Graphic Packaging International has made an investment in Newton that expands its workforce and streamlines its production process.
The company has installed a new $3.5 million machine in its smaller warehouse in Newton, which is located near the former Maytag Plant 2. The new machine has created 12 new positions to run the Marquip sheeter machine. The crew underwent a two-week training and safety course to get the new machine up and running.
GPI produces cartons for dry, frozen and refrigerated foods and has been in operation in Newton since 2011. It was originally a Walter G. Anderson plant until Graphic Packaging bought the business in 2016. The company prints the products on paperboard, diecast and glues the materials together to send to food companies to be filled.
Human resources manager Gayle Kingery said they get their paperboard from several different locations, including fellow Newton business Patriot Converting. With the new machine, they can now order the big rolls of paper board to be delivered on site. The new machine then cuts and shapes to the size of a specific product.
“We will take that directly over to our printing department. It cuts out one step in our process and will help us be more efficient,” Kingery said.
Despite the challenges that arose in 2020, Kingery said GPI was busier than ever with such a high demand for food products across the nation and worldwide. The new sheeter helps address efficiencies and at the same time brings growth to the Newton plant.
“Graphic Packaging is a global company, and it shows that they are willing to invest in Newton and continue to put resources here which is great news for the community because we will continue to add jobs,” Kingery said. “Our local workforce was excited about it just because it shows growth. It definitely helps you realize that it is a stable industry.”
The new machine has increased the Newton workforce to nearly 160 positions. GPI has invested in the Newton operation previously, completing a $20 million dollar expansion that was announced in the same year they purchased the Newton plant. GPI makes a range of products for many clients but some of their main customers are Kellogg’s and Digiorno’s Pizza.
Chances are, the next time you buy something at the grocery store it was printed by Graphic Packaging, and maybe some of those products will have been run through the new sheeter in Newton.