Polyplex USA LLC is more than doubling the space at its plant in Decatur, Ala., to add a second biaxially oriented PET film line as part of a $102.8 million expansion project.
Construction is to begin in the first half of next year, adding 200,000 square feet to the 180,000-square-foot plant. The second line is expected to start production by the end of 2022.
Polyplex claims the new, 10.6-meter (34.8-foot) line will be the world's highest-output BOPET film line, with annual installed capacity of 110 million pounds and a speed of 650 meters (2,133 feet) per minute. It will handle thicknesses of 0.36 mil to 3 mils.
The line is from Lindauer Dornier GmbH of Lindau, Germany, as is Polyplex's existing, 8.7-meter (28.5-foot) line, which runs at 500 meters (1,640 feet) per minute.
"There have been no major investments made in [the U.S.] in this industry over the last four years and no known upcoming [expansion in] capacities," Polyplex noted in a news release. Boosting U.S. capacity should increase the company's market share and mitigate the risk of trade barriers given the "increased protectionist outlook." It also cited geopolitical uncertainties, COVID-19 supply disruptions and potential supply chain logistical challenges as reasons for the expansion.
"Polyplex's cost structure will be more effective with a two-line configuration along with captive resin manufacturing and metalizing. This move will [reduce] the overall unit cost significantly and [make] the company more competitive in the region — ultimately pivoting Polyplex USA into a market leadership position in the United States."
The project will include new warehouse space, and debottlenecking that will boost captive resin production at the plant from 127.9 million pounds a year to almost 190 million pounds.
Directors of parent company Polyplex Thailand Public Co. Ltd. in Bangkok approved the investment Sept. 29. In recent months, the board has approved small investments at its operations in Thailand, Indonesia and Turkey.