Mitsubishi Polyester Film Inc. has begun a $20 million upgrade at its plant in Greer, S.C.
The addition will increase the factory's polyester film-making capacity and enhance its ability to handle 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 any machinery being added.
Additions to the Greer facility will be completed in late 2012, Dennis Trice, president and chief operating officer, 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 during the past 10 years, Trice said. The company bought the 1 million-square-foot plant in 1998 from Hoechst Celanese Corp., with which 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.
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 U.S., according to Marchek.
“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. The holding group is pne of the largest chemical companies worldwide, with annual sales of $40 billion.