A busy Oregon plastics processor is transitioning its identity to PakTech, focusing on proprietary multiple-package handles and declining new customized work.
The Eugene business, legally Oregon Precision Industries Inc., is investing to buy and expand its current facility and purchase additional equipment. The state is providing nearly $3.5 million in mostly tax-exempt bonds for the project.
The company started designing and making low-production-volume soft tools in 1982, acquired its first injection molding press in 1985 and during the past decade evolved into specialized handles. The firms handles link bulk-size containers of pasta sauce, apple, cranberry or vegetable juice and other products being marketed through high-volume retail outlets such as Costco Wholesale Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
PakTech has almost 10 years of experience and engineering expertise with container handles, said Jim Borg, owner and president.
``We know what works and doesn't work,'' he said.
Monthly handle production ranges from 10 million to 12 million units, with each handle carrying PakTech's telephone number as a sales tool.
The company is benefiting from growing business from club stores, where consumers buy products in economical multipacks.
``People become a lot more cost-conscious when stressed about money [and] take the time to go to a club store,'' Borg said in a telephone interview.
The niche market can accommodate the expansion, he said. ``We have built 100 handle designs'' yet stayed with specialized applications. PakTech avoids the high-volume beverage market.
In 1992, Echo Spring Dairy in Eugene asked about a handle to link two 1-gallon milk containers for sale at a major grocery chain. Borg invested in research and development, obtained several patents and made other sales.
``We knew other dairies would be interested,'' he said.
The company moved to its present site in 1995. On Oct. 1, PakTech purchased the building and 3.6 acres for $2.2 million. The company occupies 30,000 square feet and sublets 35,000 square feet.
Borg plans to break ground in January for a $700,000, 13,000-square-foot addition.
The company annually consumes about 3.1 million pounds of high density polyethylene, and may use some clarified polypropylene on single-unit, high-end cosmetics packaging now entering the market.
PakTech has six Demag Ergotech injection presses, four Milacrons and one JSW. Clamping forces of the 11 machines, including three all-electrics, with clamping forces ranging from 110-350 tons. While the equipment meets current needs, ``we are looking at adding a few more presses and automation equipment as we expand,'' he said.
The firm employs 60-65 and may add as many as 35 employees within two years. Crews include seven in toolmaking.
Borg projects 2001 sales of $8.5 million, up from $5.3 million in 2000.