Riding a crest of growth, protective packaging company Polyair Inter Pack Inc. will expand two plants and has added customized extrusion equipment to several others.
The wave of expansion for Toronto-based Polyair started earlier this year, when it began installing new monolayer extrusion lines, said Alan Castle, president of Polyair's packaging division. The multimillion-dollar investment lets Polyair make several polyethylene bubble film products, Castle said in a Nov. 13 telephone interview.
``We're in an expansion mode from a product standpoint and equipment standpoint,'' he said. ``We're not asleep at the wheel. We try to keep reinventing ourselves with new projects and product lines.''
A high-speed cast extrusion line was installed in Polyair's Corona, Calif., plant in early 2002 and another at its Atlanta facility in June, Castle said. The machines can laminate film for use with foil, adhesives, paper or other forms of plastic, he said. The equipment also can laminate metalized material for increased shelf life of fresh produce and other products by offering better insulation.
Polyair also is making a new PE bubble mailer that it said provides better security from tearing or puncturing.
``More people are worried about theft in the postal system than before,'' Polyair mailer product manager Lorne Herszkowicz said during Pack Expo International, held Nov. 3-7 in Chicago. ``We've had good success with a tamper-evident package.''
With the push into new and broadened products, the company dramatically will expand two plants and add a monolayer extruder to each.
Polyair plans to add 35,000 square feet to its facility in Carstadt, N.J., by the end of year, Castle said. Currently, that plant is one of Polyair's smallest, with about 40,000 square feet. At its Dallas plant, Polyair will increase space to 80,000 square feet from 40,000, Castle said. That expansion is to be complete by the middle of 2003, Castle said.
The publicly held company did not disclose investment figures for the expansions. But Castle said the company has been expansion-minded for several years. In 2001, Polyair invested $5 million in capital expenditures, he said.
Polyair, also a producer of foam-based protective packaging, has 10 plants. The company, trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, recorded sales of US$111.6 million in 2001.
Sales for Polyair continue to grow, up 6.7 percent in the third quarter of 2002 compared with the same period last year.
``We're tracking ahead of the previous year,'' Castle said. ``Big areas of growth in 2002 are products launched a year and a half ago.''
Those products include a pillow packaging system that feeds film from multiple air-pillow machines into one hopper. That equipment is being sold to fulfillment and distribution houses, Castle said.