Specialty film converter Orafol Europe GmbH has expanded in the United States by acquiring high-end film producer Rowland Technologies Inc.
Rowland Technologies will gain from Orafol's global presence and Orafol will benefit from having its own source of raw material films, stated Rowland Technologies President and CEO Stephen DiMugno in a phone interview.
“For customers it will be extremely positive,” DiMugno predicted.
Orafol produces a range of graphic products, reflective materials and adhesive tapes in facilities around the world. It also has a Precision Technology Center in West Henrietta, N.Y., that makes tooling used to produce microstructured optical films and plastic lenses. The firm is based in Oranienburg, Germany, and its other North American operations are in Black Creek, Ga.; Avon, Conn., and Oakville, Ontario.
Rowland Technologies' high-performance films include RowTec polycarbonate film, SolaTuf impact-modified acrylic film and Rowlux illusion film. The Wallingford, Conn., company's specialties extend to engineering films made from polyphenylene sulfide, polyetherimide, polysulfone and fluoropolymers.
"For a number of years Rowland Technologies has been a key supplier to Orafol and has shared our commitment to a long-term strategic view focused on the highest standards of quality and innovation where dynamic growth, innovative products and increased customer satisfaction are assured," said Orafol Europe Managing Director Holger Loclair in an Aug. 21 news release.
Rowland Technologies will continue operating in its newly expanded 672,000-square-foot facility under the name Rowland Technologies, an Orafol Co. About 80 employees work at the Wallingford, Conn., factory. DiMugno said key personnel will be retained and he expects the operation will have a lot of autonomy.
Rowland Technologies has been supplying polycarbonate and acrylic films to Orafol for many years and the two companies are very familiar with each other, DiMugno said.
DiMugno said specialty film production has been a hotbed in central Connecticut dating back to the 1950s a few years after Bill and Hugh Rowland started the first Rowland company, a pioneer in PC film production. Over the years workers learned extrusion skills and tooling development flourished in the area. Both activities supported film production in the region.
The early Rowland Products Inc. split up and Bill and Hugh Rowland started Reflexite Corp. which eventually was bought by Orafol. In 1992. DiMugno and a partner bought a remnant of the early Rowland business to form the current Rowland Technologies.
“It's come full circle,” said DiMugno, referring to Orafol's purchase of his company several years after Orafol bought Reflexite, which was founded by the founders of Rowland Products.
“Bill and Hugh Rowland would be very happy with the way things turned out,” DiMugno said. Both Rowlands are now deceased.
Rowland Technologies concentrates on specialty films and difficult to process materials, DiMugno stressed. Although Orafol will boost the purchased firm's global profile, Rowland Technologies has had “a pretty nice business in Europe.” Lately DiMugno's company has started selling in central and South America.
Orafol has been expanding globally.
Early in August it announced a series of strategic acquisitions in Australia. The purchased graphic distributors have locations in Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide that will handle Orafol reflective and graphic products. They will be integrated with Orafol Australia based in Brisbane.
In June Orafol opened a 65,000-square-foot warehouse and converting facility in Xiamen. The unit will focus on Orafol's Reflective Solutions division in Asian markets.
Last October, Orafol said it was building a new corporate headquarters in its home town of Oranienburg and a new communication center and a new 48,000-square-foot distribution center for raw materials. Also slated for the site is expansion of coating capacity, particularly for solvent-based media.
In 2013 Orafol opened a new 21,400-square-foot distribution center in Oakville, Ontario, to expand its presence in North America. That year it also merged its operations in Georgia and Avon to create Orafol Americas Inc. The Georgia facility is a center of excellence for graphic products while Avon is the center of excellence for the Reflective Solutions division.
In 2012, Orafol finished an expansion of the Precision Technology Center facility in West Henrietta that more than doubled floor space. It acquired the West Henrietta operation from Reflexite Corp. in 2011. The site makes tooling for production of microstructures in film to create reflective materials, concentrator lenses for photovoltaic cells and lighting diffusers and brightness films for computer displays.
Orafol employs more than 950 in Germany and more than 1,500 globally. The company's origins date back to 1808.