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Placon founder and Chairman Tom Mohs passes away at age 77

Clare Goldsberry

May 2, 2016

3 Min Read
Placon founder and Chairman Tom Mohs passes away at age 77

Placon (Madison, WI), a designer and manufacturer of thermoformed and injection molded plastic packaging products, announced the death of the company’s founder and Chairman, Tom Mohs, 77, just weeks shy of the company’s 50th anniversary. The company that began in 1966 in the basement of a pioneering young engineer is today a prosperous, growing company with annual sales topping $150 million.

In 1966, Mohs built a small thermoforming machine in his home workshop and began making plastic jewelry boxes. Within three years, he was receiving orders from local cheese companies and began to expand the company’s operations. Although plastic thermoforming was still in its infancy, the company started earning business because of its innovative engineering and package design capabilities, said Placon’s information.

In 1980, Placon was asked to design a small package for a large U.S. retailer in order to merchandise an assortment of fasteners on peg hooks. Using the jewelry box concept, Mohs added a hinge to create a single-piece container with a hang-hole for a peg hook. Placon patented the design for the first retail clamshell package created in the United States, which it trademarked the BlisterBox. The container remains a core product for Placon to this day.

In the early 1990s, when the world’s largest retailer asked Placon and other fastener suppliers to use recycled plastic material in its packaging, Mohs redesigned and retooled thermoforming equipment and worked with recyclers of plastic soda bottles to produce an alternative to virgin PVC packaging. Two years later, the company began running products in recycled PET, and the following year was awarded the Wisconsin Governor’s Award for Waste Reduction and Recycling in recognition of its early efforts in environmental stewardship.

In 2001, Placon added an in-line production facility to provide closed-loop continuous production of its foodservice products. In 2003, a new, recycled PET (rPET) extrusion facility was added. The company’s recycling and extrusion operation was completed in 2011, allowing the company to control the recycled content and quality of its EcoStar-branded plastic sheet made with curbside-collected, postconsumer rPET from bottles and thermoforms.

In 2007, Placon expanded its medical packaging capabilities, building an ISO Class 8 cleanroom at its headquarters. In 2011, the company purchased Barger Packaging in Elkhart, IN, with merged capabilities creating one of the largest medical device thermoformed packaging companies in North America. In 2014, Placon added injection molding to its capabilities with the acquisition of Plastic Packaging Corp. in West Springfield, MA.

Known for its innovation in design in both injection molding and thermoforming, in 2015 Placon was awarded its fourth Institute of Packaging Professionals (IOPP) AmeriStar award in three years for its P&G Gillette Fusion ProGlide with Flexball packaging design. Using complex matched metal tooling, Placon created a perforation around the perimeter of the thermoformed PET blister that is heat sealed to a paperboard insert, making for an easy-opening package.

Mohs actively served as Chairman on Placon’s Board of Directors until his death. The company’s 50 Years of Innovation: Celebrating Our Legacy, Inspiring Our Future” celebration to honor Tom Mohs' legacy will be held in each of its locations on May 12.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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