RICHMOND, IND. - With its sheet extrusion business turning a year old, B&F Inc. is boosting capacity, adding two new polyolefin-based product lines and making its name known among thermoformers. Since 1987 the Richmond firm has been supplying sheet to the graphics industry as a distributor and fabricator. But late last year, B&F started its own extrusion operation, concentrating on polypropylene and polyethylene sheet, and specialties such as talc-filled and calcium-carbonate polyolefins, which offer ``lay-flat characteristics that sign makers need,'' said President and part-owner Paul Bertsch Jr.
At its 100,000-square-foot plant in Richmond, where it operates eight extruders and employs 30, B&F recently added three sheet extrusion lines and a twin-screw compounder, mainly to accommodate two new plastic sheet products that incorporate wood flour and recycled tire rubber.
The company also has begun chasing a new piece of business - namely, thermoformers. To date B&F mainly has targeted graphics companies, but it is working on a new customer base for its new product lines, which have many applications beyond sign board, Bertsch said.
Tireplast - polyolefin compounded with ground-up tires and extruded into sheet - can be used for such products as printed mud flaps, truck bed liners, car body trim, gaskets, shoe soles and pond liners. It comes in a variety of textures, including a gritty, anti-skid pattern, and because it is made through continuous extrusion, it can be rolled, he said. Woodplast, developed primarily for signage, also finds uses in door panels, dunnage, headliners in cars and sidewall in boats. Both materials can be laminated in-line with adhesives.
B&F custom extrudes thermoformable sheet from 10-500 mils, up to 72 inches wide, in a range of colors and surfaces. The company also runs a toll recycling and scrap buyback program. Bertsch would not disclose sales.
- By Lisa Sarkis Neaville