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Heilbronn, Germany-based Marbach Werkzeugbau GmbH, a manufacturer of thermoforming and trim-in-place tools, has opened a new facility in Elkhart, Ind.

The plant, with a 10,000-square-foot tool shop, is designed to meet U.S. demand for trim-in-place tooling for polypropylene packaging, the firm said. Though Marbach now sells tools made in Germany, U.S. manufacturing of major components and completed tools is to begin soon.

A company spokesman would not disclose the cost of the plant, which was completed in May.

The plant has some advantages to its location besides being close to Chicago and Detroit, according to a company spokesman. It will be close to Atlas Die, an Elkhart firm that has been in business with Marbach for 25 years. Next-door neighbor Goshen Mold, which houses computer numerically controlled machining and lathe and surface grinders, has allowed Marbach to use its machines until the new plant is fully functional.

Marbach also will make a 70-cavity tool for PP yogurt cups for the U.S. market. The tool will be displayed at NPE in Chicago; Marbach's exhibit is at Booth N4059.

Marbach said 80 percent of its work force will be hired locally. So far, the company plans to hire five people for the year.

Marbach also will present PH130 infrared preheaters at NPE. The equipment is used with roll-fed thermoformers, with sheet as wide as 50 inches.