London-based film manufacturer Klöckner Pentaplast Group is expanding in the North American pharmaceutical packaging market.
Klöckner is breaking ground on a large expansion to its existing barrier film facility in central Virginia, the company announced June 1.
The multi-million dollar investment will increase the facility's capacity by 6,000 metric tons annually and add coating capabilities to manufacture pharmaceutical films. The project will be operational at the end of 2021.
Klöckner placed No. 15 in a recent Plastics News ranking of film and sheet manufacturers with estimated North American sales of $590 million.
More advancements for coating will allow Klöckner to up production on high-barrier solutions in the medical market.
The project began as a way to "both innovate and meet or exceed current industry standards," said Peter Schmitt, managing director at Montesino Associates LLC in Wilmington, Del.
"It is interesting to contemplate the timing," he said. "Klöckner Pentaplast remains the only pharmaceutical films coating operation in the U.S. and this expansion in capacity may fit well with the current trend to source materials in and bring back pharmaceutical manufacturing back to the U.S."
"Sensitive pharmaceuticals must be protected from moisture and oxygen, which is the hallmark of our coating technology," Tracey Peacock, president of Klöckner's pharmaceutical, health and specialties division, said in a news release.
The company also has a nearby innovation hub, dubbed the "kp i.center" in Charlottesville, N.C., which will help its customers get new barrier protection films to market faster.
Klöckner previously announced expansions in Switzerland and Brazil.
Plastics News Editor Don Loepp contributed to this report.