PITTSTON — Behind the Walmart store in Pittston Township stands Greiner Packaging, a company focused on the manufacturing of plastic cups.
The cups are made specifically for dairy products such as yogurt and ice cream.
According to its website, Greiner Packaging is one of Europe’s leading plastic packaging manufacturers in the Food and Non-Food sector. It has locations in 18 different countries around the world.
The company was founded in 1960 in Austria, but did not locate in Pittston until 2014, making it the only Greiner Packaging manufacturing building in the United States.
The manufacturing building began construction in April 2014 and opened its doors in September that year.
Michael Reiser, president of Greiner Packaging in Pittston, said a selection team was formed to scout areas in the United States to open a production plant.
“They started looking at 200 different locations in seven different states, all in the Northeast,” said Reiser. “They started eliminating certain locations due to certain criteria, and we traveled five times to the United States for two weeks and step-by-step reduced the number of locations.”
Pittston was selected due to a geographically favorable location in Northeast Pennsylvania because it is near highways as well as to the New York City metropolitan area.
Reiser said the majority of products Greiner Packaging manufactures are sent to the upper Northeast United States because more than 50 percent of dairy companies are located in that area.
Local establishments that carry Greiner Packaging cups include Wegmans in Wilkes-Barre, Gerrity’s in West Pittston and Walmart in Pittston Township.
He said the company is beginning to ship more products in the Southeastern and Western regions of the country.
Producing the plastic cups is done by German-manufactured machinery that firsts melts plastic granulate forcing it through a nozzle to become a thermolastic sheet, which is then rolled up after cooling.
The plastic is then heated in a thermoforming machine and ejected and stacked where it will then go through another machine to have a cardboard label sealed onto it.
Reiser said the hardest part about manufacturing the cups is the heating process.
“The thermoforming process might appear to be a rather easy process, but it requires most of the experience,” he said. “You have so many variables, which you are not always 100 percent able to control. Of course, we control our temperature and humidity but you have impacts when you change the product. That’s why we need some years to train our people to get this feeling.”
One machine wraps the label around the cup, while another machine molds it so it becomes part of the cup itself. The size of the cup determines how the label gets attached.
“We have to store the cups for 24 hours because they are formed in a warm temperature and when cooled down, they shrink,” said Resier. “You cannot combine the cardboard and the cup when the cup is still warm because then the cardboard will get ruined.”
Once the labels are put on, the cups are packaged and shipped.
Reiser said the company is still growing and looks forward to the success it can bring not only to Pittston, but to the entire country.
“We are a company that is going to expand,” he said. “It’s really important for us to tell people that we are here to stay long term and we are here to grow. We are a company that is sustainable and reliable and, in that regard, people will find here a very good, long term working environment.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher