Packaging supplier Bemis Co. Inc. will expand its Curwood Inc. thermoforming and extrusion plant, taking advantage of an upswing in flexible packaging that's related to clients' cost-cutting efforts.
``When you think about [Bemis'] food and consumer products customers, they're reacting not only to increases in the costs of packaging, but their food commodities costs have been going up substantially over the past couple of years,'' said Melanie Miller, Bemis vice president of investor relations and treasurer, in an Aug. 14 telephone interview.
``To respond to that, our large customers have been trying to introduce new, innovative products that serve the convenience needs of consumers and take away price point.
``In meat and cheese and coffee, specifically, semirigid or rigidlike flexible packaging has become much more popular.''
The plant is located in Fremont, Ohio. Bemis acquired the facility in its 1990 acquisition of Milprint Inc., processes polypropylene, polyester and polystyrene for food packaging. Miller said Bemis of Neenah, Wis., will add three thermoforming lines to the existing six and will expand the plant's footprint to 208,000 square feet, from 80,000.
Bemis will spend $10.5 million on the project $6.5 million on the building and $4 million for equipment.
The expansion, which is expected to be complete by January, will add 50 workers to the plant's 141 employees.
With 25 film and sheet plants, Bemis was the largest North American film and sheet manufacturer in Plastics News' 2007 survey.
The company recorded 2006 sales of $3 billion.