Plantic: Australian thermoformer buys equipment

Plantic Technologies Ltd., which makes thermoformed trays from plant-based biopolymers, has purchased a new 103-millimeter twin-screw compounding extruder.
The line will be Plantic’s third from Lebanon, Oregon-based Entek Manufacturing Inc. It will be shipped to Plantic’s Melbourne headquarters by the end of the year to supply customers in Europe. Mark Fink, Plantic´s business development manager, would not say how much the extruder cost.
“At the moment, we produce for the Australian and New Zealand markets, and we export rolled stock to Europe and it is converted there. We are considering the Japanese and United States markets, but there is nothing solid there yet,” Fink said.
Australian companies using Plantic thermoformed trays include confectionery manufacturers Cadbury Schweppes Ltd. and Darrell Lea Chocolates Pty. Ltd. Fink said Plantic also is moving into packaging for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
The company also is exploring injection molding. New products under development include a flower bulb package that spaces bulbs evenly and can be planted, and a mosquito trap that falls apart when the insecticide runs out.
Kirk Hanawalt, Entek sales vice president, said extensive laboratory trials to overcome challenges in manufacturing the cornstarch-based material helped it win the first contract to supply Plantic in 2003. Entek also has supplied Plantic’s research partner, the University of Queensland’s Centre for High Performance Polymers, in Brisbane, Australia, with a 27mm extruder.

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