EPL Technologies Inc. will expand its recently acquired Oswego, Ill., operation to convert film for DuPont Co.'s microwave packaging business. EPL agreed to perforate DuPont's Mylar metalized PET film so it can vent steam during cooking and prevent foods from getting soggy. EPL, based in West Conshohocken, Pa., will install two gas-flame perforating lines at Oswego for an undisclosed cost, according to Paul Devine, EPL's chairman and chief executive officer.
Devine and DuPont officials did not disclose how much business they expect in the toll processing agreement. Devine said the perforation equipment will be capable of doing as much as $15 million in sales annually. EPL will install it this fall at Crystal Specialty Films Inc., which it bought in July.
Crystal, a $13 million-per-year company, will continue making film and bags while EPL adds flame perforation at the Oswego facility, Devine said in a telephone interview.
DuPont agreed to purchase from EPL all of its gas-flame perforation needs for PET, nylon and polyethylene naphthalate films. In exchange, EPL will have the right to distribute some DuPont films, including treated and untreated types, the two firms said in a Sept. 11 news release.
DuPont spokeswoman Lin Manelski said flame-perforated films give her company a new capability in self-venting technology and will extend microwave packaging applications for Mylar.
An EPL subsidiary, Bakery Packaging Services Ltd. of Runcorn, England, is running four flame-perforation lines making DuPont's Respire low density polyethylene film for the crusty bread market in the United Kingdom. EPL eventually plans to market Respire in North America.
Devine said Bakery Packaging has developed flame-perforation technology for more than 10 years. It involves passing film over a flame-heated, special roller to create holes. Roller design is key to the technology and affects hole size and spacing. Devine estimated that Bakery Packaging can process LDPE at about 300 feet per minute, but he would not disclose speeds for DuPont films. Bakery Packaging has been making trial quantities of perforated film for DuPont.
EPL trades on the Nasdaq market system. Its other main North American business is selling food ingredients. In the United Kingdom it makes flexible packaging and has a microbe analysis operation.