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The Sigma Plastics Group in Lyndhurst, New Jersey has a shining star in the south-west side of the Lehigh Valley.
Filmtech, an Allentown manufacturer of agricultural film and hygiene products, is part of Sigma’s 36-plant organization of industry- related businesses located throughout North America.
Filmtech is garnering attention because it is on the cusp of increasing capacity by 60%.You might be thinking what kind of manufacturer dares to challenge the odds in today’s ailing economy?
The answer has something to do with the uniqueness of a high-demand product for farmers and everything to do with Earl Jaskol, Filmtech’s founder and president, who is aggressively installing multi-million dollar equipment and increasing his workforce.
To understand Jaskol’s ambition and Filmtech’s projected growth spurt amidst a national downturn in manufacturing, all you need to do is take a look at our food chain. There’s a good chance that the tomato on the salad you ate this week was grown by Florida farmers who used Filmtech’s Grozone brand mulch. This sophisticated product is one of the new VIF (virtually impenetrable film) mulch products on the market today which actually enables farmers to use fewer fumigant applications.
And that’s just the beginning of the company’s contribution to a greener and healthier planet. Filmtech’s goal is the reclamation of 100% of its scrap. In addition, Jaskol’s firm is introducing products that are biodegradable which means that farmers don’t have to pick them up at the end of the season.
Filmtech was originally founded in 1985 in Easton. Jaskol moved the operation to Allentown in 1999 to access rail siding. The last five years have been hectic but the company’s growth has literally exploded since early 2009. Later on this year, when a new line and upgrades to other lines are fully operational, Filmtech’s production capacity is expected to increase 90%.
“We’re overloaded and short-staffed and our current office space is temporary,” cites Earl. “In March, we achieved record-breaking sales and our summer production will most likely eclipse that.”
Parent company Sigma Plastics, financially the soundest of its peers in the flexible film and bag peer group, has made this growth possible. All 36 locations combined used over 1.5 billion pounds of resin in 2009. The company has over 60 million pounds of combined silo storage and its rail sidings hold over 200 rail cars. Today, Sigma Plastics is the number one producer of stretch film in the United States and is a leader in the production of several other types of commodity film and bags. Filmtech’s product line and the company’s affiliation with The Sigma Plastics Group have clearly put this Allentown operation on the map.
Filmtech is upgrading its plant to a state-of-the-art facility and is putting in place a dynamic staff to be a quality producer in the 21st Century. Sixty percent growth is just the beginning.