The AmTopp Division of Inteplast Group Ltd. is hiking its stretch film capacity by adding a new, nine-layer line at its sprawling plant in Lolita, Texas.
The company will install the cast film extrusion line by June, AmTopp national sales manager Carl Grove said Nov. 6 at Pack Expo International 2002 in Chicago. The line will boost the company's ability to produce pallet wrap for industrial applications, Grove said.
``We've had growth in stretch film, running at about 6-7 percent a year,'' he said. ``There was a need to add capacity to keep up with demand.''
The Battenfeld Gloucester extrusion line will boost AmTopp's stretch film capacity by about 50 percent, said division President Homer Hsieh. The machine can produce 45 million pounds of film annually, said Hsieh, based at AmTopp headquarters in Livingston, N.J.
Currently, the Lolita facility - AmTopp's only North American stretch film plant - produces close to 80 million pounds.
The high-speed machine will save AmTopp money by increasing volume without adding a lot to the plant's variable costs, Hsieh said. The company will spend about $5 million for the line and supporting equipment, he said.
The company may add another stretch film line at the facility after the equipment is installed, Hsieh said. The new capacity moves AmTopp to a position closer to the North American leaders in stretch film, most of which run about 180 million pounds of film a year, he said.
``We have the intention of being a major player,'' he said. ``Right now, we could put another machine in [Lolita] without changing the building or adding more space.''
The linear low density polyethylene film will be used for a variety of pallet wrap, including hand film, machine film, cling film and various color films. The stretch film market continues to grow, Grove said. In North America, about 1.3 billion pounds of stretch film is sold a year, he said.
The building for stretch film is a small part of the huge complex run by Inteplast and parent company Formosa Plastics Corp. U.S.A. of Livingston. The campus, with more than 3 million square feet, includes a larger facility to make biaxially oriented polypropylene film and has its own rail system.
Formosa has a large resin facility in nearby Point Comfort, Texas.