Sharp upgrading, expanding U.K. sites
BRIDGWATER, ENGLAND - Packaging manufacturer Sharp Interpack Ltd. is investing about £6 million ($9.4 million) at its thermoformed container plants in Bridgwater and Aylesham, England, to upgrade and expand production.
At Bridgwater, the firm, formerly known as MY Plastics, is spending about £3 million ($5 million) to refurbish extrusion and thermoforming lines and to buy a warehouse next door that will be integrated with the plant this year.
A new management team headed by Managing Director Ken Morris is running the plant, which makes rigid plastic packaging. The plant is focusing on containers for dairy desserts and salads, crystalline PET trays for prepared meals and modified-atmosphere packaging for meat.
The Aylesham plant has invested £3 million since early 2002, including a large Bellaplast in-line extrusion and thermoforming line for making polypropylene containers. That line was installed in January 2002, and it joined three smaller Bellaplast units.
In May and August, Sharp Interpack installed two new TFT 750 thermoforming lines at the plant to satisfy increased demand for its in-store bakery, salad bar and other products, according to the company.
Sharp Interpack changed ownership in March 2002 when MY Plastics was sold by Malbak Ltd. of Cape Town, South Africa, to a consortium headed by former Chief Executive Officer Douglas de Jager. The sale coincided with Malbak's merger with fellow packaging company Nampak Ltd. of Johannesburg, South Africa.
``We have hit maximum capacity ... and, having recognized the demand, we wanted to put measures in place to ensure the fastest response and best turnaround times possible,'' said Jeremy Sampson, Sharp Interpack's director of sales and marketing.
During the past two years, Sharp Interpack has been switching its packaging focus from PVC to polyester, and the purchase of new extrusion equipment at Bridgwater is set to meet growing demand.
Donnelly intends to boost customer base
ALEXANDRIA, MINN. - Donnelly Custom Manufacturing Co. may expand its injection molding capabilities to broaden its customer base.
President Ron Kirscht said current market conditions are tough and his company is being proactive to attract new customers.
``You can't just sit back and wait for someone to come looking for you,'' Kirscht said in a recent telephone interview from Donnelly's office and plant in Alexandria, Minn.
Donnelly is discussing with an original equipment manufacturer a program that would require a new coinjection press, a first for the company. Another project probably would require the company to buy its second vertical rotary press.
The programs would follow recent investments in a 125-ton Newbury vertical rotary press and installation of an X-ray machine. In the past year the firm also added gas-assist molding to its services.
Kirscht said Donnelly's first vertical rotary press helped it land a contract to mold cylinder handles out of glass-filled nylon for Graco Inc. Graco of Minneapolis uses the handles for contractor-equipment spray guns. Donnelly molds the 10-gram parts in a four-cavity mold, then transfers them to an automated pad printer.
Donnelly already had two other vertical presses, Arburg models, but needed a rotary machine to land the job, worth $200,000 a year.
For another customer, Donnelly installed a North Star Imaging 80kV Microfocus X-ray machine to ensure there are no voids in a thick-wall component.
Donnelly specializes in short-run programs. It operates 28 presses with clamping forces of 28-700 tons. Sales for the 220-employee company were about $20 million for the year ended Sept. 30.
TMI agrees to buy South Beach Beauties
SUNRISE, FLA. - TMI Holdings Inc. announced March 17 it has agreed to acquire product-organizer manufacturer South Beach Beauties Inc. of Sunrise. Terms were not released.
Robert Sussman, SBB chief executive officer, said the deal will allow SBB to raise capital and retool its older product line. The six-employee company serves the health-care and cosmetic sectors and is looking to build a presence in injection molding, Sussman said.
``We contract out all our injection molding and we look in the future to bring that all in-house and set up our own injection molding facility,'' he said.
Rick Dwyer, an outside consultant for Sunrise-based TMI, said the company probably will buy an existing molder, rather than start a new operation.
``The day we put out the press release, we got five calls from existing facilities that were at 20-30 percent capacity,'' Dwyer said.
``I think there are opportunities for a lot of different companies out there because of the downturn in the economy,'' Dwyer said, when asked why TMI wanted to acquire SBB. ``Lots of manufacturers are hurting. There is an opportunity now to buy products and facilities and assets as well and take advantage of that.''
Sussman said SBB's in-house operation would need at least a dozen presses with clamping forces of 250-500 tons.
SBB's sales figures were not released. The deal is to close by the end of April, according to the release.
Metrolina growing to meet demand
RICHMOND, VA. - Metrolina Plastics Inc. is expanding its blow molding facility in Richmond to meet the demands of sister companies in the food industry.
Metrolina will install a Husky IndexSB one-stage blow molding machine in April. Husky Injection Molding Systems Inc. currently is running the Index machine at its advanced manufacturing center in Bolton, Ontario. Metrolina is a subsidiary of C.F. Sauer Co. of Richmond. Other C.F. Sauer companies make mayonnaise, spices, vegetable oil, margarine and other food products. Metrolina supplies them with PET and high density polyethylene containers.
Growing demand for C.F. Sauer spices and mayonnaise spurred Metrolina to buy the new Index machine, according to Gib Stevenson, former vice president of Metrolina who is leading the Index project. The Husky machine will be able to make 4,600 8-ounce PET bottles per hour using a 12-cavity injection mold and six-cavity blow mold on a 9.4-second cycle.
Stevenson said Metrolina already operates two Husky two-stage ITS blow molding machines.
Husky said other Index machines soon will begin production, including an operation in Mexico that will blow mold 25-milliliter paint cans.