Associated Packaging Technologies is expanding its Cambridge, Ontario, thermoforming plant to meet surging demand for packaging trays.
The Chadds Ford, Pa., company says the multimillion-dollar investment will boost capacity for polypropylene trays and introduce production of technologically advanced multilayer trays with an oxygen barrier. The project, which is under way, will be complete by mid-2010, according to spokesman Dan Ditzler.
We see significant opportunity for growth in trays for shelf-stable entrees, refrigerated, and prepared foods, CEO Mark Staton said in a news release.
APT officials said the new capacity will be capable of making 300 million or more trays annually and consume an additional 8 million pounds of resin a year. Ditzler declined to comment on what kind of equipment will be added.
The 280,000-square-foot plant in Cambridge, which makes its own sheet for its in-line thermoforming, now uses Davis-Standard extruders and Lyle thermoforming machines.
The multilayer barrier trays will rely on crystalline PET and PP constructions.
We will be expanding upon our existing polypropylene and barrier capabilities, and incorporating those into our proprietary rotary thermoforming technology, Staton added.
Cambridge was chosen over APT's other two North American plants because it has experience in multilayer technology and can benefit from the recent depreciation of the Canadian dollar, Ditzler said in an e-mail. APT's Waynesville, N.C., facility has no spare space and the one in Chillicothe, Mo., is focused on high-volume rotary production. Cambridge is APT's site for making case-ready meat trays.
The Cambridge plant's major customers include U.S. operations of Nestlé SA and ConAgra Foods Inc., and Marsan Foods Ltd. in Canada.
Ditzler said Cambridge employs about 135, and only would add that he expects that number to rise with expansion.
This major initiative is based on our continued focus on the food industry, especially the food processors direct and the co-packers, said George Frederick, vice president of sales, marketing and technical sales.
APT is a major vertically integrated manufacturer of CPET dual-ovenable containers for the food industry, a leader in plastic trays for frozen food in North America and a pioneer in recycled PET frozen-food trays.
APT logged North American thermoforming sales of $140 million last year, according to Plastics News' recent ranking. It also runs a plant in Carrickmacross, Ireland.