Ballantyne of Omaha, Inc. (NYSE Amex: BTN), a provider of cinema equipment and services, today outlined investments it is making to expand its cinema screen manufacturing capacity at its Strong/MDI Screen Systems, Inc. subsidiary, based in Joliette, Quebec, Canada. The expansion effort, which began in the latter half of 2008 and will continue through 2009, is focused on expanding plant capacity and productivity, as well as improving production methods to further enhance screen quality. With the conclusion of the plant expansion program, Strong/MDI expects it will have tripled its production capacity.
Chris D. Stark, Vice President of Strong/MDI, commented, “With the rapid growth in 3-D and large-format cinema programming, we have been experiencing a substantial increase in demand for the specialty screens these formats require. With over 30 years in the cinema screen business, Strong/MDI has developed a state-of-the-art, innovative line of products that are well respected within the cinema industry. To remain at the cutting edge of technology, quality and service to meet the demands of digital cinema, we have been making investments in personnel, facilities and equipment. These investments should position us well to maintain our leadership position in the anticipated growth in our industry.”
Since its purchase in October 2007, the Strong/MDI facility has undergone a major upgrade program to better support a variety of cinema screen production activities including specialty “silver” and large-format screens which are experiencing strong industry demand. The plant is currently in the final stages of implementing a U.S. $600,000 capital improvement project to include the addition of perforating equipment, PVC welders and enhanced painting technology. In addition, the plant is adding to its humidity and temperature control capabilities to provide unparalleled quality control tied to its manufacturing process. Strong/MDI has also substantially increased its painting capacity in the past year and these final enhancements, coupled with staff additions, will further increase overall painting capacity.