American Roller investing in US, China

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American Roller Co. is on the move both at home and abroad, according to Dan Cahalane, president of the firm.

Cahalane said American Roller's complex in Union Grove, Wis., which includes a roller plant, administrative building and a research and engineering building, is about to grow again.

American Roller is investing $5.5 million to build a 52,000-square-foot facility that will increase the campus to about 152,000 square feet. The company makes rollers used in a variety of industries, including products for film and sheet manufacturing.

The new facility will blend in with the existing research and administration building, he said. “This new facility will be on a piece of land that we own next to the whole campus.”

In addition, the company will relocate its Kansasville, Wis., facility — located three miles from its current headquarters — to the new facility.

The Kansasville facility has a manufacturing operation that makes rollers and coatings for all the markets American Roller serves.

The new plant will be climate controlled, Cahalane said, unlike the Kansasville location. The company is “adding additional capacity and capability,” Cahalane said. The firm will sell its Kansasville property once it has completely relocated the operation to the new site.

The roller company held its grand opening/groundbreaking event in May. The new facility is scheduled to be open in November, and it will be operational on Jan. 1 and fully transitioned by the end of the first quarter in 2015.

The company also is preparing to launch production at its first factory in China. It plans to host a grand opening at its Shanghai facility on June 11.

Cahalane said American Roller continues to grow both locally and internationally. The Shanghai facility marks the company's first wholly owned foreign enterprise.

In addition to creating a stronger and more wide-spread manufacturing base, American Roller plans to add products to its lineup. One is the Alcotron CL800, the next generation of the CL500 corona treater roller.

American Roller offered the CL500 for the film and plastic industry for its corona treating; however, customers demanded a product that withstood higher capabilities. “So we had to develop a new product, a new ceramic technology,” Cahalane said, “that would handle the higher temperatures and higher power.”

The CL800 is a premium ceramic-covered roller designed for the most unforgiving surroundings, American Roller said. It is recommended for conventional corona treating systems and can be used in harsh conditions.

“Not only is the formulation new, but the process to spray it is new,” Cahalane said.

The premium CL800 is produced with a coating dielectric nearly three times higher than the typical voltage at the electrode. This allows the CL800 to maintain 300°F continuous operation without degradation, which means extended life for the customer, he said.