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August 7, 1998

4 Min Read
Repackaging profits pays off in growth

articleimage1147.JPGTwo years ago, IMM took you on a tour of an extremely clean containers and closures molding plant in Hot Springs, AR. It belonged to Delta Plastics. If you saved a copy of the March 1996 issue, take a look at the photo on p. 72. It's a shot of the Delta Plastics plant floor with 40 Battenfeld CDC series molding machines neatly arranged in a clean and efficient manufacturing environment. We told you then that the Delta board members planned to reinvest a substantial portion of their company's profits into strengthening Delta's foundation and into growth. Well, business has been good for Delta during the past two years, and their reinvestment plan has paid off with substantial dividends.

Delta Closures is a brand-new division. It started production late last year, right across the parking lot from Delta Plastics, in a 170,000-sq-ft molding facility that's even cleaner and more productive than the company's original 180,000-sq-ft plant. The second plant is dedicated to the high-volume molding and lining of 28- to 120-mm closures. When it's up to full capacity, Delta Closures will run 44 new Battenfeld CDCs.

As you might recall, Delta's board members have more than 100 years of combined experience in closure and container molding and moldmaking. Manufacturing efficiency means more profits for Delta to reinvest.

"Business has been good for us. Last year, we enjoyed a double-digit increase in sales," says Chris Rakhshan, president. "Our new move into the closures market was a natural expansion for our company, but it involves new technology-new molds and new types of machines. We feel that we've benefited from all of our previous experience in starting up our new plant, but we've also learned a few new tricks."

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Technology Lessons

The closures market is as competitive as Delta's plants are clean. Rakhshan says his company knew it couldn't hope to be successful going in as a "me too," playing the piece-price game. To become what Rakhshan calls a "truly formidable" competitor, Delta's board decided to reinvest capital into the best technology it could find to produce the highest yields possible of the highest quality closures. "We had no delusions," Rakhshan says. "We set out to try to do it to perfection."

After rigorous testing at an independent lab against competitive equipment, Delta again selected Battenfeld machines. The machines are bigger than the ones at the first plant-220-ton CDCs, as opposed to 88- to 110-ton CDCs. The machines at Delta Closures also have different controllers-Battenfeld's top of the line, Tc40 transputers, as opposed to Unilog 2040s. The new CDCs also are fully closed loop machines. These "new tricks" were predicated by Delta Closures' need for more productive, higher cavitation tooling.

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Its molds have always given Delta its competitive edge. However, it needed something more for closures. "We've found the Tc40s to be much easier to use, and our shop-floor people are not intimidated by them. Now we mold more intelligently," Rakhshan explains. "The controllers are smart enough and the machinery systems are big and fast enough to have allowed us to come up with more efficient, high-yield, low-cost mold designs that work."

Plant Improvements

A number of other new tricks have been employed at Delta Closures to improve manufacturing efficiencies. Delta is now using machine-mounted color-proportioning equipment from Plastrac specially designed for quick cleaning and Mattec ProHelp Millennium production monitoring, as well. There's a new targeted ventilation system in the plant and new energy-saving transformers that board members believe will help Delta Closures reach its billions of pieces/year capacity more efficiently. So will the new automated printing, labeling, and lining machines they've bought.

Meanwhile, they've reinvested their profits into other areas of their organization to ensure even further future growth:

  • To increase personal contact and support with customers, Delta has opened four regional sales offices.

  • Sales and customer service functions have been both separated and reorganized.

  • Construction has begun on a 15,000-sq-ft tooling R&D and maintenance facility in Hot Springs.

  • Plans call for building a new west coast R&D, moldmaking, sales office, and warehouse facility that will also design and build robotic automation systems.

  • A company website (www.deltaplastics.com) has been developed.

    Contact information

    Delta Plastics

    Hot Springs, AR

    Chris Rakhshan

    Phone: (501) 760-3000

    Fax: (501) 760-3005

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