On the heels of a shift in hot-runner work to Vermont, Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. is expanding its PET preform mold facility at its Ontario headquarters.
The company will invest about US$30 million to add equipment at its Bolton, Ontario, campus, all of it to increase capacity for its PET preform work, said Craig Reynolds, marketing manager for Husky's PET systems.
The work is to be completed this fall, he said.
The equipment includes new machining centers designed for preform mold production. The company also will change the inside of the PET plant to add work cells and automation equipment to speed production. Husky is adding about 40 machining centers, with some already in place, and all of them equipped with sophisticated controls technology, Reynolds said.
The work will double the output of PET preform mold stacks and allow Husky to meet what the company believes will be snowballing demand for PET bottles, Reynolds said. The carbonated soft drink market has driven some growth in PET bottles, he said.
``We are tooling up now to take advantage of more work down the line,'' Reynolds said in a May 9 telephone interview. ``There has been a large increase in brand extensions for such products as Vanilla Coke, Code Red and others. We expect more to come in PET bottles.''
The company is shifting operations to strengthen efficiencies in both PET preform molds and hot-runner systems. In March, Husky said it would expand its hot-runner facility in Milton, Vt. By Sept. 1, a US$13 million project will include the movement of some hot-runner work from Bolton to Milton.
That shift frees operating space in Bolton, Reynolds said. The PET expansion will include manufacturing areas for low-volume production runs of mold components and both conversions and refurbishments.
Husky's existing facility was challenged to keep up with demand, Reynolds said.
``As pent-up demands started to break, it further fueled more demand [for PET preform molds],'' he said. ``We had a large incentive to invest and replace preform equipment.''
The 210,000-square-foot Bolton facility has 300 employees. Some employees will be added during the expansion, replacing those workers lost when the hot-runner operations move to Vermont, the company said.
Overall employment levels at the facility will remain the same, Reynolds said.
The company's mold operations are running at record volume levels at plants in Bolton and Dudelange, Luxembourg, according to Husky's 2003 second-quarter results.