In a bid to significantly increase paper manufacturing capacity, National Gypsum Co. said it is planning a $115 million expansion at its Oxford, Ala. plant. Slated for completion in late 2009, the expansion will include the addition of a high-tech paper machine and the creation of 15 jobs.

The new machine, a three-ply paper fourdrinier unit, will use high-speed technology to produce a strong yet lightweight sheet of paper, National Gypsum said. Because the machine uses less fiber to produce sheets, the company will be able to ship more paper per truck to its wallboard plants The machine allows for efficient production of 48” and 54” paper.

“By owning our own raw material, including paper, we can better control costs and quality.” said CEO Thomas C. Nelson.

National Gypsum estimates that manufacturing capacity will be tripled by the expansion, and will help support National Gypsum’s recent wallboard capacity expansions. These include new high-speed plants near Charlotte, N.C., and Phoenix, Ariz.