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MWV unveils packaging materials and technologies R&D pilot plant

Packaging giant MWV has opened a pilot plant dedicated to research and development for packaging materials and technologies. A key component of MWV's Center for Packaging Innovation (CPI), the pilot plant is a 48,000 sq-ft facility located in Eastern Henrico, VA. In 2010, MWV decided to move the CPI and pilot plant, from Raleigh, NC to the company's headquarters in Richmond, VA. MWV invested more than $13 million in infrastructure and equipment to establish the pilot plant in Eastern Henrico.

Scott Openshaw, manager of corporate communications at MWV, told PlasticsToday the decision to move operations allowed the company to double the size of the pilot plant and expand its capabilities.

"Our experience locating our headquarters here was so positive, it made bringing the CPI and pilot plant here an easy decision for us," he said. "With size and capabilities nearing commercial scale, the facility enables MWV to tackle bolder innovation projects by helping to minimize development risk."

The pilot plant plays a key role in the company's development of new products and technologies to address industry needs, and helps global brand owners achieve speed to market with its products in geographies around the world, according to the news release.

The MWV pilot plant features 32-ft ceilings, 10 loading bay doors, and five labs consisting of materials and metallurgy engineering, TAPPI conditioned materials testing, polymers and packaging, paper science, and coating. Its capabilities include: polymer compounding and characterization, metallurgy and corrosion analysis, coatings and materials testing, form/fill/seal machines, die-cutting, plastic and paperboard thermoformers, and injection molding.

"Its size, scale, and capabilities help differentiate us in the marketplace," Openshaw said. "I'd be extremely surprised if anyone else in our sector could claim a facility this comprehensive with the ability to engage in larger scale testing all under one roof."

The company spent about $47 million on research and development in 2011, according to financial reports. It had $6.06 billion in sales in 2011.

TAGS: Packaging
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