Amcor Ltd. is phasing out one rigid plastic packaging plant in the Chicago area during the next year, moving equipment and employees to another company site just nine miles away.
The location slated for closure in Des Plaines, Ill., and the plant that will receive the added equipment and workers is in Itasca, Ill.
Both make a variety of products, said Michael Hodges, director of communications for Amcor Rigid Plastics, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based unit of Amcor Ltd., an Australia-based global packaging giant.
“It goes back to consumer needs, changing customer needs. Like with any consumer goods packaging type of company, our customers, consumers change taste. Products change and therefore packaging changes. So as packaging changes and we see the opportunity to realign footprints, those types of things, it's just standard business practice for us,” Hodges said.
The Des Plaines facility came to Amcor through its 2010 acquisition of portions of Alcan Packaging from Rio Tinto Group.
“There isn't anything more than we just feel like it was the right time to consolidate. The Itasca plant is capable of producing these products. They have the space,” Hodges said. “We just looked at a variety of different indicators and decided that the Itasca plant is the right location.”
Employees will transition to the new location over the next year as equipment is moved in phases, the company said.
“We're not really looking at layoffs at this point. That's not part of the consolidation. We think because of the nature of this consolidation, it will be just that,” Hodges said.
While a majority of the existing equipment in Des Plaines is expected to move to Itasca, Hodges expects some employees will opt not to relocate.
“We feel the majority of Des Plaines co-workers will be in full-time employment at the new location once all the equipment has been relocated,” he said. “Obviously, there will be some people who won't choose to go. But our hope is the majority of our employees will do with the consolidation.”
Hodges declined to indicate how many workers are employed at each site.
But he did say some of the equipment will take longer to move than other equipment.
“There will be some of it that we can't move immediately due to qualifications and validations of our customers. So we're very sensitive that our customers will need time just because of the nature of the pharmaceutical products that will be moved,” he said.
“The plan will be August 2016 that the completed transition will take place,” Hodges said.
Along with the Des Plaines and Itasca sites, Amcor also operates two other sites in the Chicago area, one in Batavia and one in the Pullman neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago. The Pullman location is an on-site operation at Method Products cleaning products factory.
Amcor Rigid Plastics ranked No. 2 in Plastics News' survey of North American blow molders, with estimated sales of $2.27 billion.