New England Extrusion Inc. is building a film plant in Milton, Wis., to capitalize on growing agricultural produce packaging demand in the Midwest.
The Turners Falls, Mass., firm expects to start production at the 33,000-square-foot plant by February. It will install two Reifenhauser monolayer blown film lines with annual capacity of 15 million to 18 million pounds. The film lines include extruders with 43/4- and 5-inch barrels.
New England Extrusion said it plans another 8 million pounds of monolayer capacity by the first quarter of 1999.
Jeffrey Brandenburg, vice president of marketing and technical services, said Midwest packaging markets are a high-growth area for New England Extrusion. Although California continues to be a major consumer of fresh-cut produce packaging, more of the business is moving to the Midwest, he said in a telephone interview.
New England Extrusion will use various blends of metallocene-catalyzed polyethylenes, other PE resins and ethylene vinyl acetate polymers to make breathable films. It has been developing films with custom oxygen transmission rates and improved physical properties that are cost-competitive with films made from more expensive resins, such as ionomers.
Brandenburg said his company has four monolayer blown film lines and a three-layer line at Turners Falls with total capacity of 30 million pounds per year. It will continue to make all its coextruded films at Turners Falls. It sells films for fresh-cut produce, coffee, confectioneries, agricultural uses, liquid packaging, peelable lidding materials, and medical markets.
Brandenburg said Wisconsin officials offered attractive incentives to the company to locate at Milton, but he declined to provide details. He declined to disclose the cost of the project.
Privately held New England Extrusion began operating in 1988. Its sales in 1995 were $18 million.