New England Extrusion Inc. will increase coextrusion capacity when its latest film line starts production next month. The three-layer system is the third coextrusion line the Turners Falls, Mass.-based company has added in the past 12 months. Production is focused on specialty packaging for the food and medical markets.
The line will run all the New England Extrusion standard resins including metallocenes, Surlyn ionomer resin, high and linear low density PE, and as much as 28 percent ethylene vinyl acetate.
"This line fits with where we're moving," marketing manager Melissa Gardiner said in a telephone interview. "We're moving away from low-end bags to high-end food-grade and medical packaging markets. We're beefing up our capacity to keep up with lead times."
The line can produce film 64 inches in width and has five-layer capability. There is an in-line gauging system and a maximum roll diameter of 30 inches.
In the past two years, New England Extrusion has doubled in size. Sales grew 40 percent in 1999 from the year before, to about $41.5 million.
This year, New England Extrusion expects sales growth of 20-25 percent. The company operates 10 lines and employs more than 100. In the past 12 months, 40 employees have been added to the roster.
To keep up with demand and the need for more warehouse space, the company is adding 42,000 square feet to the 60,000-square-foot Turners Falls facility this spring. The expansion will more than double existing warehouse space and will provide some additional racking, Gardiner said. Because the production area of the plant still has room, the expansion is not slated for extrusion lines.
"In the upcoming year, with the new equipment we've installed, the new compounding capability and adding square footage, we want to focus on what we've got," Gardiner said. "We will not add another line in 2000, but we will upgrade our existing lines and add warehousing space."
New England Extrusion operates a production facility in Milton, Wis., as well as the plant, a research and development center and compounding capability in Turners Falls.