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MonoSol scouting for new soluble film plant location

By: Michael Lauzon

November 19, 2013

MonoSol LLC is expanding its La Porte, Ind., soluble film plant and scouting for an additional production site.

The company expects to complete the La Porte building addition by the beginning of 2015 and should have more details about an upcoming, new plant early next year. Several production lines are being installed in La Porte.

MonoSol said it is investing $39 million to expand the La Porte plant and will hire 100 more workers there over the next 12-18 months. It now employs more than 400 in La Porte.

The Nov. 12 announcement comes less than a month after the company said it will expand its Hartlebury, England, water-soluble film production plant by 40 percent. It did not provide any capacity details for its La Porte expansion.

The La Porte expansion is extensive, MonoSol President and CEO P. Scott Bening said in a news release.

MonoSol is growing, as water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol film markets become stronger. Unit-dose cleaning products packaged in PVOH film for laundry and dishwashers are strong drivers fueling rising demand.

Procter & Gamble Co. is one major consumer products firm that recently introduced single-dose cleaning products called Tide Pods. The new products and similar ones made by P&G competitors have captured 8 percent of the U.S. market for laundry cleaners in less than two years, according to MonoSol. The laundry push follows by about a decade the introduction of unit doses for automatic dishwashers. MonoSol claims to hold more than 90 percent of the world market for soluble films used in cleaning products.

P&G recently recognized MonoSol an External Business Partner of the Year.

Riding the popularity of single-dose cleaner packaging, MonoSol is developing film systems for broader markets. Its Vivos system is designed to create individual pouches for food that dissolve in hot or cold liquids. The edible system is tasteless and is a blend of food-grade ingredients that can be formed into bags and pouches on existing converting machinery, according to the Merrillville, Ind., company. It’s also engineering products for feed and personal-care goods.

MonoSol also said it entered into a five-year labor agreement for employees at La Porte who are members of Local 135 of the Teamsters Union. About 70 percent of new hires will be in manufacturing, and others will be in various professional positions, including scientists and engineers.