Adhesive tape manufacturer Tesa Tape Inc. recently completed a $40 million expansion at its Sparta, Mich., facility, positioning the plant as a state-of-the-art and more sustainable site for the company.
Announced in 2021, the 40,000-square-foot expansion for Tesa added manufacturing space, a product and technology development lab, and a customer solution center for product testing.
The site's total footprint now spans 179,000 square feet, more than half of which is dedicated to production.
Officials at Tesa, a subsidiary of Germany-based Beiersdorf AG, say the expansion marks a key milestone for the Sparta plant as it replaces aging production lines with state-of-the-art, solvent-free production lines for more sustainable manufacturing.
"We're coming from a solvent-based line that's about 40 years old, and instead of investing in older equipment … we decided to invest and go make a big step in sustainability," said Armin Hagenloch, plant manager for Tesa's Sparta facility. "We'll actually be the second Tesa plant that's solvent-free."
According to Hagenloch, the Sparta plant's new production equipment will be more technologically advanced while reducing energy use with more efficient manufacturing capabilities. The new equipment was designed with a "zero waste" concept, which is expected to reduce natural gas consumption by approximately 40 percent once the transition is complete.
Tesa Tape aims to transition all of its facilities to solvent-free production and rely on more recycled materials.
With the expansion in Sparta, Hagenloch also said the new development lab and customer solutions center will help Tesa better serve customers in the U.S.
"Before, we always had to go to our headquarters in Germany for trials and testing … which means downtime and interruption of normal production," Hagenloch said. "Now, we have the capability to run on a smaller scale — faster, more efficient — and we can actually host our customers for training."
The company plans to add 25 jobs in various departments with the expansion. Hagenloch said Tesa already has started to make some new hires but anticipates most hiring will take place in the first or second quarter of 2024. Currently, 135 people work at the Sparta facility.
The company is training operators for the new solvent-free line and plans to fully shut down the solvent line by the end of the year, Hagenloch said.
According to Hagenloch, Tesa's decision to keep expanding in Michigan is a result of 40 years of "stable business" in Sparta, where Tesa launched its first operations outside of Europe in 1982.
The area has been beneficial for attracting talent and offering an affordable place to live as well as an affordable place for the company to do business, he said.
Other company officials have echoed the significance of the expansion, not just for the company's Michigan operations but across the U.S. and globally.
"North America is an important region for us in which we want to grow strongly," Tesa CFO Jörg Diesfeld said in a statement. "To underscore this and align it with our sustainability goals, we have taken a strategic step in this direction with this major investment. We have the right experts on site and the necessary facilities to achieve sustainable success. The expansion is not only about strengthening our presence in North America, but also about strengthening our global footprint, emphasizing our technical development focus, and driving innovation forward."
The recent growth follows Tesa's previous $20 million investment in a 24,000-square-foot expansion in Sparta.