W.R. Grace & Co. will spend $50 million to build a coextrusion plant in Seneca, S.C., to produce films for packaging fresh produce. The plant, to be operated by Grace's Cryovac North American Division, based in Duncan, S.C., will be the first in the world dedicated to producing films for fresh produce, according to Chuck Jolley, marketing communications director for Cryovac.
Construction will begin in early 1996 on the 124,000-square-foot plant, which will produce Cryovac's PD-brand coextruded multilayer films. There are five separate film varieties within the PD family, all multilayer, breathable films.
``The market for specialized films to package fresh vegetables that have been pre-cut and are ready to serve has grown immensely worldwide,'' Jolley said. ``Products available in the supermarket include salads, cole slaw, broccoli and stir-fry combinations, and packaging them already cut reduces spoilage, and adds consumer convenience.''
He said Cryovac expects the market for pre-cut packaged produce to triple in coming years.
The new plant will be adjacentto Cryovac's existing Seneca facility, which produces most of the company's film products, but will operate separately. Production is expected to begin in early 1997.
The construction is part of a $300 million worldwide expansion and improvement program at multiple sites announced by Cryovac early this year.
Cryovac also has reformulated its D-940 polyolefin shrink film, used in a wide range of soft goods' packaging.
The clear coextruded film, produced at Simpsonville, S.C., and other Cryovac plants, has been reworked to make it softer and increase its shrinkability, Jolley said.
D-940 is used in magazine wraps, paper products, toys and for hard-to-package products with lightweight chipboard trays. The reformulation results in less dog-earing, fish-eyes and crow's feet, with no loss of sealability, and temperature range, according to the company.