Canadian Plastics

Custom design part of the package at Yorkbridge

Some bottle blow molders go for volumes, others for distinctive products aimed at niche markets. Yorkbridge Packaging West, based in Calgary, has defined itself as the latter."We're custom blow molder...

June 1, 2000   Canadian Plastics



Some bottle blow molders go for volumes, others for distinctive products aimed at niche markets. Yorkbridge Packaging West, based in Calgary, has defined itself as the latter.

“We’re custom blow molders,” says plant manager Harry Logan.

Logan says many of the company’s customers are businesses or entrepreneurs looking to break into the market with an innovative design or product. The high range of a particular product at the company would be 10 to 12 million units, and is typically much smaller. A typical run at a high-volume blow molder could be 20 million or more, for a single package container

The company has six injection presses for making pre-forms. The presses, a mix of Huskys and Cincinnatis, are run with molds ranging from 12 to 32 cavities, in 22 different possible pre-form configurations.

As well, Yorkbridge has seven stretch-blow machines, three for two-cavity molds, and the other four for four-cavity molds. It also has an impressive inventory of blow molds–over 100 different blow molds, many proprietary. Calgary-based Omid Enterprises manufactures all of the company’s blow molds; while PET Mold Inc. in Ohio supplies much of the injection pre-form tooling.

Logan says the wide variety and styles of bottles made by the company is ultimately more challenging and, from a personal point of view, more rewarding, than high-volume blow molding.

“Many of the bottles we make the big guys couldn’t do, or would be less interested in doing,” says Logan. “We can take a pre-form and make 15 different bottles.”

Matching the right pre-form to the bottle design is critical to getting a high-quality bottle at a good cycle time, Logan notes. One of the company’s strengths is its engineering expertise in designing pre-forms with the right tapers and plastic distribution.

The 70,000 sq. ft. facility became a part of Yorkbridge Packaging Group in 1997 when its assets were purchased. The company also has facilities in Mississauga, Ont. and Bethlehem, PA.

The company has just completed a 6,000 sq. ft. expansion which will be used primarily for the storage of pre-forms. With 45 percent of its sales going to U.S. regions as far away as California, the company is looking at ways to defray freight costs.

“Ten percent of bottle costs can be in freight,” Logan says. “It’s becoming a big issue for us.” He reports the parent company is looking to make an acquisition of a U.S. facility with a business partner.

One example of the unique type of custom blow molding project Yorkbridge often takes on is a tinted bottle used in a toy water cannon. The bottle has curved edges and must meet safety standards for a container pressurized with air.

For coloring the company uses powder color concentrate supplied by Holland Colours Canada. Logan says the company ran liquid colorant in the past, but switched to powder for its ease-of-use and blending characteristics.

With a current customer list that includes Lipton, Mark Anthony Cellars, A&W, Global Beverages and others, the company plans to build on its solid core base of business.

“Our focus for the last couple of years has been to get volumes to a point that we could invest more dollars in advanced equipment and technology. We’re going to be doing that.”CPL


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