Building on the versatility of its recycled, lightweight polypropylene boards and sleeve packs, Con-Pearl North America Inc. is growing its operations in Greenville, S.C.
The company, which started up its first conversion line in June, is rapidly doubling its workforce from to 20 employees from 10.
"Our next step is to integrate further up the value chain by 2015," said Con-Pearl Vice President Stefan Hoedt in a telephone interview.
The company operates out of a 60,000-square-foot facility and expects to have 50-60 employees within a few years.
Hoedt said the basic Con-Pearl board consists of two flat pieces around a vacuum formed piece.
"It is like an egg box with a laminated outer sheet and creates a hollow product with a high degree of stiffness," he said.
The boards are made in thicknesses of 3-11 millimeters.
"The big application has been in packaging," Hoedt said.
He noted that when they are used on pallets, the sleeves provide protection and after use, they can be collapsed to about 12 percent of their volume for shipment, then reused.
The company is also coming out with its new Octa Flow Box, an octangular sleeve pack for preforms and regrind. It will be introduced Sept. 23-25 at Pack Expo in Las Vegas.
Besides packaging, the products can be used for insulation in construction, as a replacement for sheet rock.
Hoedt said the decision to build in Greenville came about after a long search through at least five states. Once the company bought the building, it had to assemble a team under CEO Christoph Holzapfel to provide the right training, partly in Germany, and to prepare the building.
Con-Pearl is a unit of Friedola-Tech GmbH of Geismar, Germany, a Tier 1 automotive supplier and packaging producer that has been supplying the European market for about 10 years.