Alpla Inc. is boosting its blow molded packaging capabilities significantly with a new plant in Lima, Ohio, and equipment upgrades and expansion at other sites.
The firm is investing more than $10 million for the 105,000-square-foot plant, which will open by first-quarter 2007. It will be Alpla's fifth U.S. plant.
``The plant already has a significant amount of work awarded to it,'' Ken Sigman, Alpla's sales manager, said in an Aug. 24 telephone interview. ``It's our goal to be as close to the customer as possible. This plant will serve multiple customers.''
The plant will start with 50 employees, with room to expand. Alpla designs its own equipment - shuttle blow molding machines - made by Soplar SA in Altstatten, Switzerland - rather than larger rotary wheel equipment.
``That's been our standard,'' Sigman said. ``We go with long-stroke shuttles that are very advanced.''
Parent company Alpla-Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co. KG of Hard, Austria, has followed a strategy of locating near customers. Earlier this year, it said it would open a plant in Baddi, India, with joint venture partner Yodeva Plastics Pvt. Ltd. of Hyderabad, India. The plant will meet demand from international consumer companies in the region, including Unilever NV and Procter & Gamble Co.
By year's end, Alpla-Werke also will launch a facility in China, although details have not been released.
In the past year, Alpla has expanded several U.S. locations and added three plants in Mexico.
The company entered the U.S. market in 2004, when it opened a facility in Iowa City, Iowa, with 50 employees. That site now has 200 workers, and recently added 100,000 square feet of space.
``We have an additional 10 acres to expand on if the business demands it,'' Sigman said.
Earlier this year, Alpla doubled the size and capacity of its Jefferson City, Mo., plant. Sigman would not provide other details.
Alpla recorded $90 million in sales in the U.S. market during 2005, after projecting a goal of $75 million. In 2006, the company expects that figure to grow to more than $100 million.