Cartonplast LLC, a maker of divider sheets for reusable pallets, has changed its name to Corbi Plastics LLC and folded itself into a 50-50 joint venture with pallet supplier Orbis Corp.
Corbi President Jack Graham said Feb. 16 that the company will continue to distribute plastic reusable pallets, top frames and divider sheets. DeForest, Wis.-based Corbi will take over production of solid polypropylene divider sheets that Orbis has made at Pleasant Prairie, Wis. That plant is shutting down, affecting about 65 workers, said spokesman Michael John of Orbis, based in Oconomowoc, Wis.
The solid divider sheets are used to hold metal cans and wine bottles during shipping. Orbis will send three sheet extrusion lines to DeForest, where they will start running this summer. About 25 workers from the Pleasant Prairie plant will move to the Corbi facility, John said.
Orbis also will shift many of the other workers from Pleasant Prairie to its Fox Valley, Wis., plant, which makes plastic pallets and totes, John said. Some injection molding equipment from Pleasant Prairie will move to Fox Valley.
The Corbi plant will continue to make corrugated PP divider sheets, a hollowed-out, flat pad that seats glass bottles on a pallet to prevent damage during shipping, Graham said. The plant has one extrusion line dedicated to corrugated sheet. Both corrugated and solid pallet dividers also are called layer pads.
The 88,000-square-foot Cartonplast facility opened in March 2004. At the time, the facility was a joint venture between Cartonplast GmbH of Dietzenbach, Germany, and several partners. Orbis now owns half of the DeForest facility, with the Cartonplast group controlling the remaining 50 percent, Graham said.
The Corbi plant is to hike employment from around 20 now to 40-50 within eight months.
In addition to molding pallets and related parts, Corbi handles and cleans pallets and top frames for its customers. The firm has cleaning and service centers in Lafayette, Ind., and Houston, and wants to expand to other parts of North America, Graham said.
``It's a growing market with a lot of unique service requirements,'' Graham said. ``We've been very successful at it in Europe and can do the same over here.''
Orbis also pools and cleans pallets at a recently acquired plant in King City, Calif., John said. Cartonplast's pooling service was a major driver in Orbis' decision to form the joint venture, he said.
Orbis is owned by Menasha Corp. of Neenah, Wis.