Pregis LLC is creating a $1 million lab in Michigan to help a blown film manufacturing site with research and development work and quality testing.
The new facility at Pregis' Grand Rapids site producing polyethylene film includes a wide variety of testing equipment in a dedicated space. The company also added warehouse space to make room for the lab as well as offices in the existing footprint.
"It accelerates what we can do internally vs. sending it out so our lead times are much shorter where we can do work in days vs. weeks when we send it out," said Tom Wetsch, chief innovation officer for Pregis, in an email interview.
The company had mostly been performing in-line and on-line physical testing to verify material quality and consistency prior completion of the new lab, Wetsch indicated.
Pregis makes PE film that's used in a variety of flexible packaging for markets including food, medical, industrial and surface protection.
The lab includes equipment for both analytical and physical testing.
"Customers are continuing to place more stringent quality demands on suppliers. That includes roll flatness, wind quality and physical performance properties which enables them to optimize speeds in pouch converting or vertical and horizontal filling lines," Wetsch said in a separate statement. "Our new lab capability will help them meet many of those objectives.
"Having an on-site facility will better equip us to provide faster solutions and also allow us to accelerate our R&D work."
The investment comes as customers are looking to increase their use of customized packaging at a faster pace, he explained. "We wanted to make sure we had the right resources in place to support them."