Canadian Packaging

Family ties

There aren’t many people involved in the bottling industry that can boast of a 100-year heritage, combined with being a major player on two continents, but that is exactly what customers get when they deal with Salbro Bottle Inc., a Woodbridge, Ont.-based manufacturer and distributor of two-stage PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, or as Salbro prefers to call them, packaging solutions.


December 21, 2010
by Andrew Joseph, Features Editor

Salbro Bottle Inc. is owned and operated by (from left): Paul Saltz, vice-president of sales and marketing; David Saltz, vice-president of operations; Gary Saltz, president.

There aren’t many people involved in the bottling industry that can boast of a 100-year heritage, combined with being a major player on two continents, but that is exactly what customers get when they deal with Salbro Bottle Inc., a Woodbridge, Ont.-based manufacturer and distributor of two-stage PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, or as Salbro prefers to call them, packaging solutions.

“While it’s true that the manufacture of PET bottles is a large part of who we are, we are also a stocking distributor of a wide range of plastic and glass bottles and closures,” explains company president Gary Saltz.

“Prior to setting up shop here in Canada, my brothers and I ran a successful packaging operation back in South Africa,” says Gary, who runs the company—comprising a 40,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing facility in Woodbridge, another 30,000-square-foot plant in nearby Vaughan, Ont., a 15,000-square-foot plant in St. John’s, Nfld., and a Montreal sales office—along with his brothers Paul, vice-president of sales and marketing, and David, vice-president of operations.

“My grandfather started us up in the bottling business a century ago when he would collect
discarded bottles from the street and return them to the brand-owners for reuse,” recalls Gary. “Eventually, the business grew enough for him to begin manufacturing his own bottles to sell.”

After leaving South Africa in 1989, the three brothers formed Salbro in 1990—combining the family name with ‘brothers’—initially specializing in the silk-screening of bottles.

But after some of its customers asked Salbro to begin warehousing and transporting containers for them, the company felt that the time was right to become more of a one-stop-shop operation, supplying the market with bottles, caps, labels, silkscreening and distribution services.

Pre-fabricated bottle resins are conveyed into a stretch blowmolder to be converted into PET bottles.

According to Gary, Salbro has been able to grow its business every year since starting up—today selling an estimated 100 million bottles to customers across North America, including some of the leading brands in the cosmetics and food-and-beverage industries.

An employee loads just-manufactured PET bottles into a shipping carton for quick delivery to a Salbro customer.

As part of its one-stop-shop for customers, Salbro offers a wide array of stock glass molds for bottles and jars in a variety of shapes and sizes, including existing Salbro-designed molds and custom-designed exclusive molds.

“Right now, 50 per cent of our business is derived from the buying and selling and distribution
of glass bottles and closures, with the other half devoted to the manufacture of plastic bottles,” states Gary, noting that Salbro employs a state-of-the-art CAD (computer-aided design) system that can quickly create a three-dimensional sample of a customer’s bottle—providing a finished prototype in just a few hours afterwards.

“Because we’re an owner-operated business, it means a customer can call us any time they want and we’ll react,” asserts Gary. “We’re big enough to handle anyone’s order, but we’re also grounded well enough to be able to react and adapt to the customer’s needs quickly.

“It’s flexibility, pure and simple,” he says, noting that despite being in the business for over 20 years, Salbro is still considered to be something of a neophyte in certain circles, although he prefers to look at that philosophically.

Two blowmolding cavities form PET bottles from resins on one of Salbro’s six reheat stretch blowmolding machines.

“In my mind that just means that we are not stuck in a rut,” he states. “We are always looking for new designs that we can proffer to our customers without having to wait for them to come to us.

“We always have their best interests in mind and we’re always interested in having our customers’ brands look their best on the retail shelves, because we know that when they  succeed, we do as well.”

The model BST 1200es three-dimensional prototype system—manufactured by Dimension, Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minn.—plays a big role in the company’s design capabilities by enabling fast creation of the actual physical representation of the CAD-generated bottles made from ultra-thin plastic wiring, which are built up layer by layer.

Gary says the systems is considerably less expensive than most conventional rapid prototyping systems out in the market, and that having this service inhouse is far preferable to having it outsourced.

His brother Paul concurs: “It is a phenomenal piece of high-tech equipment that has quickly provided a nice ROI (return-on-investment) for us.”

As for the actual production of the PET bottles, the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points)-compliant Woodbridge plant employs six state-of-the-art, fully-automatic reheat stretch blowmolding machines manufactured in Canada.

Each of Salbro’s stretch blowmolding machines features two blowmolding cavities that form a pair of bottles from the prefabricated preform bottle resins at speeds up to 3,000-bph (bottles per hour).

A Salbro quality assurance employee checks bottle thickness to ensure it falls within acceptable parameters.

“We’ve always purchased state-of-the-art equipment, which is a big reason we’ve been able to continue growing our business every year,” Gary asserts. “No matter what our clients’ physical requirements, we are able to manufacture bottles or jars as small as 200-ml up to two liters in clear format or in any color of the rainbow,” says Gary, adding the company takes great pride in its professionalism and team-based approach to getting the job done right for its customers.

“And although we do indeed have global contacts to satisfy any sourcing needs and decorations one might require from us,” he concludes, “we’re still very much a hands-on type of company where we are only too happy to work with small and medium-sized companies.

“Big or small, we can do it all.”

Formore information on Salbro Bottle Inc., visit www.salbrobottle.com.

Photography by Cole Garside.