Next Generation Films Inc. is betting $30 million on growth in specialty films.
Core to the budgeted investment are two new plants at its Lexington, Ohio, headquarters campus, one to make films and the other for bags, Next Generation CEO and owner Dave Frecka said in a phone interview.
“Food packaging is a high growth area,” Frecka explained.
Next Generation will build a new 100,000-square-foot specialty film factory and a 75,000-square-foot specialty bag plant, both in Lexington. Over this year and next, the firm will install 10 multilayer film lines in the plants. It already has begun ordering five-layer Alpine film lines for the upcoming units.
Frecka said an expansion is also underway at its No. 3 film plant in Lexington. The company has bought three five-layer film lines for the facility, two high-output Windmoeller & Hoelscher machines and an Alpine system.
“These lines are sold out,” Frecka said.
Next Generation targets its customized, five-layer specialty constructions to replace mono- and three-layer films and bags prevalent in food markets. Frecka said five-layer films can be made lighter and stronger than conventional food packaging. He said his company does well in certain niche markets, but he declined to provide details of those market segments.
Also in the works is a new, 200,000-square-foot warehouse destined for Lexington. The highly automated facility will be built on a 30-acre parcel recently bought by Next Generation. It will replace crowded warehousing now located in Lexington.
Next Generation now runs three film plants, a bag plant, conversion center and warehouse in Lexington. The firm has continually expanded the campus. The new round of projects follows a previous expansion phase begun a few years ago that represented an investment similar to the one Next Generation currently plans.
Frecka calculates the several expansions underway will vault Next Generation's annual sales to $400 million, up from the $295.9 million it logged in Plastics News' most recent survey of North American film and sheet manufacturers. This year alone the company will add about 50 million pounds of new capacity. Employment has been growing apace of capacity expansion and is now above 400. Overall, Next Generation runs more than 40 film lines.