March 2013

Overcoming Adversity: Two fillers face the elements

 

 

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Empack Spraytech faces down flames

Empack Spraytech Inc., of Brampton, Ontario, Canada, had its share of good fortune and hard luck last year. In 2012, it opened a new 65,000 sq. ft. facility. The new building, situated adjacent to the original 60,000 sq. ft. building, was specifically designed to serve as a primary production facility for health and beauty, and products requiring a Health Canada Drug Identification Number (DIN) or Food & Drug Administration (FDA) registration (Empack is already registered with the FDA and, as we go to press, expected to receive its Drug Establishment License from Health Canada last February).
The new building features:

  • A new aerosol production line from Pamasol. A second line is planned within two years.
  • A complete Pamasol BOV filling line including 100% fill pressure testing
  • A new Kalix Tube filling line
  • A new Finpac shrink sleeve applicator
  • Increased distribution capabilities
  • New R&D Laboratory dedicated to drug products
  • New individually isolated blending rooms and equipment dedicated to drug products

New personnel

Webster

Webster

In 2012, Brian Webster joined the Empack executive team as General Manager of Pharma Operations to oversee the firm’s production of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals in a variety of formats, including continuous sprays and collapsible tubes.

New launches
In conjunction with its Drug Establishment License, Empack started manufacturing sunscreens and sun care products last month. This includes continuous sprays and lotions under private label and a full line of premium sunscreen products under its SunZone brand. It also launched a new product line of automotive care and cleaning products under its Emzone brand.
Also in 2012, Empack Spraytech Inc. was the winner of the Advanced Manufacturing Award for its innovative work in the automotive and chemical sectors at the 16th Annual Brampton Outstanding Business Achievement Awards. Check it out at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvdKzr5a8go&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Raffi Nalbandian

Nalbandian

Original facility catches fire
On Dec. 17, 2012, Empack Spraytech experienced a plant fire in the batching area of its original building. Because of the safety measures and procedures put in place, the fire did not spread to the whole building and more importantly, no one was seriously hurt, explained Empack President Raffi Nalbandian.

“The new building remained unaffected,” Nalbandian said.  “However, as a result of the fire, part of the older building and one of the aerosol lines sustained major damage. We immediately set in motion all contingency plans in order to address the damage and ensure there was no or limited impact to our customer base. Within 48 hours, we were producing product and shipping from the new building. While significant work was required to clean up and secure the original plant, we now have one production line running again in the affected area. Using all our capabilities and production lines in both buildings, we are able to ensure that all orders are now shipping with very minimal delays.”

Empack in 2013
Empack is expecting its best year ever.

“Our growth will continue as we launch new programs, such as sun care and other premium health and beauty products, with major retailers and brands in Canada and the U.S.,” emphasized Nalbandian. “We will continue rebuilding the damaged area of the older building as we simultaneously take advantage of the production capabilities, new R&D labs and batching areas in the new building,” he concluded.

Sandy leaves American Spraytech in the dark…(temporarily)

Lalwani with logo

Lalwani

American Spraytech LLC is a contract filler of aerosol cosmetic and over-the-counter (OTC) drug spray products. Its North Branch, NJ plant has been in business since 1982. American Spraytech acquired the plant in 2003 with two lines, operating one shift, with a total annual capacity of 12 million cans. By 2014, according to American Spraytech President Allen Lalwani, the filler—which is solely a contract manufacturer with no private label products of its own—will have five aerosol lines and one bag-on-valve (BOV) line operating two shifts with a total annual capacity of 75 million cans. When it began its operations in 2003, the company had acquired a 25,000 sq. ft. facility on 2.25 acres. American Spraytech added 50,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space in 2012, and plans to expand its production facility in 2013 by doubling the footprint of the North Branch plant campus. By 2014, American Spraytech will have facilities totaling in excess of 125,000 sq. ft., spread over five acres, said Lalwani.
In 2012, American Spraytech increased its filling capacity by 50% in traditional aerosols. In addition, it increased production from one shift to two shifts daily, went from a five-day work week to six days a week, and added one new aerosol filling line and one BOV line to the existing two lines. In 2013, American Spraytech will add two more aerosol filling lines in the new production facility being built on its existing site.
All components used by American Spraytech to fill products for its customers are sourced from U.S companies or made in the U.S., noted Lalwani.

New personnel
Bob Flaherty leads plant operations under Bob Swiatecki, Director of Operations. Flaherty added three new production managers to his staff last year and will add to these positions in 2013. Manav Lalwani leads the new business development team with a growing group of R&D chemists, headed by industry veteran Bill Lueschen.

New launches
American Spraytech customers launched several new technologically advanced cosmetic hair and skin care aerosol and OTC drug BOV products in 2012.

“Our new formulations lead to several million cans in previously untapped business opportunities for our customers,” said Lalwani. “Some of the new technologies were patented by American Spraytech to protect our customers’ interests. In 2013, there will be more launches of ‘first to market’ products from American Spraytech.”

Superstorm Sandy dims the lights
When Hurricane or “Superstorm” Sandy hit New Jersey on Oct. 29, 2012, American Spraytech was without power for eight days, completely shutting down the plant and offices.

“We received no insurance reimbursement, as the plant didn’t suffer any damages, explained Lalwani.
“Power was restored on the afternoon of Nov. 6 [and] we were back in production on Nov. 7. On the afternoon of the 7th, we convened a meeting with all office and plant workers and put together a plan to get shipments back on schedule.
“First, we assured all the employees that whether paid hourly or salaried, all wages and salaries were being paid for time lost and that no one will miss a beat. This boosted morale instantly, and it was the right thing to do for our American Spraytech family.
“Second, we offered everyone a chance to put in extra hours and earn substantial overtime pay in order to play catch-up. The goal was to get shipments current within three weeks—by the end of November.
“Third, we increased our production line time to all three aerosol lines running two shifts. We increased plant management and quality control staffing hours to match the requirements of the lines.
“Fourth, we kept our customers informed of the progress on an as-needed basis. By the first week of December, we were completely back to normal. All customers got what they needed, when they needed it, and no American Spraytech customer experienced any out of stock situation as a result of these efforts.
“Finally, included in its expansion plans for 2013, American Spraytech will build in a power back-up system to keep the plant operational under similar circumstances in the future. The weather pattern is becoming too extreme, requiring contingency plans included as part of our standard operating procedures.”

American Spraytech's Tower Building

American Spraytech’s Tower Building

 See Spray’s Contract Fillers Guide here