Investment in automation boosts production at APPE’s U.K.-based plant

To prepare for its new owner, PET packaging giant, APPE (Wrexham, United Kingdom), has invested 10 million pounds ($15.2 million) into its Gresford, England, preform plan, marking it one of the largest investments in the Gresford plant since PET preform production began there just over 30 years ago.

According to a news release issued from the company, the investment will support the installation of five state-of-the-art Husky preform injection molding systems and the latest generation ancillary equipment including silos, resin drying systems and water chilling systems.

The installation of these machines resulted in a 1.5 billion unit annual capacity increase at the plant, taking the overall capacity to 8 billion units per year, or an average of just under 22 million per day.


APPEs molding hall in Gresford, England
 APPE's U.K.-based plant.

“APPE has successfully renewed existing contracts and has also won new business despite our parent company (LSB) entering voluntary insolvency in 2013,” said George Hendry, APPE U.K.’s Commercial Director. “The company has worked very closely with our customers throughout this period to retain our position as Europe’s premier PET preform & container designer and manufacturer. We are delighted that as a result of the market confidence in APPE we have made this significant investment at our UK plant.”

“APPE strives towards, and continually achieves, best-in-class manufacturing standards in terms of quality, efficiency and energy consumption,” said Simon Lawrence, APPE UK’s Operations Director. “This project supports our award-winning company environmental program, as well as maintaining our status as the preform and container supplier of choice to the industry and is a reflection on the excellence of our workforce.

Both Husky and Piovan have been chosen as equipment suppliers in the project due to their advanced control systems and contributions towards producing preforms with the lowest possible carbon footprint.

Plastipak Packaging Inc., a subsidiary of Plastipak Holdings Inc. (Plymouth, MI), was announced as the successful bidder for APPE, following the insolvency of parent company, LSB.  The sale is expected to be finalized this summer.

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