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Polyshot's plastics cuts waste, saves money
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Justin Rose of Henrietta cleans burrs from a manifold after machining at Polyshot in Henrietta. As oil prices rise, the system pays for itself quicker, Polyshot's president and co-owner says. (JAY CAPERS staff photographer)


The price of plastics has gone up over the past year as the cost of natural gas and petroleum, the two fuels central to its manufacturing, has increased.


But that's good news for Polyshot Corp. of Henrietta. The 22- employee company is doing well because when costs go up, clients look for a type of machine, or system, that Polyshot makes and sells to eliminate plastic waste.

Doug Hepler, Polyshot president and co-owner, said the company makes a "hot runner system," which means that the plastic parts its systems make do not have to be connected by a plastic runner or "tree," much like how parts are packaged in a model-car kit.Why is that a big deal?


"There's no waste," said Hepler of Greece, who owns the company with his wife, Laurie. "There are some plastics that are up to $30 a pound."

The plastics industry today is facing stagnant times because of energy costs, said Barry Eisenberg, spokesman for the D.C.-based Society of the Plastics Industry, a trade group.

But Asian demand for Polyshot systems is picking up because as labor costs there increase, managers look for efficiencies elsewhere and Hepler has a salesman in Singapore to explain the benefits of upgrading to a hot runner system.

The sooner a company installs a system, which can cost between $1,500 and $180,000, the sooner a company can begin saving money by eliminating the waste of plastics. And as oil prices rise, the system pays for itself quicker, Hepler said.

Detail of a part of a hot runner system at Poly- shot. The plastic parts Polyshot's systems make do not have to be connected by a plastic runner. (JAY CAPERS staff photographer)



"It's a very nice place to be," the 50-year-old said of his business position.

Polyshot, which has 10 patents, recently closed a $1.4 million deal with Greenies, a pet-food company owned by food giant Mars Inc. The hot runner systems will be used to handle gelatin, not plastic, for dog bones.

Hepler said he doubts he will hear from a food company again because 99 percent of Polyshot's business comes from plastic manufacturers. One-third of his clients make plastic health-care products, such as the caps to syringes. He declined to release the company's revenues.

The company has 20 competitors, including two in Ontario, Canada — Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. and Mold-Masters Ltd.

Eisenberg said environmental sustainability is an issue for the plastics industry, which annually contributes $379 billion to the economy and employs 1.1 million people. Leaders will be discussing ideas at an October conference in Chicago.



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