Klöckner Pentaplast invests $25m in US for medical packaging

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Photo by Klöckner Pentaplast Klöckner Pentaplast anticipates growth in blister packaging.

Increased business opportunities thanks to America's aging population are spurring a multimillion-dollar expansion at a plastic film packaging site in Virginia.

Trang Tilley, global marketing director at Klöckner Pentaplast Group, said her company's new $25m (€22m) project in Gordonsville, Virginia, should be operational during the second half of 2020.

"The expansion is going to include adding technologies to our lamination and coating [operations] to further support the pharmaceutical and medical device markets," Tilley said.

The addition of new coating and lamination technology and lines will require additional space, but Tilley did not have exact details on the square-footage expansion ​during an 18 Jan interview.

"We're always looking at megatrends in the market to see what's driving blister packaging and what's driving medical device packaging," Tilley said. "As you look at the aging population, more people are getting sick. That's what's really driving the demand for blister packaging."

A "growing demand around high-barrier needs" for more sophisticated drugs is convincing the company to make the investment, she said.

"On the medical device side, it's all about protection. We're seeing higher-value categories within the medical device side, such as orthopedics," she said.

Klöckner Pentaplast expects to add about 34 jobs by the time the expansion is completed. That's on top of the 700 or so workers already at the facility.

The new project is taking place in the KP Pharma & Medical Device Division. The work will allow for the production of the company's Pentapharm and Pentamed brands of packaging films in Gordonsville, located about 80 miles northwest of Richmond.

Klöckner Pentaplast is a global film company with operations in North America and South America as well as Europe, Asia and Australia.

"Plastics manufacturing companies represent one of Louisa County's strongest industry sectors, and we are delighted that Klöckner Pentaplast has chosen to expand their manufacturing operation in Louisa County," Toni Williams, Louisa County Board of Supervisors chairman, said in a statement.

Klöckner Pentaplast first came to Louisa County in 1979 when the company began its first US-based manufacturing operation.

The firm will receive a $300,000 (€264,000) grant from the Virginia investment performance programme. That programme incentivises companies to make capital improvements at existing operations.

The company also will be eligible for sales and use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment, the state said.

Klöckner Pentaplast has more than 6,300 workers at 61 locations in 18 countries. That includes 35 production sites.

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