Dozens of plastic pallet makers exhibited at ProMat 2007 and reported growth, thanks to market interest in their wares and new federal customs regulations requiring chemical or heat treatment of wood pallets.
Cabka North America Inc. of Skokie, Ill., has contracted for additional plastic pallet-manufacturing capacity.
The company in mid-January began using three lines at Contico's plant in St. Louis - two 2,000-ton presses and one with 1,500 tons of clamping force, said Peter Braun, Cabka chief executive officer. Production of smaller products, including skids, is slated to begin on a 1,000-ton press. Contico is a unit of Katy Industries Inc. of Middlebury, Conn.
Cabka also contracts with Action Moulding & Design Ltd. of Mississauga, Ontario, for pallet production on three 2,000-ton presses.
Braun said Cabka North America's sales during 2006 increased about 400 percent vs. the previous year, and he forecasts another 400 percent jump in 2007. He would not reveal actual sales figures. Braun once operated an Israeli molding business that Cabka purchased.
Cabka's 12 styles of one-way pallets contain a proprietary mix of recycled polymers. Universal Mould & Die Co. Ltd. of Stoney Creek, Ontario, and Cabka North America's parent firm, Cabka GmbH of Stuttgart, Germany, manufacture the molds.
Other pallet molders also reported growth:
* Injection molder Decade Products LLC of Grand Rapids, Mich., added a 2,000-ton Milacron to its Bettendorf, Iowa, plant last year, giving that location a total of seven presses. The Grand Rapids facility operates 20 presses. Decade's overall clamping force range is 750-9,000 tons. Pallets account for 15 percent of the business, with containers and bins representing more than 45 percent, President Ralph Harris said.
* Pallet maker and recycler Solplast Inc. of Montreal obtained a new pelletizer in December, increasing plant capacity to 6.6 million pounds per hour from 4.4 million pounds. Solplast uses polyethylene to make pallets for heavy-duty and lighter applications. The company employs 50-60 in a 100,000-square-foot site.
* PrimePal LP of Houston is testing its new Diamondback-brand rackable plastic pallet with two food firms and one agricultural company. A Dayton, Ohio, molder uses ultraviolet-light-stabilized, high-impact copolymer polypropylene to compression mold the top and bottom decks, and nylon to injection mold the durable structural insert. The pallet weighs 48 pounds and can handle a maximum rackable load of 2,800 pounds.
ProMat was held Jan. 8-11 in Chicago.