CHICAGO — Spurred by a $5 million investment in a research and development lab, Norton Performance Plastics Corp. is expanding its cementable films and thick-gauge film lines at its Wayne, N.J., headquarters.
Norton officials would not provide details of the expansion, except to say it is a ``pretty substantial'' investment to boost production of fluoropolymer films that have long-lasting adhesives.
Previous attempts to combine adhesives with the naturally slippery film had shortcomings such as discoloration or hazardous-waste byproducts, said Paul Ortiz, business manager of specialty films. He declined to provide details of the unpatented technology.
The films are targeted at the protective decoration and medical markets, Ortiz said in an interview at the National Design Engineering Show, held March 15-18 in Chicago.
Norton also made a small investment to manufacture thick-gauge films, which Ortiz said is anything up to 125 mils thick. The company traditionally has focused on film thinner than 30 mils, but has customers in aerospace, medical and semiconductor markets that want thicker films, he said.
``We find a core group of customers want to work with fluoropolymers,'' Ortiz said.
The films also can be used on the inside of chemical tanks.
The company plans additional investment to boost thick-film production in late 1999, but Ortiz declined to provide details.
``For the films side, we are starting a much more aggressive marketing campaign,'' he said.
The new films, which became available to customers in late 1998, are a direct outgrowth of the research center, he said. The company spent $2.5 million on the building and $2.5 million on equipment, Ortiz said. The lab started work in March 1998.