Norwalk, Calif. ― Flexible packaging manufacturer Emerald Packaging Inc. of Union City, Calif., has invested $5 million for equipment and a facility improvement, and further additions are planned.
During 2018, “we expect to order two printing presses to replace the last two older presses we have,” said CEO Kevin Kelly. “One will be eight colors and 65 inches and the other 10 colors and 37 inches. We are going narrow because of a large increase in very short run business that makes no sense to run on our 60-inch W&H Miraflex.”
Emerald has not selected the new equipment, but is in discussions with the Lincoln, R.I., North American unit of Windmöller & Hölscher KG and the Kennesaw, Ga., North American unit of Uteco Converting SpA.
This year, Emerald purchased a used eight-color W&H Miraflex from W&H for $2.5 million. A second pouch-making machine was procured from Totani Corp. of Kyoto, Japan, for $320,000.
Emerald also obtained a $250,000 bag machine in its first purchase from Mamata Machinery Pvt. Ltd. of Ahmedabad, India.
2016 also was a busy year for Emerald. The company added its fourth system for laser perforation of films to increase their breathability for produce packaging. Again, Preco Corp. of Somerset, Wis., supplied the laser system. The cost was $590,000.
In addition, Emerald spend $730,000 for two high-speed wicketers from Hudson-Sharp Machinery Co. of Green Bay, Wis.
Also this year, Emerald installed a forklift ramp across a vacated railroad spur to connect its two adjacent buildings at a cost of $500,000.
“We were trucking product around the block between buildings for about $500,000 a year, so the payback is pretty quick,” Kelly said.
Emerald's original building is being used for printing, laminating and slitting functions. The second building, acquired in July 2013, has finished goods, raw materials and bag-making equipment.
Collaboration with ePac
Emerald collaborates with digital printing specialist ePac LLC in providing services with an Emerald-owned Indigo WS20000 printing press from Hewlett Packard Co.
Emerald acquired the press in mid-2014 and moved it to an ePac facility in Middleton, Wis., in mid-2016. The ePac team sells the digital printing and, after a startup production period, the venture is now profitable.
Emerald also has added talent.
James Rodriquez joined Emerald as director of printing and lamination. Previously, he was with an Amcor Ltd. unit.
Dean Enslein is now an Emerald senior sales person after working at Bemis Co. Inc.
Emerald employs 243, operates seven color flexographic printing presses and 30 bag making lines and had sales of $80.1 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31.
“We shed some unprofitable business over six months,” Kelly said. Emerald assisted at least one customer in finding a new supplier.
Kelly projects sales ranging from $78 million to $82 million during the current fiscal year.
Kelly was interviewed in conjunction with the Dec. 5 dinner meeting of the Western Plastics Association in Norwalk.