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Bloomer completes expansion, adds 9th production line

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Bloomer Plastics' Wisconsin plant has completed a $5 million expansion.

BLOOMER, Wis.—Bloomer Plastics Inc. completed a $5 million capacity expansion program designed to address strong demand for its polyolefin-based products.

The Wisconsin facility encompasses 80,000 square feet, and it added a ninth production line, allowing the firm to exceed 45 million pounds of total production per year, which includes engineered films for the high performance rubber, industrial, medical, automotive, agricultural and consumer market segments. Employment will rise from around 60 to 70-75, according to President and CEO Kevin Keneally.

The executive set an ambitious goal for the firm's future: He wants Bloomer Plastics to expand at a line per year starting in 2015.

“What we're doing is being pro-active, and we're adding capacity now before we encounter any significant service issues with our customer base,” Keneally said. “We're seeing robust demand for all of our custom design products.”

The expansion occurred in two phases, starting in the second quarter of 2013. First the firm went through and optimized all eight of its lines using Design of Experiments kaizen events and 5S projects. That phase ended in the third quarter of 2013. The second phase began at the end of 2013 when the firm added a ninth line, which it completed in April.

Keneally said Bloomer Plastics has been growing at about five times GDP over the last two years.

“We're not just expanding to get bigger,” Keneally said. “Each of our expansion products are tied to specific innovation initiatives. These are innovations where we think our products have a competitive advantage compared to the other guys.”

Bloomer serves 11 key markets, primarily the rubber, automotive, aerospace, medical and hygiene, construction, and packaging. Keneally said the firm is seeing significant growth in its polyvinyl chloride replacement applications as its customers are looking for more environmentally friendly markets.

Keneally said the firm can cross-qualify nearly every product on every line. The firm deals in carrier sheets, structural integrity sheets and adhesion layers, among other rubber products.