Alcan Packaging, a division of the global giant Alcan Group, is the world leader in flexible packaging for food products. The division has sales of $6 Billion, and operates up to 150 facilities in 30 countries. Sales of food packaging makes up over 60% of the division’s revenues.
Alcan Packaging’s facilities in Russellville, Arkansas (formerly Lawson-Marsdon Thermaplate)use a Melt-To-Mold® extrusion and thermoforming process to produce trays for frozen food, bakery and retail uses. Seven days a week, the company relies on ENTEK E-MAX™ extruders for high quality compounding of their material blends.
The unique process utilized by Alcan involves using the ENTEK extruders to compound their material into sheet. The finished trays are then produced using an in-line thermoforming process. Mike Frazier, Site Manager of Alcan’s Russellville facility, says their two 103mm E-MAX™ extruders provide two key attributes.
“We mix impact-modifier with the resins that go into our packaging trays,” he said. “The ENTEK extruders do a great job compounding at high operating temperatures. In addition, they are extremely dependable. We can’t tolerate stops and starts due to machinery issues, and of all of our processing lines, the ENTEK machines are the most reliable.”
In 2001 Alcan was looking for new machinery, so two Alcan engineers visited ENTEK’s headquarters in Lebanon, Oregon to run lab trials. The success achieved running their materials during that visit led to the order for two ENTEK 103mm E-MAX™ extruders, complete with feeders, melt pumps, and dies. After four years of continuous service, “we are very pleased – the ENTEK machines perform extremely well, and are very user friendly,” said Frazier.
ENTEK has provided more than just extruders to Alcan. Recently, when a control system on a non-ENTEK extruder was malfunctioning, Alcan called ENTEK to service the problem. “We liked the ENTEK controls so much, we wanted to see if we could use them on our other brands of extruders,” said Frazier. “ENTEK replaced the old controller with a new control system for this extruder, which isn’t even their machinery – and it runs great.” Eventually, Alcan plans to retrofit more of their older machines with ENTEK controls.
ENTEK’s quality machinery, service and support, and fast deliveries of spare parts all add up to a recipe for success for Alcan. “For our extrusion needs, ENTEK is our first call,” said Frazier. “The people at ENTEK are interested in working.