ANAHEIM, CALIF. — German PET film extruder Sicht-Pack Hagner GmbH is opening a $7.5 million plant in South Carolina, its first North American extrusion factory.
The plant, with a single line, is slated to open in February, said Tim Toskin, vice president of sales and marketing with Hagner's U.S. arm, called Hagner Future Film 2000.
The company said it is making the expensive investment because it anticipates that environmental pressure will push global medical manufacturers away from PVC.
The plant is in a KoSa PET resin factory in Spartanburg, S.C., and is part of an unusual partnership between the extruder and resin maker, said Heinrich Hagner, president and chief executive officer of Hagner Future Film and a member of the family that owns Hagner's German parent.
The company announced the investment at the Medical Design & Manufacturing West 2001 show, held Jan. 8-10 in Anaheim.
KoSa kicked in money to upgrade a building at its plant to house the extrusion factory, and the extruder is paying KoSa back through rent during a 10-year period. Hagner said KoSa does not own a stake in the German parent but is making the investment to help stimulate the market for PET film in North America.
European and Asian markets are expressing more interest in PET for medical film, driving the desire of global manufacturers to have one material and one technology, Toskin said.
"They don't want to look at a duality of logistics, having PVC packaging in one market and PET in another market," he said. "PET also allows a global rollout without environmental restrictions."
The company believes the investment, which is four or five times the cost of typical PET extrusion lines, will manufacture a thin film that will be cost-competitive with thicker, medical-grade PVC films, Toskin said.
Spartanburg will have the same technology as it does at its headquarters in Dornstetten, Germany.
The extruder will process as much as 11 million pounds of virgin amorphous PET resin annually. The company hopes to have several more lines in the next three years, Toskin said. Spartanburg will start with 20-30 employees.
In Europe, Hagner sells film to medical manufacturing firms including Johnson & Johnson, Procter and Gamble Co. and Gillette Co. and will target those firms and others in the United States, Heinrich said. Hagner GmbH has 220 employees in Germany with eight extrusion lines and has annual sales of about $50 million, Heinrich said.
A significant competitor in PET films, Klockner Pentaplast of America Inc., opened a $6 million PET film and sheet extrusion plant in Beckley, W.Va., in August.