Landis Plastics Inc. has added space to its Alsip, Ill., facility, making it the company's biggest plant and, in the next year, its new headquarters.
The addition also allowed the molder to expand its new sheet extrusion and thermoforming operations.
The Chicago Ridge, Ill.-based company completed construction in August on a 300,000-square-foot expansion to its 120,000-square-foot Alsip plant. About 100 employees will be added, giving the facility a staff of 350.
Manufacturing at Landis' original plant in Chicago Ridge, built in 1956, will be combined with the 5-year-old Alsip plant. Originally, the Alsip plant housed printing presses and a warehouse. Eventually, the Chicago Ridge facility will be sold or leased.
``We outgrew the space [at Chicago Ridge],'' President Greg Landis said in a telephone interview. ``The size of the building was needed because machinery is much larger now, the molds are bigger and automation takes up more space.''
Landis attributed the need for a highly automated manufacturing center to low unemployment.
The $20 million-plus expansion allows Alsip to house 42 injection presses and seven to 10 thermoforming lines. Last year the company added 12 new presses and a Welex sheet extrusion line with in-line thermoforming. It added another such line two months ago.
``This is an extension of our business,'' Landis said in reference to the added thermoforming capabilities. ``We've never been able to mold lighter weights and we do well in that market.''
The company thermoforms polypropylene deli, dairy and yogurt containers. The trim-in-place machines are capable of extruding multilayer plastic but currently are manufacturing only single layers.
In addition, Landis' printing capacity doubled from 10 to 20 presses with the expansion.
New offices still need to be constructed at Alsip and the headquarters will relocate next year, Landis said.
The company plans to break ground on its Tolleson, Ariz., plant Dec. 1. About $15 million will be invested in the plant and equipment, Landis said. The 140,000-square-foot plant sits on 20 acres and will house 12 injection presses and eight printing presses. It has room for thermoforming operations to be added later.
Within two years nearly 150 will be employed there. Operations are scheduled to begin next August.
Landis is known traditionally as a thin-wall packaging injection molder. About 90 percent of the company's business is in food containers such as margarine, dairy and deli containers. The remaining 10 percent comes from industrial containers ranging from 6 ounces to 5 gallons.
Landis runs five plants in the United States and had estimated sales of $130 million last year, placing the firm at No. 34 in Plastics News' ranking of North American injection molders.