History

 

As a subsidiary of Menasha Corporation, ORBIS has a rich history in packaging. For more than 150 years, Menasha Corporation has been dedicated to a customer-focused approach to providing a diversified offering of high quality material handling and packaging products and services for a wide variety of industries. Menasha has celebrated great success because of their unfailing foresight and courage to develop new products, expand into new markets and step beyond traditional thinking.   

 

1849 Companies in many different industries were searching for safe, efficient ways to transport their product from their manufacturing or processing site to their customers. To meet these needs, a small wooden pail factory was founded in Menasha, Wisconsin.

 

By 1895, under the direction of Elisha Smith, the company we now know as Menasha Corporation became the world's largest manufacturer of turned wooden ware.

1863 Several hundred miles away, G.B. Lewis was founded as a manufacturer of wood related material handling products for bakeries, laundries, hospitals and a few light industrial plants. By 1885, a machine was developed that could weave fabric out of wooden slats resulting in a rugged container that could be used for many trips. These high-performance wooden boxes facilitated the production of mass quantities of goods required to wage World War I. In fact, one container lasted through the war as a Red Cross supply  container and was decorated by the War Department for valiant service.

In the early 1940s, during World War II, wooden boxes were in more demand than ever. These lightweight boxes increased plant efficiency and were easy to handle for the increasing amount of women in the wartime workforce. It was during this war that the demand for material handling products in manufacturing and distribution applications grew. G.B. Lewis pursued research on the use of plastics in the manufacturing of material handling products.

 

In 1949, Lewis designed the first fiberglass tote pan that was a lightweight, durable, low-cost alternative to wood boxes. By the 1950s, G.B. Lewis became the pioneer in the design and manufacture of plastic reusable containers.

 

1973 As the need for plastic containers increased, so did the need for pallets. Wood pallets flooded the market. To address cleanliness, durability and cost efficiency issues, Menasha Corporation introduced the Convoy reusable plastic pallet product line. Over the next 25 years it grew to be one of the largest plastic pallet manufacturers in the US and the only manufacturer with multi-process capabilities. As more industries turned to plastic pallets, Convoy expanded their offering with a vast selection of footprints and forms to meet changing requirements.

 

1974 Acquired by Menasha Corporation, G.B. Lewis was re-named LEWISystems and continued the tradition of innovation. LEWISystems quickly became the recognized leader in the plastic container industry. Reusable attached-lid nestable containers were created for distribution. Today, the FliPak is the industry standard distribution container, with millions in circulation. Soon after, additional plastic containers were designed for the electronics, food, automotive and pharmaceutical industries.

 

1992 Meanwhile, the automotive industry was turning to reusables to reduce costs and protect parts during shipments. As the demand for reusable packaging industry grew, Menasha recognized the need for protective interior dunnage, especially in the automotive and electronics market. Secondary suppliers were shipping expensive and sensitive components into original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and found that reusable protective interior dunnage could save them thousands of dollars by reducing product damage. Not only that...interior dunnage could be used over and over again. The DuraPak division was established by Menasha Corporation to meet the needs of these customers. As companies scrutinized their supply chains to find ways to reduce costs, they sought out experts to implement efficiency throughout their systems. To meet these needs, Menasha acquired WolPac, a company specializing in material handling and engineering services.

 

1996 To efficiently meet the material handling and reusable packaging needs of their leading customers, Menasha created ORBIS by combining LEWISystems, CONVOY, DuraPAK and WolPac. Now customers had one source for high quality plastic reusable containers, pallets, custom interior dunnage and engineering services.

 

1997 To meet the bulk packaging needs of their diverse customers base, ORBIS introduced their comprehensive BulkPak product line, in industry-leading footprints and heights. Now ORBIS offers a series of plastic collapsible, straight-wall and stack-n-nest bulk containers for all types of applications in the automotive, food, general manufacturing, pharmaceutical and beverage industries. With their bulk container offering, ORBIS was able to offer their customers a comprehensive selection of reusable packaging products, reducing the customers' need to use multiple suppliers.
 
2001 As a recognized leader in reusable packaging, ORBIS became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Menasha Corporation. In October 2001, to build on their strength as a plastic pallet manufacturer, ORBIS acquired Cookson Plastic Molding. Cookson was recognized as a highly innovative company in materials, processes and technology. The ORBIS plastic pallet offering grew to include solutions for world-class customers in a wide variety of industries, including food processing, pharmaceutical and beverage.

 

2002 Further growth was gained in 2002, as ORBIS acquired Nucon Corporation, a leading manufacturer of plastic pallets for the beverage industry in the US, Mexico and Europe.

 

2003 ORBIS launched their Innovations Center to identify and deliver breakthrough plastic reusable packaging products to help their customers realize greater efficiencies with plastic reusable packaging.

 

2004 ORBIS acquires Hays Container Systems and creates ORBIS Container Services. ORBIS Container Services (OCS) provides and manages pools of reusable plastic containers. or RPCs, that safely and efficiently move fruits and vegetables throughout the produce supply chain. It operates service centers for the rental, cleaning, sorting and tracking of RPCS for major fruit and vegetable growers/shippers that supply grocery retailers.

 

2005 ORBIS adds a series of extended-height 45" x 48" BulkPak containers, in heights from 34" to 50".
 
2006 ORBIS strengthens its bulk container product line with eight new General Purpose 40" x 48" BulkPak containers and six new extended-length BulkPak containers. Now ORBIS is the only manufacturer in the industry to offer the 62" x 48" BulkPak, which optimizes a 53' trailer for transportation efficiency.
 
2007 ORBIS became North America's leader in plastic reusable packaging with its acquisition of a major bulk container manufacturer. With this acquisition, ORBIS broadened its bulk container product offering and now provides the most comprehensive selection of all types of plastic reusable packaging, including hand-held containers, bulk containers and pallets. Customers now benefit from the highest levels of reusable packaging expertise, innovation, product quality and service in the industry.

 

2008 ORBIS Corporation acquired Norseman Plastics Holdings, Ltd.., a manufacturer of plastic reusable containers, trays, bins and pallets used in bakery, beverage, dairy, recycled material/waste collection, food service, agriculture and meat
processing applications. According to Bill Ash, president of ORBIS, “This acquisition strengthened ORBIS’ position
as a leader in plastic reusable packaging and provided us with tremendous growth opportunities in diverse markets. Our customers are continually looking to ORBIS for leadership and expertise in ways to reduce their supply chain costs with reusable packaging. Norseman’s diverse product line, strong customer relationships and industry knowledge are consistent with ORBIS’ vision and expertise.”

2010 As part of Menasha Corporation, ORBIS launches its first Annual Sustainability Report, with ORBIS' annual accomplishments related tol sustainability. 

 

Today, ORBIS Corp. uses proven expertise, industry-leading knowledge and superior products (containers, pallets and dunnage) to create and implement reusable packaging systems. As companies continue to optimize their supply chains, the future promises a growing need for cost-efficient reusable packaging products, worldwide. 

 

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