Graham Packaging Co. plans to open a 150,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Montgomery, Ala., to serve its growing market in the Southeast. The plant, which is to start operating by Oct. 1, will blow mold hot-fill PET containers for food and beverage customers.
The company is leasing the facility, but still will invest more than $20 million in the project, which will start with 40 workers and grow to 75 within two years, according to a news release.
Graham, based in York, Pa., announced the project June 1 at a news conference with Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright and Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman Rod Frazer.
Mark Leiden, Graham's commercial development director, said the plant will begin with two lines, but soon could grow to four or five, the average for Graham's 57 other plants.
The plant will feature new technology as well, including what Graham touts as the industry's fastest hot-fill production line to churn out single-serve PET bottles.
The company has a long-term lease on the building. Construction was begun on speculation, to attract manufacturing jobs to the area.
"This allows for them a faster start-up," said Troy Wayman, director of Industrial Affairs at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.
Leiden said the building is not finished, but Graham already has started working on it and moving in.
"We have been growing over the years, and almost every month we are adding something," Leiden said. "This is just another step in a rapid expansion for Graham."
He added that more announcements will be made in the coming weeks revealing the firm's largest customers and more expansion plans.
In other news, Graham also announced the new electronic design of Apple & Eve juice bottles.
Leiden said new software, unique to Graham, draws a two-dimensional contour map of the design, then translates it to a 3-D bottle. He said the technology allows for intricate detail on the bottle.
The technology helped Graham create a propriety look at a minimal cost, Leiden said.
Graham, employing more than 4,000 workers in 11 countries, reported production of 6 billion containers and 1999 sales of $716 million in 1999.