CHICAGO — Two former Carlisle Plastics Inc. film plants, now part of Armin Plastics, are expanding capacity for polyethylene films. Armin took control of Carlisle's Thomasville, N.C., and Fairmont, Minn., film facilities Nov. 1, after its parent, Tyco International Ltd., acquired Carlisle in a $120 million stock deal this fall.
The biggest film increase, roughly 20 million pounds, is slated for Thomasville, which extrudes specialty low-gel and gel-free PE films for applications that include photo laminations and coating computer chips, according to Armin Kaufman, Armin president. Kaufman announced the expansion during Pack Expo, held Nov. 17-21 in Chicago.
By February, Armin will boost capacity for high-tech PE films at Thomasville from 20 million to 30 million pounds, Kaufman said in a telephone interview after the show. In August another 10 million pounds of capacity is set to come on line at the 90,000-square-foot plant, he said.
At Fairmont, Armin already has added 5 million pounds of capacity for PE films that are sold into markets similar to those Armin supplies, Kaufman said. By February, the plant will have another 10 million pounds of capacity, bringing its total to 40 million pounds per year for PE films for food packaging, construction and agriculture applications. The plant also makes shrink film and stretch film, he said.
Earlier this year Armin announced plans to enter the stretch film business by investing $15 million to bring on 75 million pounds of stretch film capacity by April.
That plan still is in the works, Kaufman said. Of Fairmont's stretch film capacity, not more than 1 million pounds is used for pallet wrap, he said.
Kaufman expects the expansion, which will bring on 35 million pounds of capacity in all, to cost about $2 million, mainly for additional extruders, dies and other equipment upgrades.
In January, before its sale, Phoenix-based Carlisle announced plans to expand film capacity at those plants, and to exit two other businesses: blow molded containers and private-label grocery bags.
It divested blow molding operations, but kept the grocery bag business.
The firm makes grocery bags and trash bags at its other film extrusion plants in Sioux Falls, Minn.; Victoria, Texas; and Battleboro, N.C. Its A&E Products Group injection molds hangers at two U.S. plants and one in Mexico, and has estimated sales of $140.7 million.
Those Carlisle plastics operations will continue to run autonomously, said Dave Mason, Carlisle vice president.
Before Carlisle was bought by Tyco, its total film sales were $462.3 million a year. Armin's sales were about $310 million.