Film manufacturer Achilles USA Inc. unwrapped — and opened the doors to — its new film plant this month.
The company, a long-time supplier of PVC film for numerous industries, opened the $13 million polyolefins film plant Nov. 1 in Everett, Wash. The 35,000-square-foot facility is located on Achilles' 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 No. 77 in Plastics News' recent ranking of North American film and sheet manufacturers, with estimated sales of $64 million for the fiscal year ended March 31.
“We have never been able to offer this, and now we will,” Bollinger said.
“A lot of our key customers were transferring to [PE]. We wanted to gain that market share, and this will add to our growth potential.”
He said Achilles officials hope new equipment will help the company win back customers that went to competitors, and also attract new business.
The new extrusion plant employs 15, including many who transferred from the PVC operation. 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 plant's new extruder can produce five-layer film that will be surface-treated with a plasma treating system, something Achilles did not have before, Bollinger said. The treatment creates a surface receptive to printing and adhesives.
The plant has room for up to three extruders and more employees as business grows. The plan is to add another extruder in two years, he said.
Achilles makes 65 million pounds of film products each year. The new olefin films will be sold in the stationery, graphics and medical film markets, and possibly into the pharmaceutical packaging market as well, Bollinger said.
The company's films are used in a variety of products, such as three-ring binders, industrial fabrics, reflective signs and others. The company 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 Kohkoku Chemical Industry when it was founded in 1947. Today it has affiliates in the U.S., China, Thailand and Taiwan.