UNION CITY, CALIF. — Emerald Packaging Inc. has acquired a new Windmoller & Holscher printing press and plans a 30,000-square-foot facility expansion.
The film converter and printer invested more than $2 million for the Astroflex unit and anticipates expending at least $900,000 for construction, Kevin Kelly, chief executive officer since Nov. 1, said in a recent interview in the firm's Union City facility.
The capacity in Emerald's press department has been sold out since mid-1997, Kelly said.
When operational in mid-February, the automated press will be able to print eight colors on a 65-inch width of polyethylene or coextruded film at 1,200 feet per minute.
Emerald's existing four presses top out at six colors, a width of 57 inches and per-minute speed of 800 feet. Emerald also operates 18 bag machines and two slitters.
``We look at replacing older equipment and expanding with up to nine new [bag] lines over the next two years,'' he said.
In December, Emerald leased 24,000 square feet about one mile away for warehousing until the new space is ready. Emerald will manufacture bags in its existing, 50,000-square-foot plant and use the new addition for warehousing.
The firm expects to begin construction in February and complete the project in June.
As CEO, Kelly succeeded his father, James P. Kelly, 68, who remains board chairman. The new CEO handles operations and finance. He joined the business in February 1996 after nine years as a Business Week correspondent.
A brother, James M. Kelly, continues as president in charge of sales, and a sister, Maura Kelly Koberlein, is executive vice president for customer service.
Producers use Emerald's output principally to bag fresh fruits and vegetables. Key California customers include Tanimura & Antle and Dole Food Co.'s fresh vegetables division, both of Salinas, and Grimmway Farms of Bakersfield. Emerald also supplies distributor C&L Container of Monte Vista, Colo., with clear PE packaging for as many as 20 potato farmers.
Emerald is looking at diversifying into other markets such as snack foods, smaller diaper accounts and tissue overwrap, the CEO said.
Emerald employs 100 and had sales of $18 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31.