Latex Foam International L.L.C. has gone from rebuilding its entire manufacturing operation following a near-devastating fire to an expansion stage in a three-year span.
The rubber latex mattress and pillow maker is adding equipment to create a fifth line, which will give it about 20 to 25 percent more capacity. Included in the additions are new presses, another boiler system and a refrigeration system, according to Frank J. Beafore, vice president of manufacturing and technology for the Shelton, Conn.-based business.
A drying/curing oven also will undergo a major upgrade, he said.
The line will be located in space the firm had set aside for future growth when it purchased the 208,000-sq.-ft. factory in late 2001. The project is expected to be completed late this year, Beafore said at the International Latex Conference, held July 20-21 in Fairlawn. ``Our target is for a January startup.''
In addition, Latex Foam is doubling the size of its dock area-adding three docks to give it six-to significantly improve its delivery times. Beafore's objective is to trim the amount of time spent from the initial pouring of the latex to the product's arrival on a truck. His plan is to complete the process in 24 to 48 hours rather than the present five to 10 days.
The company, which also operates a fabrication plant in California, is considering creating more fabrication sites-possibly in Atlanta and Chicago-``because we want to be closer to our customers,'' he said. ``So, we'll do what makes sense.''
No timetable has been set on when the additions could be made. ``Right now we're formulating our business strategies for the next few years, and that could include more fabricating and manufacturing operations,'' Beafore said.
There's great demand in the U.S. for Latex Foam's pillows and mattresses, according to Anthony Mancini, technical manager for Latex Foam. ``And that demand is growing.''
Going from the ashes of the May 2001 fire to the purchase of a plant and machinery to growth and expansion has been accomplished through a lot of hard work, a strong work force and innovative technology, according to Beafore.
``Now we're poised for prolific growth,'' the Latex Foam executive said.