Amcor Flexibles' new plant in Ireland will print and make pouches.

Converters expanding despite economic uncertainty

Amid a down economic environment, some converters continue to increase and expand their operations.

Accutech Films recently installed a 7-layer line from Gloucester Engineering Co. in its Coldwater, Ohio, plant, adding to its coextrusion and specialty film production capability and bringing the number of production lines up to 15. The newly expanded Ohio complex ships products to clients in North America, Europe and Africa, and Accutech expects to double its size within five years.

Additionally, Curwood Inc., a division of Neenah, Wis.-based Bemis Co., is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2008 and has announced plans to expand its Freemont, Ohio, operations. The company notes that growth in existing product lines as well as new developments and productions require additional space, and the Freemont plant’s safety performance and positive workforce attitude made it the top choice for the company’s expansion.

Not to be outdone, Amcor Flexibles, a division of Amcor, opened a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at AF Sligo, Ireland. The facility covers 25,000 square feet and has new printing, pouch making and slitting equipment in a classified cleanroom manufacturing environment on a greenfield site, the company notes.

The up-and-down economic climate is making for a rocky road to growth, but these expansions, says Steve Mogenson, president of Allied Development Corp., are indicative of a small growth trend of the increased need for barrier packaging.

“[These trends] are driven by how people are packaging their products [today],” Mogenson explains. “There is more activity and more sophisticated packaging because companies are demanding better tasting products, more convenient products, or fresher products, so for all of those things you have to have more sophisticated packaging. Those are the trends that I think are driving these kinds of expansions.”

Allied Development Corp.
952-898-2000; www.allied-dev.com

Alcan sale nearing

The sale of Montreal-based Alcan Packaging may be coming to a conclusion. According to a brief on Plasteurope, a second round of bidding was due to close on September 30, though it may go longer due to the shaky economic climate. While estimated numbers for the sale of packaging giant Alcan are hovering around the $6 billion mark, Stefano Bertolli, director, Media Relations for Alcan, told our editors, “Our priority is to maximize value for our shareholders, and we have a number of processes that are ongoing. We are not providing any details of timetables or interested parties for individual assets.”

As noted in the Packaging Strategies newsletter (www.packstrat.com), there are a few major companies looking into buying Alcan, including Amcor Flexibles and Bemis, and should the sale of Alcan be completed this year, “the deal would shake up a flexible packaging segment in need of consolidation.”

Four flexible packaging printers earned awards from the Gravure Association of America.

Gravure printing awards announced

The Gravure Association of America has announced the winners of its Golden Cylinder Awards. Entries were judged on the best examples of gravure printing over the past year, and award categories encompassed three segments of gravure’s capabilities as a printing process: packaging, product and publication. The association received nearly 100 entries in this year’s competition which were judged by eight gravure specialists.

In the flexible packaging/film category, the winners were Innovative Packaging Solutions, for its “popchips,” and Fres-co System USA, for its 10-ounce Green Mountain Single Origin.

In the film labels/wrappers category, the winners were Seal-It, Div. of Printpack, for Argo Labs Naturally, and SleeveCo Inc., for Noble 100% Pure Tangerine Juice.

News Briefs

Plastics show set for June
NPE2009, the American plastics industry’s largest trade show, will take place June 22-26, 2009, at Chicago’s McCormick Place. It will feature major suppliers of primary processing and auxiliary equipment systems, machine components, resins, compounds, additives, fillers, reinforcements and more. Registration is now open. For more information, call 202-296-7243 or visit www.npe.org.

EskoArtwork hires new American head
Mark Quinlan has been hired as president of the North American division of EskoArtwork, a supplier of pre-production and collaboration software for packaging buyers, designers and manufacturers. Quinlan had worked for 30 years at NPR Corp., where his last position was vice president for business development.

KECO expands plant in N.C.
KECO Coatings has completed the first phase of expansion to its facility in Statesville, N.C., acquired with its purchase of Teknix Powder Coating in December 2007. The 6,000-square-foot expansion and new equipment will allow KECO to apply Teflon coatings as well as its signature Kephos process.

Flexo and gravure companies team up
Flexographic prepress company OEC Graphics and rotogravure prepress/engraving company WRE/ColorTech have formed an integrated partnership. This will give OEC Graphics’ packaging customers a direct link to WRE’s gravure engraving expertise, while WRE’s customers will have access to OEC’s photopolymer sleeves, digital flexographic plates and other products.

Diversapack gets a new partner
The Kristel family has replaced Printpack as the major partner in Diversapack LLC, a supplier of flexible packaging materials and a contract manufacturer to major consumer products companies. Diversapack, a minority-owned business enterprise, has revenues of approximately $70 million and operates four manufacturing facilities in three states.

Team offers fast mass serialization
Videojet Technologies and three industry partners-Label Vision Systems; Mark Andy; and Roberts PolyPro, a division of Pro Mach-are now offering IMprints For Converters, the first complete coding and verification solution for the converter industry. Developed in response to California ePedigree regulations for the pharmaceutical industry, IMprints allows converters to achieve mass serialization at up to 967 feet per minute.

P-S labels made with top color-matching
Avery Dennison, EskoArtwork and ExxonMobil Chemical have teamed up to offer improved color matching for digital pressure-sensitive labels. EskoArtwork’s PacVantage color-proofing software can now be used on Avery-Dennison’s self-adhesive rollstock made from ExxonMobil’s Digilyte polyolefin films.

Sigmala hires new U.S. head
Dave Rumson has been hired to head the U.S. division of Sigmala Ltd. He will help introduce Sigmala’s SL50 Knife Holder, which uses servo motors in place of mechanics or hydraulics.

drupa gets new president
Martin Weickenmeier, chief executive officer of Körber PaperLink GmbH, has been elected president of drupa for the 2012 show. drupa, held in Düsseldorf, Germany, is the leading European trade show for the converting industry.

Pregis opens new R&D center
Flexible packaging supplier Pregis Corp. has opened an Innovation Center in Deerfield, Ill., near Chicago. This will be the base for Pregis’ development of new products and custom solutions for specific customer applications.

Website offers info on adhesives
The Adhesive and Sealant Council has gone online with a new educational website. Engineers, designers, architects and others who want information on adhesives and sealants can access www.adhesives.org.

ID Technology hires new director
ID Technology has appointed Patrick Butson as director of operations, converting group. ID Technology designs, manufactures and integrates custom identification systems, and furnishes labeling, coding and marking equipment, expertise, service and supplies.