Argotec's new plant to house eleven extrusion lines
Bruce Wilby, president and chief executive officer of Greenfield, Massachusetts-based Argotec, Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) film & sheet, unveiled the company's new 95,000 square foot world headquarters and state-of-the-art manufacturing plant.
The addition of this new facility on Silvio O. Conte Drive increases the company's total operation at the Greenfield Industrial Park to over 150,000 square feet. “The added capacity this new plant provides not only increases capacity for existing ArgoFlex and OmniFlex textile lamination film customers, but also gives us additional flexibility to explore new markets and applications,” Mr. Wilby stated. “It will create greater efficiencies throughout our entire production process, letting us focus more of our resources on research and development.”
Company co-founder and co-chairman Steve Wolkenbreit added, “We purchased the building from GBI Realty, Inc., the real-estate arm of Yankee Candle Company in Deerfield, Massachusetts. They used it as a 65,000 square feet distribution warehouse. We expanded the office portion and added another 30,000 square feet of manufacturing space on the back end to make room for what is today the cleanest, most modern, polyurethane film extrusion operation in the world.”
Argotec's new plant will house eleven extrusion lines, two blown film and nine flat-die. Seven of the flat-die lines will be housed in an 8,000 square foot hard walled clean room, with each individual extrusion line additionally enclosed in its own Class 10,000 soft walled clean room environment.
“This new facility is essential to our continued success and that of our customers. It will ensure our ability to meet the global demand for polyurethane film & sheet, as well as the ever-increasing quality requirements of new 21st century applications,” stated Mr. Wilby. Argotec sells their products to textile laminators who use ArgoFlex films in liquid and air containment, as well as general textile lamination applications. Omniflex films are used to create waterproof-breathable, odor-control composites in a single film-to-fabric lamination for use in performance apparel and footwear.
The company is also a key provider of TPU film & sheet to glass lamination, automotive paint protection, medical device and wound care, as well as graphics printing and overlaminate markets. Mr. Wilby continued, “We dominate in most of these areas, each of which demands extremely clean, clear, flat product. The investment we've made in our new facility, new extrusion technology and the best new measurement systems available, will help ensure that our films remain the cleanest and highest quality in the industry.”
To achieve this, Argotec laid out their new extrusion operation so that all seven extruders and the raw resin handling equipment are positioned outside the clean room, with only the final heated polymer passing through the wall to the flat die and winding apparatus. “Add to that the clean room operator certification program each of our personnel must complete, the separate changing rooms and gowning requirements we've instituted, and the interlocking entrance and exit doors to guarantee no one enters the clean room until the first of the two doors is securely shut behind them,” said Mr. Wilby, “and the net result is exceptionally clean product.” Even finished rolls must first be wrapped inside the clean room on the extruder before they can be moved through a dual containment exit system to finally be boxed for shipment to the customer.