will invest more than $20 million over the next two years, increasing manufacturing capacity in 2010 and 2011. David L. DeVoll, VP and commercial director for substrates at MonoSol told PlasticsToday that the company is making improvements and adding equipment at all production sites to boost capacity output and “stay ahead of ever-increasing worldwide demand for our soluble films and solutions.” While he declined to reveal exact capacity, DeVoll did say that the company is in a “significant, global expansion mode,” and that in percentage terms, output at the LaPorte site will at least double over the next two years.
The company, which has its headquarters in Merrillville, IN, operates manufacturing facilities in Portage and LaPorte, IN, as well as Hartlebury, England. This expansion will occur at its 16-acre LaPorte site. The company says the expansion is being driven by increased demand for its unit dose packaging, composite fabricating, and TerraLOC dust-abatement product.
Last year, the company invested $11 million into the LaPorte manufacturing site, adding film production lines and pilot-testing laboratories. In 2005, the company moved its headquarters from Portage to Merrillville, with the new site offering greater room for R&D. In 2004, it acquired British firm Aquafilm, and expanded its manufacturing, adding a blown-film extrusion line to that site’s existing production footprint, increasing capacity to meet growing demand for water soluble laundry bags as well as detergent and packaging films.
In March of this year, the company launched MonoPol: a water-soluble polymer manufactured in pellet form and based on polyvinyl alcohol that can be used in injection molding, blowmolding, rotational molding, extrusion, and thermoforming. The MonoPol pellets can be formulated to be cold water-soluble down to 5°C, or hot water-soluble to 80°C, with two different degrees of stiffness. In addition to water-solubility, MonoSol says MonoPol offers excellent gas barrier, a unique surface texture, biodegradability, and antistatic properties.
DeVoll said MonoPol is currently produced at the company’s Hartlebury, UK site but can be manufactured at its Indiana operations as well. “Interest in the product has been very high with several active development programs in the pipeline,” DeVoll said. “This unique platform is still very new and we believe the interest will only grow faster as the awareness of the product becomes more widespread.” —Tony Deligio