Jindal Films Americas LLC has announced a huge investment in biaxially oriented polypropylene film at one of the sites it acquired from ExxonMobil Chemical Co. three years ago.
Jindal said Dec. 10 that it will spend $180 million at its LaGrange, Ga., operation to expand BOPP film and metallization capacity and to relocate its research and development center and national headquarters from Macedon, N.Y.
“This is the first step in a significant growth plan that will bring new technology and expanded capabilities to our customers and partners well into the future,” said Scott Van Winter, JFA's CEO and executive vice president, in a news release.
A key part of the investment will be a 424-inch-wide orientation line due to be up and running by the fourth quarter of 2016. The line will add 100 million pounds per year of BOPP capacity. A new metallizer line is slated to be installed in the third quarter of 2016 to add 20 million pounds of metallized BOPP film.
Jindal did not provide much detail on the new lines but a major equipment supplier's specifications indicate what a modern BOPP line can do. Brückner Group GmbH, claims it can build BOPP film lines with widths comparable to Jindal's target width that can run faster than 547 feet per minute.
JAF will add other equipment to also boost coating and slitting capacities and will extend floor space at LaGrange by an undisclosed amount.
“With favorable market growth in flexible packaging, labeling and industrial applications, this facility is positioned for further expansion,” Van Winter explained.
Jindal bought ExxonMobil's film business with plants in LaGrange; Shawnee, Okla., Virton, Belgium, Brindisi, Italy; and Kerkrade, Netherlands. It didn't acquire a more costly operation in Belleville, Ontario, which had its equipment auctioned off in 2014.
Jindal also is investing heavily in other global BOPP facilities.
Its Brindisi plant will add a 424-inch BOPP line in late 2016 several months after it installs a new metallizer line there. The factory in southern Italy also is building a trigeneration plant to save up to 30 percent in energy costs and to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
In July, Jindal said it will install state-of-the-art testing laboratories at its Macedon and Virton sites. The Macedon lab is being moved to LaGrange while Virton will get a highly flexible orientation pilot line to develop new films and bring them quickly to market. The projects are scheduled to be finished by July 2016. Virton also installed two high-speed Atlas slitting machines this year at a cost of 2.5 million euros ($2.75 million).
JAF expects to create 240 new jobs at LaGrange in the expansion and relocation. It now employs about 500 in the United States, 200 of whom work in LaGrange.
JAF is a subsidiary of BC Jindal Group of New Delhi, India, which also is a major biaxially oriented PET film producer.
Jindal's main competitors in a crowded market include Formosa Plastics Group, Taghleef Industries, Treofan Group and Innovia Films. Market research firms peg BOPP's demand growth at 5-6 percent annually in a range of commodity and specialty markets. Current demand is about 15 billion pounds per year worth about $18 billion.
The world market is oversupplied with BOPP and demand is growing fastest in India and China. Film producers strive to develop new grades to offset price wars in commodity applications. New products are sought to increase oxygen barrier and to compete head-on with biaxially oriented PET.