TOLLESON, ARIZ. — Landis Plastics Inc. is ramping up its new Arizona manufacturing facility, its first in the western United States.
The Tolleson plant, which began production in December, serves West and Southwest customers and relieves pressure on Midwest facilities.
Landis bought the site in 1997 but delayed the project to focus on expansion elsewhere.
"Building the plant fulfills our commitment to our customers to build a facility if we got enough business in the area," President Greg Landis said by telephone from Chicago Ridge, Ill.
By summer, the plant should have 12 Husky presses of 500 tons each and nine mandrel-type printers capable of laying down six to eight colors.
The existing plant can accommodate 18 injection presses, 10 printers and some thermoformers. A 20-ton crane operates in each of the two injection molding bays.
"We are investing $7 million to $10 million for equipment," Landis said.
During a second-shift tour, three Huskies molded 6-ounce yogurt sleeves with a stack mold. One was making 8-ounce yogurt cups, and another was molding cup lids.
The plant processes polypropylene for containers and linear low density polyethylene for lids.
Landis transferred 20 middle managers, technical supervisors and hourly workers from other plants to serve as a nucleus. As of Feb. 28, the Arizona plant employed 91.
The layout and automation impressed Thomas Brackin Jr., who joined Landis as Tolleson plant manager Jan. 22.
"It is really a good feeling to see that someone sat down and thought about how to put a plant together," Brackin said during an on-site visit.
The firm invested $10 million for 22 acres, a 137,000-square-foot building and infrastructure improvements including two rail spurs. Floor space can be doubled.
A conveyor handling and sorting system, operational in March, moves product from the injection molding room to the correct printer and, eventually, to the warehouse.
Supply lines are inconspicuous. "We don't have places where dust can accumulate on the piping," Brackin said.
In addition to Chicago Ridge and Tolleson, Landis Plastics has plants in Alsip, Ill.; Monticello and Richmond, Ind.; and Solvay, N.Y.
Greg Landis said workplace issues in Solvay, including a failed unionization attempt and worker complaints about safety and sexual discrimination issues at the plant, have been resolved.
Landis Plastics employs 1,400 and operates 105 injection molding machines, 68 printers and five thermoformers. The firm had 2000 sales of $185 million.