England's Anker PET Moulds & Tooling Ltd. 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, said 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 maker Anker House Group. The center also will offer rebuilding and technical support for PET 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 firm has been considering locating its base either in North Carolina or Georgia, states where it already serves a cluster of U.S. customers, Wilks said.
Anker announced details of its U.S. project at NPE 2003 in Chicago, where it showcased its servo-driven, rotary table for PET bottle-making machines. It exhibited at the U.K. Pavilion, sponsored by the British Plastics Federation.
Anker PET Moulds & Tooling expanded in Accrington last year with a 2.5 million euro ($2.3 million) investment, including a 16,000-square-foot design center. The firm also won a contract to supply trial molds for the Deep River Rock bottled-water project of Coca-Cola Bottlers (Ulster) Ltd. in Northern Ireland, Wilks said.
Other Anker House businesses include the PET machinery and technical services firm Anker PET Equipment Ltd.; machinery spares distributor Anker Spare Parts Ltd.; Anker Equipment Ltd., a single-source supplier of reconditioned and rebuilt PET machinery; and Anker Chile Ltda., which serves Latin America.