LONG BEACH, CALIF. — Spencer Composites Corp. has relocated to a facility in Sacramento, Calif., that more than triples its former manufacturing space in Lincoln, Neb. In May Spencer moved 250,000 pounds of equipment, including an 80-foot-long filament winder that is being extended to 100 feet in the 50,000-square-foot plant in Sacramento.
"We made a big jump," engineering manager Zachary Spencer said. The company had 15,000 square feet in Nebraska and needed to expand.
The firm also has developed an iron-coated carbon fiber for electromagnetic shielding, a concept Spencer began working on in 1996, while he was a student at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, S.D. By 1998, he had a grasp on the idea, he said.
He assembled two coating machines, and began operating the first in September. Now the company is supplying samples to compounders.
"We are trying to replace nickel with iron fiber" for shielding devices from electromagnetic interference, he said. "Nickel is regulated by the [Environmental Protection Agency], and iron is not."
The new plant is located near carbon fiber maker Grafil Inc. and a stocking location of material distributor CompositesOne,
"We looked at the San Diego, Salt Lake City and Denver areas, and Sacramento seemed to be the one that was best for us," Spencer said during SAMPE 2000 in Long Beach.
The company uses pultrusion, resin transfer molding, vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding and hand lay-up, in addition to filament winding.
In the move to Sacramento, eight full-time employees relocated and seven part-time workers did not, Spencer said.
He and his father, Brian Spencer, the firm's president, presented a technical paper on the application method at the SAMPE conference.
"Production costs show that iron-coated carbon fiber will cost less than nickel-coated carbon fiber," their paper said.