 2000, Okula recorded a profit of 11 million Czech korunas ($284,000) on sales of CSK280 million ($7.2 million), an increase of 13 percent from 1999.