Wilkinson Industries Inc. is in the midst of an $8 million project, gearing up for a major expansion of its food-packaging capabilities.
Bob Dalziel, president and chief operating officer, said in a phone interview that the firm began buying new machinery shortly after it was acquired in April 2004 by Mid Oaks Investments LLC of Buffalo Grove, Ill. He said the expansion should be complete by the end of the year.
Dalziel did not provide details other than to say the company is adding extrusion and thermoforming capacity to its facilities in Fort Calhoun, Neb., where it has about 400,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space.
``We've experienced rapid growth since the purchase,'' Dalziel said.
Wilkinson has hired 62 workers this year and is anticipating another 100 hires in the next two years, Dalziel said. The firm currently employs more than 300.
The company makes aluminum and plastic food packaging and is growing in all areas. In plastics, Wilkinson has added PET capability and expanded its oriented polystyrene and polylactide packaging capacity.
The firm buys its polylactic acid, a corn-based product, from the Natureworks division of Cargill Inc. Wilkinson has used it to thermoform deli containers for gourmet shops. Dalziel said some large retail outfits are testing the material, which could increase business.
Dalziel would not provide sales figures.