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Sealed Air's Diversey Care reshores Optifill product

Diversey Care (Sturtevant, WI), a division of Sealed Air and innovative developers in the commercial cleaning and hygiene business, has teamed up with Wisconsin-based Knapp Manufacturing Inc. (Racine) and SussexIM (Sussex, WI) to re-launch the manufacture of Diversey Care's North American supply of the Optifill system for manual warewashing.

Development of the commercial cleaning system, made by Knapp and SussexIM, was moved back to North America from China to provide Diversey Care's customer base with a reliable supply of high-quality products for a detergent and disinfectant dispenser that offers precise, consistent measurement, and is safe and easy to use and maintain.

Knapp is known for its custom and captive plastic injection micro-molding, specializing in liquid dosing and delivery systems. Founded by Fred Knapp in 1945, the company also provides products for the medical and consumer markets, and has created components for a range of product categories, from aircraft instrumentation to aerosol dispensing. The company also has in-house moldmaking, design and contract manufacturing.

SussexIM is a full-service, fully automated supplier offering a one-stop source of design, engineering, lean manufacturing/injection molding and post-molding operations for a range of global power brands. SussexIM had an opportunity to bid the program when it first launched several years ago, but the choice was to take Optifill to China for manufacture, Ed Fabiszak, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for SussexIM, explained to PlasticsToday.

Recently, while working with Diversey Care on another program, the Optifill project came to the forefront. Knapp had been working with Diversey Care on the products all along, providing support for various quality issues that arose. When the opportunity came along for the Optifill product to be made in the United States, Knapp was aware of SussexIM's participation in the bidding on the original program.

Joe Reimer, Director of Business Development for SussexIM, commented to PlasticsToday: "They produce small parts while we mold larger parts. They saw the fit for our two companies to collaborate with SussexIM to supply the large components, the decoration and some assembly, while Knapp does final assembly at its plant, and sends it off to the fill house. It became a close partnership to develop the tools and processes to complete this project."

The precision Optifill system developed for Diversey Care uses a sturdy, multi-piece, polypropylene design and was created with durability and recyclability in mind to withstand repeated, harsh use in a commercial kitchen or beverage bar environment, said SussexIM. Diversey Care's Optifill system is one of the only non-wall-mounted systems that can deliver precision dosing and dispensing of dishware-washing chemicals, use after use.

"This device is unique. It doesn't depend on people to guess at the right dose of detergent, which means there's no under- or over-dosing," said Fabiszak. "Because dosing is based on the water faucet, employees can get it right 100% of the time. From a Diversey perspective this was ground breaking, and can save on the cost of detergent while always meeting the standards required by the health department. It guarantees that when the health inspector walks through the facility, you're spot on."

SussexIM President Keith Everson added that the company is grateful for the opportunity "to demonstrate how our U.S.-based capabilities deliver world-class, innovative products that truly benefit the end user. Our experience allowed us to reverse engineer and improve upon the product's original design. As a result, Sealed Air's Diversey Care team realized supply chain efficiencies in terms of time and cost, as well as a first-rate product that benefits their commercial food customers."

Knapp President David Horvath added, "We teamed our expertise in precision plastic injection tooling and molding with SussexIM's decades of plastics experience to create a superior U.S.-made commercial detergent and disinfectant system. Our seamless work is another example of how—when all factors are considered—the pendulum [can swing] back to domestic manufacturing."

Added Everson, "On-shoring is most definitely back."

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