TC Transcontinental Packaging is adding to the company's West Coast manufacturing capacity through a $14 million expansion project for extrusion blown shrink wrap serving the beverage market.
The move at an existing company facility in Ontario, Calif., allows the flexible packaging company to provide "coast-to-coast" service to beverage customers as the new location complements existing manufacturing in Griffin, Ga., and Montreal.
"The one thing that we identified three years ago was that we were disadvantaged from a coast-to-coast perspective if you look at the competitive landscape," said Dustin Dyer, senior vice president of shrink and extrusion at TC Transcontinental Packaging.
The company, historically, has produced plastic industrial bags for markets that include insulation and salt packaging at the California location.
Adding the beverage shrink wrap capabilities allows TC Transcontinental to better compete on a national basis in that segment. "It gives us that coast-to-coast span. Puts us in a really nice competitive position," Dyer said.
TC Transcontinental pre-sold business on the new equipment to justify the investment, but Dyer indicated capacity remains. Having this capacity means TC Transcontinental also can seek business outside of beverage shrink wrap for the Ontario location, Dyer said. The plant also has additional space to install more equipment, if needed, in the future.
The company decided to move forward with the project early last year, just as the pandemic took hold.
"There are a lot of supply chain delays related to covid. This is right before covid shut everything down in California. One of the things we're pretty proud of is the success of being able to do this project and get these assets commissioned and operating through the middle of a pandemic," Dyer said. "It's quite an accomplishment for the team."
The work at the company's Ontario location includes a three-layer extrusion line as well as a flexographic 10-color wide web press. The new equipment has been running for about 45 days.
Key markets include bottled water, carbonated soft drinks, teas, juices and sports drinks, Dyer said.
TC Transcontinental also expects to take advantage of a growing trend of using post-consumer recycled plastic content in packaging with the new equipment, Dyer said.
"It really supports a couple of things with us. We want to grow. … We want to position ourselves as a high-quality, high-service leader that can offer sustainability solutions. Sustainability is at the core of everything that we're doing, and it drives our investments," Dyer said. "We make sure that when we are making our investments, we think about what's down the line for PCR [post-consumer recycled] films and make sure we buy assets that are capable of high percentages of PCR films."
The company already has produced shrink film with varying degrees of PCR content, up to 50 percent, on the new equipment.
TC Transcontinental has seen a shift in demand for PCR content in packaging over time.
"It's accelerating in the market. In the beginning it was a push. We were presenting the option for our customers. But now we are seeing a strong pull, not just from the big guys, but everybody. It seems to be across the entire network," Dyer said.
The company, based in Montreal, added 35 new jobs in Ontario because of the expansion.
The West Coast site will shorten delivery times, improve inventory management and reduce transit time. Reducing distribution miles also improves the company's environmental footprint, TC Transcontinental said.