Alliance Barrier Films working on expansion in Washington

Published on 12/2/2015

 

Less than two years ago Alliance Barrier Films was beginning operations off of Industrial Park Drive in Washington. Now the small start-up company is in the midst of an expansion that could double its operation.
“Things are going real well,” said Tom Huff with Alliance Barrier Films. “We’ve been running 24-7 for more than a few months. We are now able to scale up completely on our seven-layer line and as a result we’re putting in a new five-layer line.”
 
Alliance Barrier Films makes plastics for the packing industry. The company is investing at least $5 million into the new line that is now going into place. The line is expected to begin running in January and once it is up and running should add 12 to 15 jobs at the plant that currently employs around 20 people.
 
“We love it anytime a local business expands,” said Washington Mayor Joe Wellman. “This is good for the employment base, the community base and the tax base.”
 
Local leaders were hopeful the company would grow. When the Daviess County Economic Development Corp. built the plant that Alliance Barrier Films leases, the facility was made to accommodate four lines.
 
“We are tickled to death,” said Ron Arnold, with the DCEDC. “We had a new manufacturer come to town and say we are going to start with one line and when we sell it out, we will open the second. Our expectation was that maybe in year three they would start talking about the second line and year five the third. Based on what I’ve seen lines three and four will come more quickly than line two, based on his business model.”
 
Besides the new line going into the existing building, private developers are constructing a $2 million, 50,000 square foot warehouse adjacent to the Alliance Barrier Plant. Some of the space will be used for maintenance for equipment and lines, some used for storing and preparing finished rolls for shipment and some for specialty resins that are used to make the finished product.
 
“It is absolutely essential to have the warehouse to go with the new equipment,” said Huff. “With the new line coming on, the output will be twice what it was. All of the sudden you’ve got 3,000 pounds an hour coming off of the line. You need someplace to keep it until you can get it on a truck.”
 
One of the things Alliance Barrier Films had been doing was renting warehouse space away from the production facility. The warehouse is one item that may help the company cut costs.
 
“This will increase our efficiencies more than any of us are aware at this point,” said Huff. “It’s becoming really obvious as we sit down and see how this whole thing is coming together that the warehouse was absolutely essential.”
 
Rail siding
 
Daviess County and Washington officials are also supporting another project that should help the company. A new rail siding is under construction as part of a larger project to assist business and industry with transportation. The siding on the east side of Washington will give Alliance Barrier Films a way to get raw goods delivered directly to the company’s doorstep.
 
“I think the railroad is going to be a tremendous asset for us,” said Huff. “Right now we bring in our bulk resins by truck and there are additional expenses associated with that. When the rail is complete we’ll be able to bring rail cars here, and there won’t be the additional expense.”
 
“We love growth,” added Wellman. “We are certain this rail expansion will help Alliance Barrier Films, just like it can be a benefit to all or any business in Daviess County.”
 
Officials say they are currently working on a tax abatement for the project. Other than some seed money in the form of a loan from Radius Indiana, the company is funding the expansion on its own.
 
“They have arranged their own financing on the new line,” said Arnold. “We are putting out no cash. We are rooting them on.”
 
“We are very pleased to be able to contribute to the Alliance Barrier Films project,” said Becky Skillman with Radius Indiana. “Nothing makes us happier than a company that starts here, stays here and grows here. The continued expansion means more jobs for southern Hoosiers. We don’t often see companies expand at warp speed like this company has.”
 
The growing firm still has room at its facility to expand even more.
 
“We don’t do anything on a speculative basis around here,” said Huff. “We feel like we have a very good business model. We’ve got a solid business plan. We’ve got a very good customer base. We’ve got enough things going on that we are planning additional capacity in the future.”
 
© 2015 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. - Washington Times Herald

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