Workers put the finishing touches on signage at the new North American headquarters for Sorma USA in Visalia, Calif.
Workers put the finishing touches on signage at the new North American headquarters for Sorma USA in Visalia, Calif.

To better serve a growing North American customer base, Sorma USA built a new 40,000-square-foot facility in Visalia, Calif. The company plans an open house Nov. 2.

The company is a division of the Sorma Group of Italy and specializes in packing equipment and packaging for the fresh produce industry. Its new North American headquarters not only provides office space for administration and sales staff, it is a packaging manufacturing plant and printing plant, said chief executive officer Marco Bini.

Bini said the company selected Visalia partly because of its proximity to growing regions and partly because of the availability of modern infrastructure and a skilled labor pool. When the plant is in full swing, machinery destined for packing operations in the U.S., Mexico and Canada will be manufactured there.

Sorma USA builds new facility, adds staffUltimately, Bini said, the facility will employ about 35 workers. He said as part of Sorma’s commitment to its new hometown it is establishing the Sorma Academy, a training lab designed to train future technicians.

“We are very happy to be in Visalia and we want to be part of the community,” Bini said, adding that he believes the academy will provide added value for Sorma’s customers.

“The aim is to hire capable young people … train them through a rigorous and methodical process side-by-side our most experienced techs, and encourage a professional path beyond the company walls as maintenance and eventually plant managers at our customers’ plants,” Bini said.

In addition to packing equipment and packaging materials, Sorma offers consulting services to help streamline packing operations. The company has installed more than 500 machines for more than 100 customers in North America.

Sorma specializes in flow-pack machinery and all kinds of vertical and horizontal sealant machines for polypropylene and stretch films. The company also offers weighing systems, bagging and filling equipment, palletizers and strappers.

Sorma was a finalist for the 2011 Impact Awards at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit. The company has manufacturing plants in Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Turkey.