ROSENLEW PLANS U.S. FILM ENTRY

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A Finnish company is spending about $2 million to bring a plastic semibulk bag for resin shipping to North America.

Rosenlew Inc. is investing in a facility in Houston, which by May will be turning out polyethylene shipping liners. The liners, when filled with resin pellets, are attached to pallets by stretch wrap.

The shipping system, called Spincube, was developed by Rosenlew's parent, United Paper Mill Inc. of Helsinki, Finland.

Tom Stenmark, Rosenlew vice president of sales and marketing, said his firm will install a welding machine in Houston to convert 8 mil coextruded PE film into the boxlike liners.

The firm initially will import the thick PE film from European affiliates, but plans to coextrude it in Houston when sales volumes justify that move. It will source industrial stretch film for the Spincube system locally, Stenmark said by telephone from the firm's recently established Houston office.

UPM's Rosenlew division in Europe has been selling Spincube to European resin suppliers for about two years. It chose Houston for its U.S. entry because several resin producers are based in or near the city.

Rosenlew claims Spincube reduces packaging waste, takes up less space and holds more resin compared with corrugated cartons. It requires less handling than bags and is less likely to spill. Its conical bottom allows operators to get all the resin out of the package. Stenmark said it also is recyclable and is based on plastic, ``which should please the resin companies.''

Rosenlew's annual sales are $250 million, mainly in industrial flexible packaging in Europe, he said. UPM, with about $12 billion in sales a year, is one of the world's largest paper companies, he said.

Rosenlew Inc. is not related to film extruder Rex-Rosenlew International Inc. of Thomasville, N.C. The Thomasville operation was part of the Rosenlew group until management bought it in 1993.