From The Pilot, 3/15/17
By: Laura Douglass, Staff Writer
New investments are defining the future for an Aberdeen-based manufacturer. “We are committed to growth,” said Satish Sharma, Reliance Packaging’s president and chief operating officer.
Located at the corner of N.C. 5 and Anderson Street, the company recently acquired a additional warehouse space that will free up square footage on Reliance’s production floor. A significant new financial investment in equipment with a second printing press and new extruder will allow Reliance to increase capacity and add jobs.
Sharma anticipates 16 new employees will keep pace on the company’s five lines.
In late 2014, Sharma relocated Reliance to the 4.7-acre site at the corner of N.C. 5 and Anderson Street. The property had previously accommodated a similar type of manufacturer but had sat empty for several years. Reliance invested six figures to make the building operational. Incentives from state and local grant funds provided funds to re-roof the structure, add a railroad spur line and create a customized job-training program through the North Carolina Community College System. Tax exemptions were applied towards the purchase of new machinery and equipment.
Four existing plastic extruders were rehabilitated and newer equipment was installed in a joint venture with Sigma Plastics Group, of Lyndhurst, N.J., which owns the property.
The business operates a three-part manufacturing process at the plant. Extrusion uses plastic pellets that are melted down to create film for thin-plastic mulch bags. An on-site printing press uses a water-based process on the film, and the final process converts the film and cuts the bags into the final product.
For now, demand has exceeded capacity. To fulfill customers’ needs, Reliance is supplementing its production line from other partners. By adding more space and with a $3 million investment in new equipment, Reliance can expand production from four to five lines.
“We are busting at the seams,” Sharma said. “Our current capacity is about 7 million pounds a year. We will expand to produce 20 millions pounds a year.”
The warehouse next door has sat dormant for five or six years and is in bad condition, he said. A new grant request, if approved, would help offset costs to re-roof the building. The economic incentive requires Reliance to hire 16 more employees.
“We intend to refurbish the building and enhance this area,” said Sharma. “We do have land where we could expand and constructing new was an option. But by buying the building next door, it brought us up an additional 9 acres and 116,000 square feet.”
“This really opens up the opportunity for expansion in the future. It will take a while to fully utilize that facility but we are looking ahead,” he added.
(Story & photo courtesy of The Pilot)