Applied Extrusion Technolo-gies Inc. of Peabody, Mass., will enter vacuum metalizing of oriented polypropylene film by mid-1997 when it starts up a General Vacuum line in Covington, Va. Harold Kenton, AET's vice president of operations, did not disclose the cost of the line but said it is included in a $3 million to $4 million investment his firm is making in Covington. Other programs there include overall upgrading and a project to debottleneck OPP film capacity.
AET expects to serve customers quicker with its own metalizing line, Kenton explained in a telephone interview from AET Packaging Films' office in Wil-mington, Del. The line also will help AET's product development, improve production costs and allow the firm to carry more inventory.
Kenton said AET has relied on various companies to toll metalize its OPP film. It has developed new metalized OPP film products based on tubular- and tenter-processed films. Covington only makes tubular OPP while AET's Terre Haute, Ind., and Varennes, Quebec, facilities make tubular and tenter OPP films.
AET said in a June 5 news release that metalized OPP films are used widely in snack and confectionery packaging because of moisture and oxygen barrier properties and visual appeal. Increasing use of modified-atmosphere packaging will make the films' barrier properties even more important, AET indicated. Opaque metalized films are another growth area as they gain ground in bottle label applications.
``We project an exciting future for metalized films supporting our decision to invest in this metalizer,'' Thomas Williams, AET's president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
AET ordered a 110-inch wide, high-speed metalizing line from General Vacuum Equipment's sales office in Charlotte, N.C. General Vacuum Equipment Ltd. of Heywood, England, will manufacture the line. General Vacuum is a subsidiary of Atlas Convert-ing Equipment plc of Bedford, England, which also has a sales office in Charlotte.
The metalizing line is the latest in a series of investments announced by AET. Early this year it said it will install a 33-foot-wide OPP film line at Terre Haute as part of a $100 million investment there.
The other chunk of the investment, a 261/2 foot OPP film line, began production at Terre Haute in early May, said Kenton. The line is the second 261/2-foot line at Terre Haute.
Kenton said AET has scheduled an early 1998 startup for Terre Haute's 33-foot-wide OPP film line.