SHELBYVILLE, TENN. (Dec. 23, 11:25 a.m. ET) — Manuli Stretch USA Inc. has shut its Shelbyville plant but will expand its product offerings available from offshore affiliates.
The Shelbyville plant, a two-line operation with 25 million pounds per year film capacity, was judged too small to pursue the wide range of markets staked out by its parent Manuli Stretch Group of Milan, Italy, and its subsidiaries, said Manuli Stretch USA manager of operations Dan Maiorino in a telephone interview.
The Shelbyville factory focused on seven-layer specialty stretch films but the U.S. company will be now be able to offer a broader range of specialties and commodity films, Maiorino explained.
Shelbyville stopped production in early December and about 25 production employees lost their jobs. The location will continue as a sales office.
Manuli will evaluate whether to relocate the production assets or resume production there or elsewhere in North America at a later date, according to Maiorino. Manuli is a major stretch film producer.
“We will primarily source from [Leipzig] Germany, Manuli's largest facility, and some from [Buenos Aries] Argentina and [Curitiba] Brazil,” Mairorino said.
The Brazil facility started up its first line in 2011 and there are plans to expand it. Globally, Manuli has about 500 million pounds annually of film capacity. Other production plants are in Aprilia, Italy, and Corsham, England. Production assets at Pozzilli, Italy, were transferred to other facilities last year and the site now operates as a warehouse while Manuli ponders the facility's long-term fate. Sourcing from offshore means Manuli Stretch USA will convert to metric measurements.
In addition to industrial films, Manuli Stretch USA will add silage films made in Germany in 2012. The silage products are cast polyethylene, vs. conventional blown PE films for the application. Maiorino claimed the cast process provides more consistency.
Also new to the U.S. from Germany are stretch hooder films that snap into place on pallets, eliminating a heat shrink stage to save energy and time. Maiorino said his firm also will introduce cast polypropylene films into the U.S. in 2012.
Manuli Stretch USA manages a warehouse in Los Angeles and is looking to set up warehouses in the northeast United States and Canada.
Manuli specialties for industrial use typically have seven or nine layers while its commodity films have four or five layers. The parent company was established in 1935. The Shelbyville business was Manuli's first U.S. production location when Manuli acquired Quintec Films Corp. in late 2007.