ITW Mima is building a 60,000-square-foot plant near Waterford, Ireland, to manufacture linear low density polyethylene stretch film for the European market. The company studied sites in France and England, but chose Ireland because of low corporate income tax and labor costs, said Jack Shirrell, vice president of film operations. Shirrell would not disclose capacity for the plant, which will employ about 20 to produce three-layer blown coextruded film when it opens late this year. He expects to hire 50-80 workers within five years.
Although Europe, a relatively new market for ITW Mima, makes up about 10 percent of its film sales so far, that business is growing, he said by telephone from the firm's Douglasville, Ga., film plant.
For a year, the firm has been building stretch wrapping ma-chines at two plants in France and one in Finland. ITW Mima encourages its customers to buy both the film and machines as a system, focusing on highly pre-stretched applications, where the film is stretched at least 250 percent, and one-sided cling wrap, he said. Among its niche products are pallet wrap and silage wrap, a big market in Europe, he said.
``We try to go after parts of the market where we have an advantage with our machinery,'' Shirrell said. ``We're not trying to be the largest stretch film producer.''
Last week, ITW Mima moved its corporate headquarters and equipment production from Boca Raton, Fla., to a larger leased facility in Tamarac, just 20 miles away.
The new plant will give the company more capacity for manufacturing stretch film machines and better turnaround times, according to spokesman Peter Vilardi.
The Douglasville film plant employs roughly 40, he said.
Shirrell would not disclose sales for ITW Mima, part of the ITW Specialty Packaging Systems division of Illinois Tool Works Inc., based in Glenview, Ill.
Parent ITW does more than $200 million in annual injection molding sales, according to Plas-tics News' data.