Amhil Enterprises plans to spend about $1.5 million to expand its new Dickson, Tenn., lid thermoforming plant. Amhil began production at Dickson in February after the company invested about $2 million in a new facility and equipment to serve U.S. customers, who account for about 70 percent of its sales.
Hugh Van Melle, president of Amhil, estimated that his company's sales were about $20 million for the year-end July 31, up by nearly 25 percent from the previous year.
Van Melle said Amhil will install a 4-1/2 inch NRM extruder and a Brown thermoforming line and trim press at Dickson within a month.
The line is similar to the one Amhil now operates there.
The company also plans to build a 20,000-square-foot addition at Dickson, where its 24,000-square-foot facility is located on 22 acres purchased from Dickson County.
Amhil does not have room to expand at its original plant and headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario, said Van Melle.
The facility has five in-line thermoformers there that work three shifts daily.
Amhil uses a blend of high-impact polystyrene and Phillips' K-Resin to make nearly 600 kinds of lids for cups and containers.
Amhil began exporting to the United Kingdom this year, but sales there are not yet large enough to warrant offshore production. Van Melle estimated Amhil will sell about 5 percent of its production this year in the United Kingdom and Europe through a sales representative. The firm eventually hopes to produce in Europe for regional markets.
Van Melle cited his company's fast turnaround of special projects as a key factor for its growth.
Some of Amhil's customers are large lid manufacturers that contract Amhil to start special projects which they take over when sales volumes grow. He said companies such as James River Corp. and Sweetheart Cup Co. Inc. are big customers even though they also can be competitors.
The firm often can get a new lid design into production a few weeks after a customer's request, he claimed.
Amhil designs most of its tooling and builds a large number of its molds.
The 20-year-old private firm employs 130 full time and 60 part time in Mississauga.
Van Melle said employment of about 20 in Dickson will nearly double with its expansion.