Sealed Air Corp. is nearly ready to begin limited production of Ethafoam, the spongy polyolefin product line it bought in September from Dow Chemical Co.
Sealed Air will invest about $11 million in a manufacturing plant near the Louisville, Ky., airport, according to Ken Aurichio, corporate communications director. Aurichio did not provide details about machinery planned for the facility.
Elmwood, N.J.-based Sealed Air is hiring salaried and hourly workers for the plant, which will employ 120. Limited operations will begin in August, with plans to bring the factory to full production in the first quarter of 2009, Aurichio said by telephone June 11.
``Under the [Ethafoam] agreement, Dow agreed to supply us for 18 months, until we found a plant and got it running,'' he said.
According to state documents, Sealed Air in March received about $1.5 million in tax incentives for up to 10 years from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority for the 415,480-square-foot plant.
Primary applications for Ethafoam will remain packaging, with some specialty applications in leisure goods and transportation, Aurichio said.
``This is just another step in the growth of our specialty packaging business,'' he said. ``It's a positive step for a business we see a lot of applications in.''
Sealed Air makes polyolefin foams under the Cellu-Cushion, Stratocell and CelluPlank brands. Major markets for the firm's products are packaging, automotive, sporting goods and toys.
The firm paid an undisclosed sum for the Ethafoam lines based in Hanging Rock, Ohio, and Drusenheim, France. The deal included licenses for process technology, customer contracts, trademarks and some production equipment for Ethafoam, Envision, Synergy and Equifoam products. Sealed Air also obtained the rights to the Lamdex trademark.
Midland, Mich.-based Dow had planned to close Hanging Rock and was studying Drusenheim's future once the plants stopped producing Ethafoam. Dow officials did not return calls.