Thermoformer Inline Plastics Corp. is seeing strong demand for its Safe-T-Fresh line of clear PET clamshell food packaging with molded-in Safe-T-Gard tear-strip locks.
In December, the Shelton, Conn., firm boosted its thermoforming capacity with the addition of a Lyle 152FM 135-ton machine with a 52-inch by 62-inch forming area and two 152 PVT trimming presses.
President Tom Orkisz said the new line will help boost production to 10 million containers per month at the Connecticut plant.
The last 12 months have been pretty good. There's a lot of raw materials price volatility in our market right now, which is always a hassle to navigate through. But we feel pretty bullish, predominately because we believe we're going to newer, more innovative products that the market seems to be responding nicely to, Orkisz said in a Feb. 2 telephone interview.
Inline received $800,000 in state aid for the project. The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development loaned $500,000 and the Connecticut Development Authority pitched in $300,000, with what Orkisz termed a nice, gentle amortization, over the 10-year repayment period.
Orkisz said the state financial incentives made the difference in the company deciding to invest in added capacity at its Connecticut plant vs. its facility in McDonough, Ga. Inline also operates a plant in Salt Lake City and has a research and development facility in Milford, Conn.
The expansion in Shelton will add 18 to the plant's 196 employees, Orkisz said.
The privately owned firm does not disclose sales figures, but Plastics News estimates Inline's sales for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010, at $63 million.
Founded in 1968, Inline owns brands including Crystal Vue, EZ Open, SureLock, Safe-T-Fresh, Safe-T-Fresh Hangables and Valu Pak PET clamshell and two-piece packaging. Its products are aimed primarily at baked goods, deli items, fresh-cut produce, nuts and candy.
Inline ranks No. 31 among North American thermoformers in PN's industry survey. The firm runs an estimated 48 thermoforming lines. It employs about 350.