Winpak Ltd. is spending C$3 million (US$2.2 million) to expand capacity and space at its Chicago thermoforming plant this year. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, packaging producer will add a new thermoforming line and related equipment in Chicago and build a 20,000-square-foot addition by summer, according to the firm's president, J. Robert Lavery.
``The expansion is for all markets, including single-service,'' Lavery said in a telephone interview last week.
``We're out of capacity in Chicago,'' he said.
The project is part of C$17 million (US$12.4 million) that Winpak has earmarked for capital expenditures in 1995 to debottleneck capacity and improve productivity at all seven of its plants in North America.
Other programs include adding a film slitting line and upgrading data processing in Winnipeg, installing robots in Rexdale, Ontario, and expanding and upgrading its multimaterial laminating and printing plant in the Toronto suburb of Leaside. During the next three years, the company plans to spend C$10 million (US$7.3 million) at Leaside.
Winpak estimates the new Chicago line will allow total company sales capacity to reach C$330 million (US$240.9 million) per year, vs. the C$250.7 million (US$182.9 million) it recorded for the year ended Dec. 31. Its profit last year was C$10.7 million (US$7.8 million).
Lavery did not disclose the number of thermoforming lines in Chicago, but Winpak reported in Plastics News' recent thermoforming survey that it had 12 thermoforming lines company-wide at three facilities.
Lavery said the Chicago facility will begin production for a new anti-theft device by fall. He would not disclose Winpak's customer or co-developer for the device, a wafer-type structure for packaged dry goods.
According to Lavery, the project has been delayed from a spring startup expected when Winpak announced the new business opportunity in November.
Winpak, publicly traded on the Toronto and Winnipeg stock exchanges, is majority owned by Wihuri Oy of Helsinki, Finland.