Film extrusion machinery supplier Macchi SpA is investing almost 4 million euros ($4.9 million) in a major expansion project at its plant in Venegono Inferiore, Italy.
Prompted by a 20 percent rise in sales last year against the background of a generally sluggish market, the firm is expanding its 194,000-square-foot plant by about 54,000 square feet.
The addition will include extensions to Macchi's extrusion line testing area, the computer numerically controlled machining center and to its administrative offices.
Macchi, a manufacturer of blown and cast film extrusion equipment, reported steady growth in 2004, when it filled 124 equipment orders. The firm predicts it will achieve a similar amount of business this year.
``We are very excited about this new development,'' said Managing Director Alessandro Macchi.
The Macchi board gave the expansion project the green light in November. The expansion could be up and running by late 2005 or early next year.
The machinery supplier has done well in the North American market since opening Macchi North America in Guelph, Ontario, in 2000. Last year, the company sold six multilayer lines in the United States and Canada, the best year yet, said sales manager Paul Conley.
In an Aug. 10 telephone interview, Conley said Macchi sold a five-layer line to a Canadian customer this year. But overall, 2005 started out more slowly than 2004.
Macchi has won some repeat business and continues to build brand awareness in North America, Conley said. ``The word really seems to have gotten out there,'' he said.
In March, Macchi strengthened its position in Asia when it tied up a sales and marketing partnership with Guangzhou, China-based Raytech Instrument Co. Ltd.
Macchi has made a mark in emerging markets such as South Korea with its technology to produce high-end protective film essential for masking in liquid-crystal-display production, according to international marketing manager Mauro Andreoli.
Macchi also has built a substantial position in film extrusion equipment in Britain, France and Spain, Andreoli said.
Plastics News senior reporter Bill Bregar contributed to this story.