Thermoformer Nelipak Healthcare Packaging of Cranston, R.I., plans to open its first U.S. flexible packaging plant, in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Nelipak has agreed to invest at least $11.8 million initially in its chosen site, a recently built, 110,000-square-foot building with space for a Class 7 clean room. It committed to creating 36 jobs there from the start. Over five years, Nelipak plans to invest $20 million and employ 80.
The plant is expected to open late next year, Sean Egan, Nelipak's director of global marketing, told Plastics News in an email.
CEO Pat Chambliss outlined several reasons for choosing the area.
"Important factors in our site selection include an attractive geographic location within North Carolina's growing life science cluster, an available new building, a regional emphasis on training and education, a skilled local workforce and an overall favorable business climate for health care related manufacturing," Chambliss said in a Dec. 16 news release.
The company said it expects the facility to become a flagship U.S. production site enabling Nelipak to replicate the flexible packaging capabilities it has now in Europe.
Nelipak has four rigid packaging plants in North America: in Whitehall, Pa.; Phoenix; Cranston; and Humacao, Puerto Rico. Globally, the company has flexible and/or rigid packaging sites in Heredia, Costa Rica; Venray, Netherlands; Elsham, England; Galway and Clara, Ireland; and Derry, Northern Ireland.
The company ranks No. 28 among 211 North American thermoformers surveyed by Plastics News, with 2021 regional sales of about $95 million. It employs 1,400 worldwide.
It serves the medical device, pharmaceutical, drug-delivery, diagnostic and other health care markets. It also offers in-house design, prototyping, tooling and other services, and produces a line of tray sealing machines.
Nelipak's flexible packaging products include custom-designed roll-stock, die-cut lids and sheets, pouches and bags. It uses a variety of material substrates including films, foil-laminates, Tyvek and paper, as a range of heat-seal coating technologies.
Its rigid products include protective packaging for medical devices, pharmaceuticals, pre-filled syringes and vaccines.
Mount Kisco, N.Y.-based private equity firm Kohlberg & Co. LLC bought Nelipak Corp. Inc. in July 2019 and the next month merged it with Bemis Healthcare Packaging Europe. Nelipak had been owned by Milwaukee-based Mason Wells Inc., which bought it in 2013 from Sealed Air Corp.