'Time was right' for firm to venture back into blown film.

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For the last 10 years or so, Bema Inc., Elmhurst, Ill., has focused on printing, opting to buy film from other producers. At NPE2012, however, Windmoeller & Hoelscher, Lincoln, R.I., announced that Bema became the first U.S. company to purchase an Optimex blown film line. The Optimex line was introduced by W&H in the fall of 2009 as a lower-cost alternative to its Varex products. Bema will use it for three-layer film at a new 70,000-ft² plant in St. Charles, Ill.

Extruding film is not altogether new to Bema (bemapolytech.com). When current owner Glen Galloway bought the company in the late 1990s, it was considered a pioneer in film extrusion. And while Galloway decided to focus on the printing end of the business, he says he “had always planned to get the company back into extrusion when the time was right.” Despite the new extrusion capacity, Bema will continue to purchase specialty films from the outside.