Integra Plastics Inc. took a big step recently to expand its business, installing an extrusion, laminating and coating line from the Davis-Standard LLC's converting group.
``I'm extremely happy. The market has always been available to us, but for the most part there is a financial barrier to entry,'' said Mick Green, president of the Madison, S.D.-based company, in a Sept. 7 telephone interview.
``It's a big financial commitment, and then there's the matter of finding the people to run it,'' he said.
Green declined to disclose the cost, but said the company has been stockpiling resources over the years while it has been growing, has found the right people, and is ready to offer new products.
Integra, which was established in 1991, was focused on converting coated and laminated fabric into finished products. Now, it will be able to do much of its own coating and laminating.
Green credited Clark Lee, Integra's director of new business development, with providing the experience to make the expansion possible.
Lee said: ``The new line will expand the number of products offered by Integra, products that many of our customers have already expressed an interest in purchasing.''
The new custom-built line includes a 4-inch extruder with in-line resin blending, a 90-inch extrusion laminator, shaftless unwinders and a jumbo surface winder.
The laminator can apply three substrates or one coat in one pass. The unwinders use pneumatic-actuated web-threading belts to insert the web into the splicing nip for a continuous operation.
According to Lee, the line speed will vary depending on the material, but the extruder typically will run at around 1,000 pounds per hour.
Green said Integra has added to its building during the past three years and ``we felt ready to make the move to laminating and all the assorted downstream equipment.''
The company occupies 60,000 square feet on 10 acres and is considering another addition. He said Integra also has boosted its number of employees from 28 in 2004 to 52 this year.
Integra produces enclosure film for many uses including construction, grain covers, landfill covers and farming. It can be used by waste-water treatment facilities, distributors of oil field supplies and even ethanol processing plants.
He added that it typically can make a cover for an acre, but sometimes the size limit is determined by the mode of transportation.