A Springfield company that produces plastic containers for the food industry now produces more of its materials in house, allowing it to be more competitive and react more quickly to its customers’ needs.
Tech II Inc., founded and owned by the Shiffer family, produces millions of plastic lids, bowls and other products each year that eventually end up on grocery shelves.
But to keep ahead of its competitors, the company recently began shaping its own plastic sheeting material that is used to form the products rather than buying them from a supplier, said John Catenacci, vice president of operations for Tech II.
“By making our own sheet, it gives us the opportunity to come up with our own material blend and our own material composition,” Catenacci said.
Using a high-tech production line at its Upper Valley Pike plant, the company is able to melt and mold the plastic sheeting, as well as squeeze it or add additional layers to determine its thickness. Machines monitor and control everything from the temperature to the thickness of the material.
The food containers are formed from the plastic, and toward the end of the production line labels are heated and pressed onto the finished containers, forming a tight seal that makes it appear to be a single product. The labels can even improve the structural integrity of the containers, by making the plastic more rigid for example.
Once the product is formed, the remaining scrap material from the plastic sheet is melted and reformed so it can be used again.
“Each one of these has a number of moving parts that has to be in precise alignment,” Catenacci said as he pointed out a specially designed machine that folds and then heats the labels onto the containers.
The Shiffer family has made it a priority to stay on top of the newest technology, Catenacci said, in order to keep the company ahead of its competitors.
One of the most important benefits of producing the material in house instead of ordering it from a separate company is the flexibility it provides, he said, giving the company an advantage over its competitors.
It also allows Tech II to have more control over the quality and cost of the material, as well as providing the opportunity to experiment and make a better container.
“I can respond quickly to customers because I don’t have to go to someone else to get their production schedule,” Catenacci said.
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