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Lehigh Valley Packaging Company for Life Sciences Industry Completes $45 Million Expansion

By Colin McEvoy on July 7, 2016

Sharp Packaging Solutions has purchased and renovated a 112,000 square-foot building on Penn Am Drive in Upper Macungie Township.

Sharp Packaging Solutions has purchased and renovated a 112,000 square-foot building on Penn Am Drive in Upper Macungie Township. (courtesy photo)

A global market-leading packaging company for the life sciences industry has increased its packaging capacity by 30 percent as the result of a $45 million expansion at its Upper Macungie Township facility.

Sharp Packaging Solutions purchased and renovated a 112,000 square-foot building adjacent to its existing 270,000 square-foot contract packaging facilities at 7451 and 7529 Keebler Way, marking the company’s third expansion at the Lehigh Valley campus since 2014.

Initial estimates say the project will result in the hiring of 25 to 50 new employees, but that number could grow to more than 150 workers in the future, company spokesman Bob Macadangdang said. Sharp Packaging Solutions’ total Lehigh Valley workforce is about 580 full-time employees and 200 temporary workers, with the potential to increase even further.

The expansion was completed in April, according to the company, and commercial packaging activities commenced in June.

The decision to undertake this project was fueled by the increasing industry demand for contract packaging services of bottled and blister-packed pharmaceutical products business, coupled with the explosive growth of specialty product and biologic package outsourcing.

“Customers with specialty drugs and biologics require complex equipment,” said Doug Hill, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Sharp Packaging Solutions. “We have customers with vials that need labeling and serialization, syringes with a label pack-out, oral thin film strips and then those with automatic, self-injected devices requiring special assembly. With our new facility, we have the dedicated space to meet the most demanding requirements.”

An interior shot of the production hallway at the new Sharp Packaging Solutions building. (courtesy photo)

An interior shot of the production hallway at the new Sharp Packaging Solutions building. (courtesy photo)

In addition to this expansion project, Sharp Packaging Solutions previously opened its contract packaging building at 7529 Keebler Way in 2014, as well as a technical warehouse and office sutie facility in 2014 at 7530 William Avenue.

Life science research and manufacturing has been identified by Atlanta-based Garner Economics as one of the four target optimal target sectors of the Lehigh Valley economy, along with high performance manufacturing, food and beverage processing, and high value business services.

Several site-specific characteristics of the Lehigh Valley economy made the life sciences industry a target sector, according to Garner, including its central location, proximity to major U.S. Northeast markets, well-developed transportation infrastructure, availability of adequate water and sewer lines, strong existing local pool of high-demand occupations, and more.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) recently released a new video focused on the region’s life science research and manufacturing industry, part of a series of videos about the Lehigh Valley’s target sectors, entrepreneurial community, and redevelopment projects.

The new Sharp Packaging Solutions contract packaging facility, located on Penn Am Drive, is devoted to specialty and biologic product packaging, as well as cold chain and serialization capabilities, according to the company.

The building was purchased in 2014, and interior construct was completed earlier this year, after which Sharp relocated its existing specialty and biologic packaging lines from its Keebler Way plant to the new center. This will open up additional packaging equipment for bottling at the Keebler Way facility by September 2016.

Sharp Packaging Solutions also installed 2° to 8° Celsius cold storage to house 600 pallets in the new facility, doubling its total refrigeration capacity, and invested in additional packaging and serialization equipment.

In operation for nearly 60 years, Sharp Packaging Solutions is known throughout the industry for its ability to design and engineer customer packaging solutions while maintaining the highest quality and service. In addition to the Lehigh Valley, the company has locations in Conshohocken, Pa.; Belgium, and the Netherlands.

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This story first appeared in the second issue of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development magazine, a publication developed by LVEDC and Journal Communications. This m[...]

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