Schoeller Arca Systems to begin injection molding pallets in Arizona

By Michael Lauzon | PLASTICS NEWS

SKOKIE, ILL. (April 27, 2:10 p.m. ET) — Plastic pallet supplier Schoeller Arca Systems is setting up a production plant in Goodyear, Ariz., to supply a major customer active on the U.S. West Coast.

“We outgrew our capacity,” said Schoeller Arca Americas President Robert Engle in a telephone interview. “We have a long-term contract with a long term customer.”

Schoeller Arca has been relying on contract manufacturers to injection mold its pallets in North America. Engle said the new contract is business to be fulfilled from Goodyear and it should not affect contract manufacturers’ workloads.

The new plant will back out imports from Schoeller Arca affiliates in Europe. Engle said officials are pondering the long-term fate of Schoeller Arca Americas current head office in Skokie, Ill.

Schoeller Arca will in the new contract make pallets for Ifco Systems, an international logistics provider for pallets and other goods. Engle said the work will be pallets for a range of agricultural and food applications. Ifco of Houston claims to be the leader in pallet management in the United States, with a pool of more than 116 million reusable plastic containers.

The pallet supplier expects to have its Goodyear plant up and running by the end of May. It is installing 14 injection presses with clamping forces of 1,000 tons.

The Goodyear facility, formerly a Rubbermaid operation, will employ more than 45. Some machines will be new while others will be relocated from other production locations. Schoeller Arca mainly molds polypropylene and high density polyethylene.

Schoeller Arca Systems has international sales of about $600 million per year. Its headquarters is in Zwolle, the Netherlands. It is a joint venture between One Equity Partners of New York, Schoeller Holding Gmbh of Pullach, Germany, and management.

Ifco Systems of Houston is a subsidiary of Ifco Systems NV of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which had global sales of $785.4 million last year. Pallet producer Brambles Ltd. of Sydney, Australia, recently acquired Ifco Systems from Apax Partners of London.

Schoeller Arca also looked at Reno, Nev., as a possible production site but Arizona has a more pro-business attitude, officials said in an e-mail. As well, the Goodyear building was designed for injection molding when it was a Rubbermaid facility.