MDI furthers investment in northern Minnesota with new, fully operational polypropylene extruder

State-of-the-art extruder at Grand Rapids facility will create jobs, material for totes, trays and boxes

Plastics manufacturer MDI today announced that its brand-new, state-of-the-art polypropylene extruder – a machine used to create sheets that are converted in to custom and standard containers – is being installed at its Grand Rapids facility. These totes, trays and boxes are used in a wide range of industries including packaging, transportation, logistics, warehouse and medical. All products sold help provide jobs for people with and without disabilities.

The cutting-edge, $3.2 million machine will allow MDI to produce up to five million sheets of material per year while creating an additional 75 new jobs across northern Minnesota over the next 10 years.

“While our new extruder will significantly improve our ability to provide a differentiated customer experience, the positive impacts of this extrusion line go well beyond that,” said Eric Black, president and CEO of MDI. “Growth from this innovative technology will also allow MDI to create new employment opportunities and services for people with disabilities.”

The extruder creates sheets of material that will be sold to other businesses and used to make boxes, totes and trays. MDI previously sourced these sheets from other companies, which extended lead times and impacted competitiveness. MDI was able to purchase the machine thanks to generous grants from the Blandin Foundation and the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB).


Pictured, are MDI employees, Greg Petersen, Todd Wirkkala, Colton Smith and Jon Frimunslundwith the new polypropylene extruder.

About MDI: MDI is a trusted Minnesota manufacturer and nonprofit social enterprise with the mission to provide employment opportunities and services for people with disabilities. We create high-quality plastic containers to ship, pack and store products, and offer unparalleled product assembly and packaging services for organizations across the country, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. By offering an inclusive workplace that allows employees to build confidence, independence and purpose, MDI’s work results in dedicated employees and satisfied customers. To learn more, visit