An Italian firm plans to boost its North American capacity for biaxially oriented polypropylene film by installing a large production line. Vifan Canada Inc. recently began advertising the expansion to demonstrate its parent company's commitment to custo-mers' rising demand in the food and industrial packaging markets, according to Bona Chevarie, sales director for the Mon-treal firm. Vifan Canada, a subsidiary of Vibac Finanziaria SpA of Alessandria, Italy, began production of OPP film in 1991.
Chevarie said Vibac plans to spend US$75 million on the expansion, which includes installation of an 85 million-pound-per-year OPP line at an undisclosed location.
Vifan Canada, the Italian firm's only OPP film producer in North America, has about 50 million pounds of annual capacity in Montreal, Chevarie estimated in a telephone interview. He said the facility is running at full capacity and ``badly needs to expand.'' Vibac's European plants also are running flat out and do not have surplus to export to North America.
Vibac's OPP expansion is the second one announced this summer for North America. Applied Extrusion Technologies Inc. of Peabody, Mass., said in June itplans to add 40 million pounds of annual capacity at an undisclosed location by mid-1997.
Vibac scheduled a mid-1997 startup for the new line, Chevarie said. The startup is a year later than originally planned and customers want assurance that Vibac will proceed with the project, he said. The company will disclose the location and other details in late summer after it is done negotiating with governments, suppliers and other parties, he said. The project will involve several suppliers and Vibac will do major project engineering.
Chevarie estimated North American OPP film growth at 6-8 percent per year and said the market is large enough to support a new line every 12-18 months. AET earlier predicted demand will reach 650 million pounds this year.
One of Vifan's customers is sister firm Vibac Tape Corp. of Montreal, which buys OPP film for carton sealing tape.
The new North American line will boost Vibac's total OPP film capacity to about 260 million pounds per year. Its operations include plants in L'Aquila and Potenza, Italy.