Custom blow molder Apex Plastics has gained a “clear” advantage with its purchase of a new Aoki injection blow molding machine.
With its $625,000 machinery investment, the Brookfield, Mo.-based company is now able to blow mold clear beverage bottles using PET.
“We were working with a customer on a [high density polyethylene] bottle, and they really wanted to go clear,” Damon Neff, president of Apex Plastics, said in a Feb. 21 phone interview. “They wanted PET.”
Neff said Apex Plastics, which employs about 40, had been thinking about getting into the PET market for a few years.
“We had an existing customer, so it's not like we were purchasing a machine and trying to sell time. There was existing business for it whenever it got operational,” he added.
The machine, which is an Aoki 250LL-50S model, is already up and running at Apex Plastics' 37,000-square-foot facility. In addition to the added capability for running PET material, the injection blow molding machine is also able to mold a broad range of bottles and containers from narrow neck to wide mouth. The Aoki press brings the company's blow molding machine count to 12.
With the new capacity, Neff said he will hire three workers — each assigned to a different shift. He is also considering further expanding the Brookfield facility.
“As we've been growing … we need additional warehouse space to meet our customers' needs,” Neff said. “As our production increases, then we'll need some more storage.”
In the past five years, the company said it has invested nearly $5 million in upgraded equipment, technology and its facility to accommodate growth and customer needs.
Apex Plastics ranks No. 104 on the annual survey of blow molders by Plastics News, with reported sales of $5.7 million in 2016. The custom blow molder is owned by PCE Inc. in Lincoln, Neb.