These economic times present manufacturers everywhere with a difficult road to navigate, a challenge that’s often complicated by a fork in the road: Join other companies across the landscape by hunkering down and letting the storm blow over? Or forge ahead down an untested path? Some converters nationwide have confidence in the road less traveled and are expanding some operations.

Harold Bevis, chief executive officer at Pliant Corp., announced earlier this summer that the company will not only be keeping its Dalton, Ga., manufacturing facility going, but the converter has plans to upgrade and expand it. Pliant originally announced in April 2008 that it would shutter the Dalton plant, but stabilizing market conditions, strong customer preference, and local and state incentives led the company to a reversal on its decision.

In the future, Pliant envisions the Dalton facility becoming a second Medical “Center of Excellence,” complimenting a Medical Center of Excellence under construction in Danville, Ky.

Spear Group Holdings has announced an expansion of its Mason, Ohio, production facility. The Mason plant, recently named the company’s “Narrow Web UV Center of Excellence,” will receive new printing presses, improved production flows and cosmetic upgrades. The expansion includes the addition of 30 jobs and will be completed by the end of the year.

Pliant Corp.