As it grows through acquisition and reputation, Amcor Rigid Plastics of Ann Arbor, Mich., is adding machinery and technology to meet packaging demands for personal care, food and health care products.
Investments in an injection blow molding (IBM) machine from Italy's Meccanoplastica Group and an extrusion blow molding (EBM) machine from Germany's Kautex Maschinenbau are part of a new effort to update manufacturing operations.
And there are many.
Amcor is the No. 1 blow molder in North America, based on estimated 2017 sales of $2.26 billion in the region, according to Plastics News' latest ranking.
With a focus on two segments, Amcor's global business, Amcor Ltd., has 69 production sites in its rigid packing unit and 131 sites producing flexible packaging. The company says it saw overall sales of $9.1 billion in 2017, including $2.9 billion in rigid packaging sales of PET products as well as containers and closures made from other resins.
At NPE2018, Amcor joined Kautex at its booth, where the first Kautex machine it purchased, the KBB40D, is producing an HDPE stock oval package for the personal care industry. Amcor officials say that their expanding technology and capabilities are an important growth driver.
"We're looking around and we're trying out new things," Chuck Simpson, manager of household and personal care products, said at the booth. "Certainly, a really nice thing about this machine is it's all-electric and the quick changeability of the molds. From what I've seen you can change these molds in 30 minutes to an hour. That's substantially different than other machines out there."
Suresh Krishnan, senior director of platform strategy for Amcor Rigid Plastics' Diversified Products division, referred to the purchases of IBM and EBM platforms as investments that "enable us to refresh our manufacturing assets, delivering greater quality with the latest technologies to meet today's demands of the packaging industry."
Amcor says its Jet series IBM machine will produce polypropylene and HDPE health care packaging in the form of 7-ml to 50-ml vials and the KBB series EBM machine will produce 4-ounce to 32-ounce containers for personal shampoo, body washes and bathroom cleaners.