Friday, December 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Ball Metal, 36 years of making cans in Fairfield

ball, 12/4/12

Forklifts move aluminum cans inside the Ball Corporation's manufacturing facility warehouse in Fairfield. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | December 30, 2012 |

FAIRFIELD — There’s a saying that once you know how a product is made, you probably won’t want to use it.

After seeing how the Ball Metal plant on Huntington Drive makes its aluminum cans, most observers are much more comfortable with drinking a soda or a beer.

The 169 employees at the 36-year-old facility efficiently create more than 8 million cans a day to hold beverages from Coca-Cola to Sierra Nevada beer, most of which are delivered to customers within a 500-mile radius of the plant.

Some of its longtime employees are so discerning about their creations that when they buy a can at a store, they say they check to see if it was made at their plant and give the can a critical eye if it wasn’t.

Plant Manager Dave Trujillo notes that while most metal beverage-making facilities have the same equipment, the secret of Ball Metal’s success is a combination of excellent, dedicated employees; a safe, clean workplace and keeping on the leading edge of the industry.

“I love this business. It is very dynamic,” Trujillo said of working for Ball in Fairfield.

The Fairfield facility was established in 1976, located here to serve the nearby Anheuser-Busch plant and the Coca-Cola facility in Sacramento.

“It provided most of the volume at the time,” Trujillo said of the relationship with Anheuser-Busch.

The Ball Metal plant now runs three production lines that are going 24 hours a day, making 2.7 billion cans a year with 700 different labels for 78 different customers – from Shasta sodas to Campbell’s soups. Up to 70 percent of the aluminum that the plant uses is recycled.

Massive rolls of aluminum are pressed and shaped into 12-, 8-, 7.5- and 5.5-ounce cans that are washed, cleaned, dried, necked, flanged and decorated without slowing down. The cans are also repeatedly inspected in the process by cameras and computers, with rejects sent back for recycling.

“We recapture every piece of aluminum that does not go out as a can on a pallet,” Trujillo said.

The Ball Corporation was born when brothers Edmund, Frank, George, Lucius and William Ball founded the company with a $200 loan from their Uncle George in 1880 to buy the Wooden Jacket Can Company, which made wood-jacketed tin cans for products such as paint and kerosene.

The brothers entered household legend when they began making glass home-canning jars in 1884 with the distinctive Ball logo on the glass jar and the metal lid, according to the corporation history.

Three years later, the brothers moved the company to Muncie, Ind., to take advantage of the abundant natural gas reserves that were essential to making glass.

Ball grew rapidly during the next decade and has been involved in more than 45 businesses since it was founded.

In 1956, Ball Brothers Research Corporation was formed. It is now known as Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation and produces space systems engineering products, telecommunications technology and electro-optics and cryogenics materials.

Ball entered the field of metal beverage container manufacturing when it acquired the Jeffco Manufacturing Company in Denver. That was the same year that it changed its name to Ball Corporation.

It no longer manufactures the canning jars that made it famous, which it exited in 1996, but has expanded into a worldwide metal packaging company that makes billions of recyclable metal containers from soda cans to aerosol cans and paint cans, as well as an aerospace business. As of 2009, Ball became the largest supplier of beverage cans in the world.

It’s corporate headquarters are now based in Broomfield, Colo., employing more than 14,500 employees in more than 90 locations worldwide.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or ithompson@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Sondheim’s ‘Woods’ holiday showcase for Missouri Street Theatre

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Groundbreakings, ribbon-cuttings play role in civic life

    By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Frankye Kelly ready to spread holiday cheer

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Celebrate the magic of Christmas

    By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

     
    Santas have busy week at schools

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

     
    Safe streets task force work nets 3

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
     
    Solano College approves officers, meeting schedule

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

    Longtime Suisun harbor master to retire

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

     
    Mosquito abatement district board has opening

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 17, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun City police log: Dec. 17, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Police arrest 2nd suspect in Fairfield credit union robbery

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    US / World

    Spy’s parents search for son after Cuba-US deal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Next steps on Cuba: Normalizing could take awhile

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Sony hacking fallout puts all companies on alert

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Sony film took aim at North Korea’s biggest taboo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Timeline of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Rubio, other Congressional Cubans step up Obama criticism

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    CHP, Oakland in tiff over plainclothes officers at protests

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Local emergencies in Northern California counties after rain

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    California’s top utility regulator defends record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    ‘Pretty horrible’ scene; car slams into crowd

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    San Francisco Bay Bridge fasteners not in danger of failing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Police: Drunk man shot while entering wrong house

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

    Tsarnaev appears in court for 1st time since 2013

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    President signs legislation ending Nazi benefit checks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    2 states challenge Colorado marijuana legalization

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    ‘Prison Houdini’ set to make his 1st legal escape

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Top Islamic militants killed; more US troops going to Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    Feds sue NYC over Rikers Island jail violence

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Russian sailors leaving France without warship

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Putin: West wants to defang, declaw Russian bear

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    European court rules obesity can be a disability

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185 in Nigeria

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    .

    Opinion

    Another look at school bonds

    By George Guynn Jr. | From Page: A11

     
    Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 19, 2014

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

    News of the day strikes a chord

    By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

     
    America’s response to the torture report shameful

    By Clive Crook | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: Dec. 19, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Dec. 19, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Dec. 19, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: D8

     
    Should I use Child Protective Services threat to get back rent?

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: D8

    .

    Entertainment

    Week in preview Dec. 19-25, 2014

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Sweet ‘Night at the Museum’ bids farewell to Robin Williams

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Review: ‘The Hobbit’ wraps with a Middle Earth melee

    By Jake Coyle | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Craig Ferguson to end 10 years as host of ‘Late Late Show’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Eric Idle brings ‘Not the Messiah’ to Carnegie Hall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Entertainment calendar Dec. 19, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

    .

    Sports

    A’s trade All-Star catcher Derek Norris to Padres

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Warriors beat Thunder 114-109 after Durant injury

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    A’s acquire lefty De La Rosa from Arizona for cash

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    Raiders defense depleted by injuries

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    49ers’ Harbaugh mum on reported offer from Michigan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    49ers’ Aldon Smith hopes to build off tough year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Column: Thaw in US-Cuba relations warms up MLB

    By Jim Litke | From Page: B8

    Rivera: Newton ‘probably’ will start vs. Browns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Bears bench QB Jay Cutler for Clausen

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    ‘Hands Up’ players to attend Ferguson Christmas party

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Celtics trade Rondo to Mavericks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Rodriguez boys open Les Curry Tournament with victory

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

     
    39 bowl games and a reason to watch every one

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Signups for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

     
    This date in sports history for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B11

     
    .

    Business

    Roomiest Subaru Legacy debuts for 2015

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

     
    Dow industrials have their best day in three years

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Ford expands drivers air bag recall nationwide

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    Constantly changing online prices stump shoppers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    .

    Obituaries

    Lisa Dee McHughes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Dominic C. Scolaro

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Travis Curt Price

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

    Jennie Ponce Reyes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics