Massillon, Ohio-based flexible and protective packaging maker Polymer Packaging Inc. is expanding with a three-phase investment in machine purchases and a physical plant expansion due to heightened blown film demand from new and existing customers.
The first phase included the firm's initial launch of two blown film lines, a $10 million investment in its existing 100,000-square-foot facility, Larry Lanham, CEO and owner, told Plastics News in an emailed statement.
That facility, Lanham said, "was already set up with high bay, rail and electric to house up to a maximum of six extrusion lines."
Those two new lines are already in production, with a third expected to be up and running by the end of September, part of phase two, another $10 million investment, he said.
A fourth machine is scheduled to be delivered in January, President Chris Thomazin told Plastics News.
The third phase is a $7.5 million investment for a 100,000-square-foot building expansion and an additional $3 million infrastructure upgrade including additional rail siding, silos and increased chilling and electrical capacity.
It will allow for up to 12 new extrusion lines, Thomazin said, bringing the firm's total to 18.
"All of the wheels are in motion for a physical plant expansion," Eric Howard, Polymer Packaging's film and bag division president, told Plastics News. "We are currently in discussions regarding the fifth line, which may end up being a barrier line. We have room in the current facility for that equipment."
Polymer Packaging is currently in talks with builders and architects for its physical expansion, Thomazin said.
"We hope to have design work completed by the end of this year and are thinking that there might be a potential groundbreaking next summer," he said.
In 2018, the company hoped to identify target areas for growth for converter products like Inno-Lok pre-applied zipper products, stand-up pouching and several proprietary specialty film and bag products, Thomazin said.
"After surveying our existing printer and converter customers, as well as food packaging end users and distributors, we found a common theme indicating a need in the market for a highly flexible regional supplier of custom co-ex sealant films and bags," he said. "Our team kicked it around a bit and decided to move forward."
The three-layer Windmöller & Hölscher lines have widths up to 110 inches, Thomazin said. Polymer Packaging has also purchased three high-speed, individually cut Hudson Sharp bag machines with zipper attachments and perforated bags on a roll capability.
"We are very fortunate that we have experienced a great deal of growth over the last several months," he said. "We certainly understand all of the difficulty facing so many in the world today. We are very grateful that we have been able to create over 20 new jobs and currently are working to fill an additional 15-20 positions hopefully before the end of the year."
"One of the biggest challenges we have faced and certainly will continue to face is staffing with the right core value employees," Lanham said.