Arlington, Texas – US-based packaging company American Excelsior is investing in new equipment for foam processing at three locations across the country.
Plants in Norwalk, Ohio, West Chicago, Illinois, and Sheboygan, Wisconsin will all have upgrades. This part of a $5m plan to expand production in the company's wood fibre and flexible foam divisions.
Terry Sadowski, the company's president, said coronavirus had helped the company to accelerate investments it planned at the start of 2020. 'The terrible pandemic has caused some markets to grow while other falter,’ he said. ‘We have had the good fortune of seeing stronger market demands for many of our products.’
Increased demand mean more work, Sadowski added. ‘[The plant expansions will] create from 25 to 30 new jobs and opportunities for our current associates,' he said.
Ken Starrett, VP of sales and marketing, said that the company's flexible foam division would get a 330 ton die press for PU in West Chicago. A PE laminator and a cutter-sheeter are being installed at Norwalk, and Sheboygan is scheduled to gain a new PE laminator.
Starrett declined to give details of suppliers, but promised more investment. 'This is the first phase… more is expected later. Jobs will be spread across all locations,' he said.
He confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic has helped the company. 'We've been going full-bore,' he said, citing growth in all three of the company's divisions, wood fiber, flexible foam and erosion control.
'We had to move up our supply of PU components for the medical sector,' he said. American Excelsior has been supplying parts for face masks and bracing components.
Speaking in a telefoam interview he added: 'The biggest problem is finding the right people. Our plant in Texas has been trying to put on a second shift for several months.' However, he said, the company is having trouble attracting suitable talent.
Turning to the investments announced so far, Starrett said: 'We have more than 400 people in the company. It is good to give them some good news.'