Ball, the multinational food and beverage packaging provider, has said it is investing approximately $43 million (€43.3m) to expand its existing Milwaukee metal beverage container plant to install a new, high-speed food can line and build a 225,000-square-foot warehouse addition.
About 50 new jobs will be created at the facility, which currently employs approximately 140 people.
The expansion follows the recent signing of a long-term supply agreement with Abbott Laboratories' Ross Products Division. Under the agreement, Ball will supply two-piece metal food cans to Abbott and Abbott will exit a portion of its current metal container self-manufacturing operations.
Construction on the Milwaukee warehouse addition is already underway and is scheduled for completion early next year. Equipment for the new food can line has been ordered and start-up is also expected early next year. The line's capacity is 1.2 billion recyclable steel cans annually.
"The new line will increase Ball's two-piece food can capacity and will complement our existing two-piece food can lines in our plants in Findlay, Ohio, and Whitby, Ontario," said Leon Midgett, Ball's chief operating officer, packaging. "The three locations will enable us to more efficiently supply our Midwestern food can customers."
Ball's Milwaukee facility began operations in 1974 as part of the Miller Brewing Can Division. The facility was acquired by Ball Corporation in August of 1998. It currently occupies 280,000 square feet and manufactures two-piece beverage cans, primarily for beer and soft drink customers.
Ball Corporation is one of the world's leading suppliers of metal and plastic packaging to the beverage and food industries. The company also owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies. Ball reported 2001 sales of $3.7 billion, of which approximately $3.3 billion came from its packaging segment and $400 million from its aerospace and technologies segment.