An Oregon injection molder that has designed a niche for itself in supplying products sold in volume at warehouse retail clubs, now finds itself expanding into a second facility.
Oregon Precision Industries Inc., which operates as PakTech, makes hundreds of millions of handles used to join containers sold at retail shopping clubs each year. Now the Eugene, Ore.-based company is renovating and expanding into a vacant industrial building in nearby Cottage Grove, Ore., to meet demand for an upcoming contract with a client who needs production in January.
The expansion is in an 86,000-square-foot structure about 30 miles south of PakTech's current operations in an industrial corridor near Eugene.
PakTech injection molds eight styles of plastic handles and makes 11 kinds of in-line automated handle-application equipment including the MultiPak Applicator 60, capable of 60 cycles per minute.
The City of Cottage Grove, Lane County Commissioner Faye Stewart and the Emerald People's Utility District worked on the deal with PakTech. The business is buying the building and land from Wells Fargo Bank following a foreclosure.
PakTech will start with 35 workers in Cottage Grove, with eventual employment of more than 100. Limited operations are expected to begin in December.
PakTech began discussions with Cottage Grove in late April. It had previously attempted to expand near its Eugene facilities, but complex long-standing disagreements with the city about annexation rights and obligations prompted the manufacturer to look elsewhere.
PakTech needs to expand and gear up for a client wanting production in January, according to Richard Meyers, Cottage Grove city manager.
“Time is getting short to repair the existing building and get it up and running by the end of December,” Meyers said in a telephone interview.
For its expansion, PakTech and the community at large are taking on a big project. It inherits a roof in need of repairs and a building with too many loading docks for its purposes.
And the manufacturer, as a food industry supplier, needs to comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations.
In addition, PakTech had more substantial power requirements than the building's previous occupant, a maker of retractable steps for the recreational vehicle industry.
The utility is investing $2 million to improve its electrical system, a move it says will also help it bring other manufacturers to the region.
The power utility serving the Cottage Grove site “jumped through hoops and started making improvements” even before PakTech committed to the project, Meyers said.
Jim Borg is OPI president, and he and his family members own the business.
Borg started a mold making shop with three employees in 1982 and eventually moved into custom injection molding work for some customers.
A project in 1992 set the business on a different course. A dairy wanted to link and sell two gallons of milk in the then-new Costco Wholesale Corp. warehouse club stores.
Borg designed and made a TwinPak handle. That led to a brisk business for club store packaging. Next, he created automated application equipment and soon limited his focus to all aspects of the handle business, soon identified under the PakTech brand.
PakTech ships more than 300 million handles per year globally to processors of food and beverages and makers of household and consumer goods.
PakTech employs about 160, with about 65 percent in production, 20 percent in customer service, sales, marketing, accounting and human resource positions and, in a separate Eugene area building, 15 percent in machinery design.