England's Anker PET Moulds & Tooling Ltd. (Booth N7925) will invest about $3.1 million during three years to extend its PET mold-making operations to the United States.
The Accrington, England-based company plans to build a design, sales and service center by May 2004. A final decision on the center's location is due by the end of June, but it is most likely to be in Charlotte, N.C., according to Ian Wilks, vice president of business development.
The center will design, build and service bottle and preform molds, according to the firm, which is part of Accrington-based PET equipment specialist Anker House Group. The center also will offer rebuilding and technical support for PET-related blow molding and injection molding equipment.
``Our aim is to become the leading single-source supplier of both new and rebuilt PET equipment and molds in the United States, a strategic market for Anker,'' he said. ``If we are to provide a better all-round service for our customers, we must have a U.S. presence which provides solid technical support.''
His company has been considering locating its base either in North Carolina or Georgia. In both states, it already serves a cluster of U.S. customers, Wilks said.
Anker is announcing details of its U.S. project at NPE 2003 in Chicago, where it will showcase its patented, servo-driven, rotary table for PET bottle-making machines. The company also intends to unveil an agency agreement it has been negotiating with a U.S. company for Anker to sell post-consumer PET bottle-recycling equipment in Europe. Anker is exhibiting as part of the U.K. Pavilion, sponsored by the British Plastics Federation.
Anker PET Moulds & Tooling expanded its operation in Accrington last year with a 2.5 million euro ($2.3 million) investment, which included a 16,000-square-foot design center. In addition, the company won a contract to supply trial molds for the Deep River Rock bottled-water project of Coca-Cola Bottlers (Ulster) Ltd. in Northern Ireland, according to Wilks.
Other Anker House businesses include the PET machinery and technical services company Anker PET Equipment Ltd.; machinery spares distribution firm Anker Spare Parts Ltd.; Anker Equipment Ltd., a single-source supplier of reconditioned and rebuilt PET machinery; and Anker Chile Ltda., a Chile-based firm serving Latin America.