EVERETT, WASH. (Nov. 11, 1:25 p.m. ET) — Plastic film manufacturer Achilles USA unwrapped — and opened the doors to — its new plastic film production plant earlier this month.
The company, a long-time supplier of PVC film for numerous industries, opened the new $13 million plant in Everett, Wash., on Nov. 1.
The 35,000-square-foot facility is an expansion project on Achilles USA's 40-acre manufacturing site, which opened in 1974.
Scott Bollinger, Achilles USA vice president of sales, said plans for the expansion started a couple of years ago as company officials saw the need to produce polyethylene and other olefin films.
While Achilles will continue to produce PVC materials, having the plant for olefin films “will complement what we already have,” Bollinger said, noting he anticipates more film sales as a result of the new product and plant.
Achilles USA was 77th in a Plastics News recent ranking of North American film and sheet manufacturers, with estimated sales of $64 million.
“We have never been able to offer this, and now we will,” Bollinger said. “A lot of our key customers were transferring to [polyethylene]. We wanted to gain that market share, and this will add to our growth potential.”
He said Achilles is hopeful to get back customers who have gone to competitors because of the new equipment and also to attract new business.
The new extrusion plant employs 15, including many who transferred from the PVC line. There are now 165 employees at the Everett site. Some of the 15 were hired within the last two years in anticipation of the new plant opening.
The new extruder can produce a five-layer film that will be surface treated with a plasma treating system, something Achilles did not have before, he said. This will create a surface that is receptive to printing and adhesives.
Because of the size of the new plant, there is room to have up to three extruders and more employees as business grows, he said. The plan is to add another extruder in two years, he said.
Achilles makes 65 million pounds of film products each year. The new extruded olefin films will be sold in the stationery, graphics and medical film markets, and possibly into the pharmaceutical packaging market as well, Bollinger said.
Achilles' films are used in a variety of products, such as three-ring binders, industrial fabrics, reflective signs and others. Achilles also makes inflatable boats, synthetic leathers, rubberized fabrics, and films for products in the automotive, industrial fabric and electronic manufacturing markets.
Achilles USA is part of Achilles Corp., originally the Kohkoku Chemical Industry when it was founded in 1947. Today it has affiliates in the United States, China, Thailand and Taiwan.
Achilles Corp. executives attended the ribbon cutting.