Klöckner Pentaplast (KP) rigid film producer has created 142 jobs as it expands into Asia, South America and Europe.
The company is investing $60.6m as part of its 2013 and 2014 expansion plans, which includes facilities in Suzhou, China; Cotia, Brazil; Newport/Crumlin, the UK and Santo Tirso, Portugal.
However, Nancy Ryan, group director, corporate communications, Klöckner Pentaplast told FoodProductionDaily the biggest challenge the industry faces is performance attributes of polyester films and the availability of adequate quantities of quality post-consumer recycled bottle flake.
“We see key trends in PCR (post-consumer recycled) containing material, reduction in thickness for material optimization and increasing barrier technology,” said Ryan.
“In the Americas, we see brand owners, retailers and consumers looking for increasing levels of recycled content in their packaging materials.
“Two challenges that come out of this trend are the performance attributes of polyester films and the availability of adequate quantities of quality post-consumer recycled bottle flake. That’s why KP developed the full line of SmartCycle polyester films for food and consumer packaging applications.”
She added in Europe, the key issues are the food contact regulations and the potential change to only EFSIS (European Food Safety Inspection Service) registered flake producers.
The EU Plastics Regulation (EU) 10/2011 (PIM) came into force on 1 May 2011 but will not become compulsory until 1 January 2016.
It introduces changes to regulations in Council Directive 82/711/EC, concerning testing conditions for migration of individual chemicals and in what can be used in the tests to simulate actual foods.
KP opened its first Chinese production site at Suzhou Industrial Park in July and the factory makes packaging films for the Chinese and Asian markets.
Shrink sleeve growth
The first phase of the project increased KP’s global shrink-films capacity by 6,600 metric tons to meet double-digit shrink-sleeve growth in Asia. The $30m investment has 76 employees.
It will also add start-up extrusion lines to its polyester films at its Newport/Crumlin, plant in the UK. The project is due for completion by July 2014 and will employ 15 additional staff.
In Spring 2013, it added 8,000 metric tons of polyester film capacity to its Santo Tirso, Portugal, manufacturing facility and invested in 1,200 metric tons of coating and laminating for Pentapharm alfoil PVdC-coated and Pentapharm Aclar-laminated packaging films to its Cotia (São Paulo), Brazil, factory.
KP’s PVC calendering capacity will now be increased by 12,000 metric tons to service the pharmaceutical, food, print, card, and general-purpose thermoforming markets with effect from June 2014 followed by matte calendering in November 2014.
The capacity complements the group’s existing film production at two facilities in Latin America, Villa del Totoral, Argentina, and Cotia, Brazil.
KP will be exhibiting at Pack Expo in Las Vegas next week and the CFIA show in February 2014.