Constar International Inc. is selling 13 blow molding machines and 22 injection presses for making preforms, as the Philadelphia-based company moves to exit commodity PET bottles and focus on specialized, engineered containers.
The sale of the machines, housed at four Constar plants, is one of the biggest used-equipment sales in recent years.
Equipment brokerage firm Meadoworks LLC is handling the sale, which includes blow molding machines, injection molding presses and auxiliary equipment such as dryers, granulators, robotic palletizers, compressors and labelers.
Meadoworks' website lists even more Constar blow molding machines for sale 18 but the Schaumburg, Ill., firm has already sold some machines, said Jennifer Diaz, Meadoworks' marketing director.
Constar has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization twice in the last three years, most recently in January. Constar has struggled to cope with higher costs for resin, power and transportation, plus a decline in soft drink sales.
Packaging industry sources said Constar also has been hurt by the trend toward self-manufacturing, where beverage companies blow mold bottles at their own filling plants.
That allows makers of soft drinks, bottled water and other consumer beverages to cut costs especially when gasoline prices go up, which jacks up the cost of transporting bottles and preforms.
Constar's been very hard-hit by self-manufacturing, said one packaging source, who did not want to be identified.
Constar President Grant Beard laid out the strategy in a speech Feb. 8 at The Packaging Conference in Las Vegas. Beard has reduced Constar's workforce by 25 percent and replaced several senior executives since he joined the packaging giant last fall.
Most of the blow molding and injection molding machines were built in the mid-1990s.
The newest blow molding machines are three Sipas from 2003. Other blow molding brands for sale include Sidel, Bekum and Nissei. The sale includes 15 Husky and seven Milacron injection molding presses.
According to Meadoworks, the machines are located in two plants in Orlando, Fla., and one each in Kansas City, Kan., and Cheraw, S.C. The Orlando plants closed at the end of 2010. Production is winding down at the plant in Kansas City.
And the number of machines for sale will get even larger, as Constar also will sell some equipment from its operating factory in Dallas. Schaumburg, Ill.-based Meadoworks expects to have an inventory list from that plant soon.