Packfilm North America Inc. has joined the ranks of biaxially oriented and cast polypropylene film distributors, intending to funnel South American-made films to the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The Seabrook, Texas-based company, which also has a sales office in Toronto, is a subsidiary of Opp Film SA of Lima, Peru, itself a subsidiary of Oben Holding Group, which operates film plants in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
Markets and applications for BOPP, cast and metalized film have increased in Europe and North America, especially in flexible packaging, causing Opp Film to make major investments to increase production capacity.
Steve Brandt, Packfilm's managing director and president, said in a Sept. 30 telephone interview that privately owned Opp Film recently installed a 29-foot Bruckner BOPP line in Lima that cranks out 2,800 feet per minute. Once a second such line is installed, the machines will produce 38,580 tons annually specifically for North America.
A cast line that is coming in mid-2012 to Lima will produce webs 201/2 feet wide. “It will be the world's largest Bruckner line. It'll be the largest line in the world, period,” Brandt claimed.
The machine can make about 1,300 feet of cast film per minute.
Opp Film also is adding a third metalizing machine, which will result in 2,205 tons per month of capacity dedicated to North America, he said.
“This has all been planned to support the North American market. This has been a steady plan to march north,” Brandt said.
Brandt, who has worked as an executive for Phillips Chemical Co. and Sumitomo Corp., said Opp Film's capacity and distribution centers in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela and El Salvador give it a competitive edge.
“When we get an order from a U.S. company on the East or West Coast, from the time that customer sent us that purchase order, we've been promising six weeks. We've actually been delivering in four,” he said.
An added bonus is that Opp Film pays no U.S. duties on its film, thanks to the 2006 U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement.
“Ecuador is included in there; Argentina is not. But Argentina has free trade with the U.S. for BOPP film, for that one commodity. This was a key factory in [the expansion],” Brandt said.
The firm's annual capacity now stands at 104,720 tons of BOPP and 16,535 tons for cast film.
Opp Film is in the process of expanding its total capacity to 181,881 tons of BOPP by February and 38,600 tons of cast film capacity by mid-2012, Vice President Alfredo Barreda said in a Sept. 30 news release.
The company's products are available in one to three layers, and in thicknesses of 15-50 microns for BOPP and 18-150 microns for cast PP. Brandt said the firm can do mixed loads as well.
“If somebody wants to buy a container that's part cast, part metalized; part BOPP standard, we'll do it,” Brandt said.
By the end of 2012, Packfilm's goal is to have sold 16,500 to 22,000 tons in the U.S., he said.