Solon, Ohio — Wrap-Tite Inc. has moved forward to become a niche maker of stretch films — shaking off a $500,000 wire transfer fraud in 2014, after it bought a Chinese cast film line.
“The big thing we want to emphasize is that, even after the setbacks that we had in the last two years, we learned a lot, and now we have become a niche player in the marketplace,” President Sunny Daga said.
Wrap-Tite makes specialty cast film products such as color films, pre-stretched film, anti-static films, and volatile corrosion inhibitor (VCI) film, that are used when wrapping steel coils or other products so they will not corrode.
The Solon company does slitting and rewinding operations. Wrap-Tite can convert film it manufactures into nearly any shape, including narrow widths such as three-inch and five-inch film, and even as small as one-inch wide, Daga said.
Daga said big film extruders don't want to play in those niches — making Wrap-Tite a rare company that both extrudes and converts its own film in so many niche varieties.
Wrap-Tite now runs two cast film lines made by China-based Xinle Huabao Plastic Machinery Co. Ltd. One line can run three-layer film. The other, a five-layer line, allows the company to put in layers of specialty resins to give the film custom features, such as stiffness or extra stretchiness.
Both lines have Scantech scanners that control thickness and feed back to the machine, in a closed loop.
The manufacturing operation — the two cast lines and 12 pieces of equipment for converting such as slitting, pre-stretching and rewinding — is housed in a 110,000-square-foot building across the street from the 90,000-square-foot headquarters.
Wrap-Tite owns both buildings.
Wrap-Tite was founded in 2001 by Daga, who had worked at Avery Dennison Corp., and Suresh Bafna, a family friend. The company focused on packaging supplies, selling stretch film made by another company, plus adhesive tape, bubble wrap mailing envelopes and gloves.
Wrap-Tite had been buying its stretch film from a supplier in China, and converting it in Solon. The two companies had a good relationship. Daga and Bafna wanted Wrap-Tite to extrude its own stretch film, so they bought a used cast film machine.
The Chinese film supplier recommended its own cast film machinery supplier, Xinle, as a quality company, and the Wrap-Tite owners thoroughly checked out Xinle at NPE 2012, and in visits to China. They bought a machine and made a $200,000 down payment that went through successfully. Then, after Bafna visited and saw the machine run, they wired the balance of $500,000 — to what turned out to be a phony account.
Hackers had digitally altered the company logo and seal, and emailed Wrap-Tite with an account with a new number and name — and listed a different bank than the one for the down payment. The hackers addressed some specific details about Wrap-Tite's machine.
Realizing the scam — which did not come from Xinle — Daga and Bafna contacted their local police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and even Interpol, and Bafna traveled to China to meet with the bank and Chinese police. Nothing. Xinle tried to work with police, but the authorities would not take their complaint because the company was not the “victim.”
So the money was gone. And Plastics News reported the scam.
“After we promoted our story, we got a lot of calls from people that were conned exactly the same way,” Bafna said. “If they would have come forward, when it had happened to them, maybe they would saved headaches for a lot of people afterward.”
Daga and Bafna said Xinle has been a good supplier. The Chinese machinery maker gave Wrap-Tite a $100,000 discount on its first Xinle machine. They ended up buying a second, much more automated Xinle line, without a special discount.
Wrap-Tite has stopped using its first, used, film line.
Daga said the company invested money to upgrade the manufacturing plant, installing new lighting, painting the floor and adding clear lines marking foot and forklift traffic. The partners added cranes on the production floor to help employees lift the heavy rolls of film. They installed five silos inside the building for the linear low density polyethylene. The plant has Maguire blenders and loaders.
They added a Polystar repelletizing line to recycle its scrap, most of which gets sold. Six months ago, they added a process control chiller.
“Essentially we have all the necessary infrastructure to make almost any product,” Bafna said.
Daga said Wrap-Tite keeps an inventory of 80 to 100 truckloads of film available for immediate shipment.
But it hasn't been easy.
“It was very painful, because the learning curve was, first the hacking and then getting into a new field [cast film], and having the first, used machine, which was bought locally, not being state-of-the-art equipment,” Bafna said.
Now Wrap-Tite is looking ahead. “Now we have gone through all of that learning curve. We understand what we're doing very well, and we do it very well. And we want to be successful and do a good job,” Daga said.