GREER, S.C. (Sept. 15, 3 p.m. ET) — Mitsubishi Polyester Film Inc. has begun a $20 million upgrade at its plant in Greer, The addition will increase the factory's capacity for making polyester films as well as providing enhanced capability for new products.
“We're adding new technology to one of our current lines,” spokeswoman Rose Marchek said in a Sept. 15 telephone interview. “We're not increasing our [Mitsubishi] employees, but we are increasing the number of on-site contract employees for the duration of the project.”
She would not elaborate on the machinery being added as part of the upgrade.
Additions to the Greer facility will be completed in late 2012, Dennis Trice, president and chief operating officer of Mitsubishi Polyester Film, said in a news release.
The upgrade comes on top of Mitsubishi's $10 million project, launched late in 2010, to roll out its Reprocess Sustainable Liner Program.
That program is a closed-loop recycling process that makes recycled PET pellets out of the inline silicone-coated release films that are used as dispensing liners for labels placed on consumer goods including beverage bottles and personal care products.
Mitsubishi has invested more than $200 million at its Greer facility over the past 10 years, Trice said. Mitsubishi bought the 1 million-square-foot plant in 1998 from Hoechst Celanese Corp., with whom it had operated a joint venture, Hoechst Diafoil Co., at the site.
The factory, situated on a 193-acre campus, employs about 700, including contractors, Marchek said. Ten of Mitsubishi's employees were added as a result of the Reprocess program, Marchek said.
She said the latest film capacity increase was not a reaction to recent decisions by Indian firms such as Uflex Ltd. and Polyplex Corp. Ltd. to set up PET film production in the United States
“They're commodity producers, and we're trying to get into new, high-end products that are more technical,” Marchek said.
Mitsubishi Polyester Film is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Plastics Inc., which is part of the Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group, one of the largest chemical companies worldwide with annual sales of $40 billion.