Mexican polypropylene film maker Altopro SA de CV, which supplies the North American food industry, has invested $50 million in a new film orienter, as its aims to almost triple its production capacity over the next decade.
The 28.5 foot-long line will enable Altopro to increase capacity by 40 to 45 percent at its plant in Irapuato, 200 miles northwest of Mexico City, according to Oscar León, the plant manager.
Altopro's current annual installed capacity in Irapuato is 100 million pounds, León said by email.
“Altopro's facility in Irapuato can accommodate two more film extrusion lines with the same capacity as the new equipment,” he wrote. “Each new extrusion line will be complemented with a main and secondary cutter to meet our customers' demanding specifications.
“The plan is for this strategic growth to be executed over the next 10 years, thus increasing our installed production capacity to 270 million pounds a year.”
Commercial production using the new line will start within 18 months, according to Brückner Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG, of Siegsdorf, Germany, which supplied the equipment.
Altopro already operates four biaxially oriented polypropylene extrusion lines — two supplied by Brückner and two by Andritz AG of Graz, Austria. Complementary machinery includes four main and 10 secondary cutters and five metalizing machines.
According to León, Altopro of Mexico City has about 35 percent of the Mexican market for flexible film.
Steffen Sieber, Brückner's senior sales manager, said last year the Mexican market for flexible and rigid packaging machinery is growing by 4-6 percent a year.
“Our business here [in Mexico] is cyclical, four years nothing and then a run,” he said. “Every four [or] five years customers here spend $20 million to $40 million.”
Altopro supplies oriented and cast PP film to brand owners throughout North America, including uncoated flexible packaging films for beverage labels and other specialty items.