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Tetra Pak continues to expand

Sunday, September 10, 2006

(Photo)
Michael J. Tomaszewski, plant manager for Tetra Pak in Sikeston, left, shows Ed Dust, director of the Sikeston Department of Economic Development, the plate maker.
SIKESTON -- The future continues to look bright for Tetra Pak's carton production plant in Sikeston.

"The business continues to grow in terms of complexity and Tetra Pak has shown over and over its commitment to making this facility successful," said Michael J. Tomaszewski, plant manager for Tetra Pak in Sikeston.

Since 2003, Tetra Pak Materials has been shifting more and more of its production to its Sikeston plant with the closure of facilities elsewhere beginning with a plant in Pomona, Calif., in 2003, followed by the Naucalpan, Mexico, plant in 2004 and its Fort Wayne, Ind., plant last year.

While some of the production was moved to Tetra Pak's plant in Vancouver, Wash., "the largest majority of that work has been moved into this plant," Tomaszewski said.

To handle all the additional production shifted here over the last three years, the plant has expanded from 65 employees in 2003 to 143 today.

"So we continue to grow," Tomaszewski said. "Business has continued to grow for the Sikeston plant."

The company was started in Sweden by Reuben Rausing in the early 1950s, according to Tomaszewski.

"Tetra Pak primarily started with milk cartons," Tomaszewski said. The paper cartons are now produced to hold a variety of products in addition to milk and juices from BBs for BB guns to grout as well as food products such as cole slaw, potato salad and diced onions.

The Sikeston plant produces cartons from as small as 4 ounces to as large as a liter.

"We ship all over the United States and to Mexico and Canada," Tomaszewski said.

Tetra Pak is one of only three paper carton producers in the nation. While cartons are a secondary product for the other two companies, "cartons are a core business for Tetra Pak," he said.

Tetra Pak's Sikeston plant now manufactures 29 different products which go out to approximately 55 different customers.

The Sikeston plant is continuing to make improvements to facilitate its growth, the most recent improvement being enhancements to its printing plate room.

Tomaszewski explained the Sikeston plant is moving to a digital process for the production of film for the printing plates.