Vendor News: Alcoa Flexible Packaging Expands Downingtown Plant

Alcoa Flexible Packaging (Pittsburgh, Pa.), a packaging and consumer business unit within Alcoa Inc. is consolidating its custom thermoforming operations into a new pharmaceutical and medical packaging center at its Downingtown, Pa. location. Existing medical thermoforming operations will be relocated from Wheaton, Ill. and Cumberland, R.I. and those facilities will be closed.

"Consolidating the majority of our custom thermoforming equipment in one location positions us to grow our existing medical and retail packaging business and better serve customers in all of our markets," said Bimal Kalvani, Alcoa Flexible Packaging president. "This move will allow Alcoa to invest in a new, medical packaging industry standard Class 100,000 Clean Room within a plant that already has an established track record servicing the pharmaceutical community as well as other key markets."
The Downingtown packaging facility will host the business unit's technical thermoforming processes in a newly constructed Class 100,000 clean room environment. Because Alcoa's custom thermoformed medical packaging is used for medical devices, surgical kits, surgical and medical procedure trays, diagnostic kits and implant trays, the Class 100,000 Clean Room ensures that the strictest cleanliness processing methods are available when manufacturing packaging for these types of medical products.

"The decision to close any operation is difficult," said Kalvani. "However, concentrating our existing custom thermoforming capabilities within the Northeastern corridor -- in a facility that has the necessary disciplines associated with manufacturing pharmaceutical and medical packaging -- will allow us to serve our customer base and remain an industry leader in service and innovation."

Consolidation of the thermoforming operations will affect 120 employees in Illinois and 72 in Rhode Island. The Downingtown, Pa. facility will add 140 employees to operate the relocated equipment, bringing total employment there to approximately 340. Production at both Wheaton and Cumberland will continue into the second quarter of 2006 to ensure that all existing customers' needs are met during relocation of the thermoforming equipment.

The Downingtown Packaging Plant provides printed blister lidding material for many major pharmaceutical drug manufacture, and it will continue to be a major supplier of printed shrink sleeves, confectionery and other food-related packaging.

Source: Alcoa Flexible Packaging

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