An operator monitors the production process via a computer screen. Machines require six to eight operators, carrying out tasks like unpacking and preparing materials, feeding materials into the machine, monitoring the process and conducting quality checks. Staff photo by Tom Russo
An operator monitors the production process via a computer screen. Machines require six to eight operators, carrying out tasks like unpacking and preparing materials, feeding materials into the machine, monitoring the process and conducting quality checks. Staff photo by Tom Russo
GREENFIELD — The next time you look at a label covering a bottle of your favorite beverage or a package outside your door, know there’s a good chance it started at a company with a growing presence in Greenfield.

Avery Dennison recently doubled the size of its plant in the city, driven by an increase in demand for the business’ self-adhesive labeling materials. The facility is the company’s largest in the world, where it uses a technology that’s evolved since its invention several decades ago.

Located at 870 Anderson Boulevard, the plant’s 300,000-square-foot expansion finished last year.

“It’s good for Greenfield because it means we are here to stay, and obviously we invested massively to make it happen,” said plant manager Rémi Osseni. “We’re pretty proud of that.”

With the structural expansion complete, the plant is now in the process of doubling the amount of equipment inside and looking to hire more employees to increase output and meet the company’s strong sales growth.

Avery Dennison’s Greenfield facility currently employs about 400.

The plant makes self-adhesive material — the base material for labels that customers use on their products.

That material consists of the face — the side the labels go on — with adhesive on the back, and liner protecting the adhesive. Rolls 78 inches wide and 20,000 to 40,000 feet long get shipped to printers, who print on the material, shape it and send it to their customers, who apply it to their own products.

Before the advent of self-adhesive material, labels were applied holding the label in one hand and glue in the other. Stan Avery put an end to that before starting Avery Adhesives in Los Angeles in 1935, which merged with Dennison Manufacturing in 1990. Machines in Avery Dennison’s Greenfield plant are hundreds of feet long. One end receives large master rolls of face material — a film or paper. The other end gets rolls of liner. Everything gets unwound in the machine, where adhesive is also applied to the face material, before it’s all wound back together into the final product.

“The process is pretty complicated,” Osseni said. “We have different steps in order to make sure everything works properly.”

Machines require six to eight operators, carrying out tasks like unpacking and preparing materials, feeding materials into the machine, monitoring the process and conducting quality checks.

The new equipment that’s filling the plant’s new space is faster and state-of-the-art, Osseni said.

“So it’s good for us, good for our customers,” he added.

Avery Dennison reports demand has been unprecedented this year.

“In fact, we have experienced six years’ growth in the span of one year,” the company told the Daily Reporter in an email, adding global sales were up about 12% from last year.

While the expansion was planned before the COVID-19 pandemic, Osseni believes the change in consumer habits it’s caused contributes to Avery Dennison’s increase in business.

“I don’t like to say that, because, to be honest, I would like to avoid this pandemic,” he said.

But more shipping labels are being used as shoppers visit stores less and businesses’ websites more.

Osseni thinks for many, that preference will persist after the pandemic is over.

“We are used to it now,” he said.

That’s part of the new habits we will keep.”

Osseni added that with more people returning to former social activities this summer as the pandemic appeared to wane, they bought more products for those events, many of which likely include labels, further impacting demand.

Additionally, the decline in the restaurant industry caused by the pandemic led to a drop in businesses buying less supplies in bulk, and more people buying their own smaller amounts of supplies, which, again, means more labels, Osseni said.
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