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Reliance Packaging Plans to Expand

An Aberdeen company that takes tiny plastic pellets and creates packaging plans to expand its operations for the second time in the last six years.

Reliance Packaging, LLC held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday to celebrate purchasing a $3 million printing press and announce expansion plans.

Reliance produces, prints and distributes plastic packaging. Jill Cort, with customer service, said it begins with plastic pellets brought in on railroad cars. The pellets undergo an extrusion process that melts and shapes the plastic pieces into a film. The film is then printed and developed into bags, like those used for garden soil, mulch and other landscaping products.

The new Windmöeller and Höelscher Miraflex II Press is flexographic, using polymer-based plates rather than etched metal plates for transferring designs. The press can print up to eight different colors for one product.

Andrew Wheeler, president of Windmöeller and Höelscher, said the press could process up to 1,300 feet of plastic per minute. An entire roll of plastic, just under 7,000 feet long and 800 pounds, can be printed in about six minutes — almost three times faster than the old presses.

Satish Sharma, president of Reliance, said the new press will allow the company to provide “customers with consistency and dependability.” It increases the company’s productivity, printing faster than plastic can be manufactured, spurring the need to expand and buy additional extrusion equipment.

“We have expansion plans to double our capacity in the next two years. We’re going to add at least 40 new employees, and we want them to be skilled positions,” Sharma said. “We’re going to offer apprenticeships that will train people over a period of 12 months to be skilled press operators and extrusion operators. And we believe it’s a great opportunity for those people to become skilled employees.”

Executive Director of Moore County Partners in Progress Natalie Hawkins said the company’s expansion and apprentice opportunities are a “sign that our local economy is strong.”

“This is one of many expansions we’re seeing these days. We have Bulldog Pipe coming into town. We’re working with companies all over the county that are in expansion mode, and again, I think that’s just a sign of the times that we’re (the county) in good shape,” Hawkins said.

Reliance last expanded in 2018 by adding a five-story extruder, which helped double its previous production capacity. The company employs around 65 people, but the new growth will bring that total to over 100.

Mayor Robbie Farrell also attended the ribbon cutting and shared the town’s excitement for the company.

“The Town of Aberdeen and I are especially happy to know that he’s expanding. This is a success story, for not only Aberdeen and for his company, but also Moore County,” Farrell said. “He continues to grow, and he continues to add employees, which is what we would really like to see happening in our area.”

The company relocated from Florida to Aberdeen in 2014. Its facility, located at the corner of Anderson Street and N.C. 5, was previously used for similar manufacturing but had been empty for several years. It was purchased and outfitted jointly by Reliance and Sigma Plastics Group.

Article by Ana Risano, The Pilot

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