Elite Extrusion Technology doesn't want to be the typical supplier of polyethylene films.
With two blown film lines already in place and plans for a third, the St. Charles, Ill.-based company says it has a decidedly different approach to serving customers.
“The real goal of the company is to build something unique to the industry in the fact that some of the high-end film producers that make really good high-end polyethylene films, that sometimes leads to a long lead time,” said Gordon Galloway, director of sales and marketing at Elite.
“What we want to do is have a real short turnaround with a real high-grade film. So when people come to us, you don't have to be a larger converter to buy from Elite Extrusion. But you will get the same benefits as you would get if you were a large converter buying from one of the larger polyethylene manufacturers around the country,” he said.
“It's just a matter of attention to some of the smaller runs, smaller orders,” he said.
Companies seeking shorter runs of PE film can wait a long time before their orders are slotted into production, but Galloway said Elite aims to keep those waiting times down to a minimum.
“What we want to be able to do is take the philosophy that we'll take the shorter runs. We will help you manage your inventory that way,” he said.
So instead of “five, six, seven, eight weeks sometimes for lead time,” the company works to shorten that wait time.
“The shorter the lead time you have, the better off you'll be with maintaining your inventory. The better management of inventory, your profits will improve,” Galloway said. “We want to help people do that. Now, we're not a big storage facility. But if we apply our philosophy on how we run, being vertically integrated, we'll give [our customers] that benefit.”
Elite also operates its own laboratory to test production in an effort to cut down on delivery times. “We can test basically everything you need to know about the film,” Galloway said.
“Our philosophy is to have everything as vertically integrated as possible in the facility so when we run the film to your specification, it will be tested as soon as it's ready,” he said.
That in-house lab eliminates the need to send out samples for testing and wait “a week or two” for their return, Galloway said.
“That's another way of shortening the lead time, the way we run, the way we combine things together,” he said. “Not everybody has in-house labs, especially somebody our size or that's reacting to a smaller type of run.”
Elite is owned by Galloway's brother, Glen Galloway, who also owns Bema Inc., a flexible packaging company that used to make its own blown film. Bema exited that business almost 10 years ago due to equipment obsolescence, but Galloway went back into the extrusion business in 2012 with new equipment and the creation of Elite in St. Charles.
Elite now provides film to both Bema and outside customers.
“The opportunity is excellent, the marketplace is growing substantially, the amount of flexible packaging, the amount of pouching,” Gordon Galloway said.