CHICAGO — Sentinel Products Corp. is boosting capacity for cross-linked polyolefin foam sheet because of growing demand in packaging markets. By January, the firm will add 15 million pounds of extrusion capacity for cushion packaging foams at its plant in Richfield Springs, N.Y.
``Primarily the expansion is for growth in the computer packaging industry, automotive material handling, industrial gaskets and flotation foam for life preservers and body surfboards,'' said Scott Smith, chief operating officer.
The new capacity should equal between $30 million and $35 million in sales for the firm, Smith said in a telephone interview from the firm's Hyannis, Mass., headquarters.
At a second manufacturing site, in St. Johnsville, N.Y., Sentinel will add about 5 million pounds of capacity for its Microcell polyethylene molded buns, and 10 million pounds for T-Cell continuous sheet, sometime next spring, according to Smith. Together that extra capacity is expected to garner another $65 million in sales, he said.
Driving growth in T-Cell sheet is FMP — or flexible metallocene-modified polypropylene — used in automotive interiors for dashboards, headliners and door panels, and in industrial gaskets, double-faced adhesive tapes and bottle cap closures.
The plant expansions, which include an addition to the Richfield Springs plant, will cost Sentinel $8 million to $10 million, Smith said.
All the firm's foams are cross-linked, giving them greater melt strength and higher densities, and most are metallocene blends, commercially available only since January, he said.
At Pack Expo last month in Chicago, the company brought out its newest foam sheet addition, T-Band, a high-density H-Cell sheet sandwiched between two layers of T-Cell. With a density of 15 pounds per cubic foot, the T-Band product is replacing corrugated plastic in applications such as shipping and handling auto parts.
Sentinel sells its foam in full sheets, roll stock and laminated block.