Product News Release
Product News Release for McKechnie Plastic Packaging
about Scotts Company, written by Richard Stewart
Pressure Container from McKechnie Plastic Packaging Helps
Scotts Company Launch Innovative Hands-Free Garden Feeder
Philmont, N.Y. — A reusable plastic container designed
to withstand water pressure of 100 psi without distorting is
making it easier for home gardeners to have beautiful lawns
and gardens. Extrusion blow molded by McKechnie Plastic
Packaging for Scotts Miracle-Gro® Products, the 28-ounce
container is part of an innovative lawn and garden feeder
that can be hooked onto a lawn sprinkler for hands-free
The Miracle-Gro® No-Clog™ 4-in-1 Lawn and Garden
Feeder, the only device of its type on the market for the
home gardener, is currently being introduced by Scotts. The
device incorporates a feeder body that screws onto the
threaded neck of the container and is sealed with an O-ring.
The feeder automatically mixes powdered Miracle-Gro®
plant food with water in the right ratio.
"The problem we had to solve – which McKechnie engineers
helped us do – was produce a jar that would hold the line
pressure of a typical garden hose, 60 to 80 psi, without
leaking or failing," recalled Lee Reichart, Scotts VP and
project engineer who worked closely with McKechnie on the
container's design. "McKechnie developed a hybrid system
that could achieve the quality of an injection blow-molded
finished neck at the cost of an extrusion blow-molded piece,"
"Our container has quite a wide neck, 70mm, and injection
tooling for that size can be quite expensive. But the extrusion
system developed by McKechnie allowed us to have the
advantages of extrusion blow molding – fast molding times
and relatively inexpensive part cost – yet still have the quality
we wanted," added Reichart.
McKechnie produces the tapered-round containers from
HDPE on six-cavity Bekum blow molding machines that were
reconfigured especially for the Scotts program, according to
Greg Plotts, McKechnie VP, Sales and Marketing. The machine
upgrade, which cost about $50,000, enabled McKechnie to
produce a calibrated neck finish on the wide-mouth container,
"To get the business, we had to prove we could blow mold an
inside chamfer to accept an O-ring and to calibrate the neck,
which is unusual in our industry," he related. "Most people prefer
to mold a blow dome, then cut it off in a secondary finishing
operation. But we chose to do everything in the machine. The
bevel is formed by the blow-pin tip, and the container comes out
with a finished, calibrated neck," Plotts added.
McKechnie decorates the container in-house with a wrap-around
Therimage™ heat-transfer label. The container is UV stabilized
to withstand the effects of sunlight so it can be used over and
over again through several growing seasons, using plant food
refills. Like other products in the Miracle-Gro® No Clog line™,
the new device can be used as a hand-held feeder, without an
attachment for fast feeding or by adding a spray nozzle or wand
for gentle spraying.
According to Reichart, Scotts faced two major challenges at the
start of this project: designing the container to handle the water
pressure without distorting and finding a blow molder that could
produce the beveled edge inexpensively. All the other molders
he contacted wanted to finish the neck in a secondary, post-
"As far as I could tell, McKechnie was the only one that didn't
have to do that. Most of the other molders were very concerned
about the concentricity of the bevel and whether they could make
a nice circle or not. But because the McKechnie process actually
molds it in place, it comes out uniform.
The base of the container went through several design iterations
before the best one was found -- from a round bottom with a
separate base, to a flat bottom and, finally a footed base, which
"We found that we still had some problems with mid walls, so
we changed the angle of the feet and solved the problem. It was
an evolution," related Plotts. "The footed base helps strengthen
the container and minimizes distortion. It also keeps the feeder
from tipping over when it's set on the ground."
Cost was a significant factor, Reichart acknowledges. "We
wanted to bring our product to the market at a popular price
point, so every penny we could cut out of manufacturing could
be applied to lower the selling price," he said. "It's almost
impossible to get a price increase through the buying
departments of the major chains -- even though we have a
product with a fabulous new feature.
"McKechnie's staff worked diligently and were very
accommodating in their approach to our requirements,"
Reichart added. "They did what they said they would do –
and even did some things for us that most plastic manufacturers
would not normally do. They've done a terrific job and they're
cranking out the bottles at a prodigious clip," he observed.
McKechnie Plastic Packaging manufactures custom and stock
blow molded products in its 155,000-square-foot Philmont,
N.Y. plant housing 18 extrusion and injection blow molding
machines. McKechnie has extensive in-house decorating
capabilities with state-of-the-art equipment, and it offers
custom specialty closures made at captive injection molding
McKechnie Plastic Packaging is supported by a strong
commitment to quality and dedicated customer service, with
flexible scheduling and an environmental business philosophy.
The company is a division of UK-based McKechnie plc, a
diversified industrial holding company with worldwide
enterprises in the plastic, metal and consumer product sectors.
For more information on McKechnie's capabilities to meet
demanding cost and design requirements, contact...