The Persian Gulf's largest molder of caps and closures is investing $10 million in a new factory near Amman, Jordan, as part of an effort to boost its capacity 50 percent and tap local growth in soft drinks and bottled water.
Dubai-based Uni Cap plans to open the 43,000-square-foot factory in the first quarter of next year, and described it as a highly automated facility that will have four injection molding machines when it's fully built out.
It will ultimately boost the company's capacity from 4.5 billion caps and closures a year now, to 7 billion, and help with an expansion into Egypt and the Levant region, including Jordan, Iraq, Syria and the West Bank, according to Bassam Hajjar, chief executive officer of Uni Cap, in a telephone interview with Plastics News.
Uni Cap's business is split about equally between multinational drink manufacturers and local brands, with one factory each in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Beirut. Jordan will be its third plant.
Hajjar declined to disclose Uni Cap sales but said the company has grown by focusing on bringing technology into the local market.
The company says it's the first in the Persian Gulf and Levant regions to manufacture the so-called 1881 one-piece cap for carbonated soft drinks, and will be showing a manufacturing system at the Arabplast 2015 show in January in Dubai, using an e-cap machine from injection press maker Engel Austria GmbH.
That particular cap is common on soft drinks worldwide but it's lagged in the Middle East because it's hard to manufacture the 1881's lightweight design in places with extreme heat like the Persian Gulf, where temperatures can regularly exceed 50° Celsius (122° Farenheit), Engel said in a news release.
Hajjar said his company was also the first caps and closures molder in the region to use all-electric presses, starting in 2008. The company's factories are highly automated — it employs 65 in its two factories now — with features like online inspection systems for better quality, he said.
“It's not the cheapest way to make closures,” he said. “We don't wait for the market to develop. We are always ahead of the curve with technology.”
The company currently has 10 injection molding machines.
He said the company's growth is being helped by a growing population and purchasing power, and factors like consumers preferring not to drink tap water.