WINCHESTER, Mass. (Jan. 8, 2010)—MPI Release L.L.C. has added a thermal coater at its Greenfield, Ind., facility, doubling capacity and boosting production to better serve the thermal silicone release liner sector.
The high-speed Polytype-brand coater is capable of applying silicone to two sides of a web—primarily film or paper—in one pass, the Winchester-based company said. The new equipment also does in-line printing or applies controlled remoisturization to the substrate.
The coater produces a range of liner widths up to 87 inches, far more than the typical adhesive width of 54 to 61 inches, said MPI Release President Ed Alois. Many customers are now looking to buy liners at larger widths for economic reasons, he said.
The release liner market is supplied by three technologies—electron beam, ultraviolet and thermal—with the latter making up about 50 percent of overall demand, Alois said. The acquisition allows MPI to further fill a need it sees in that sector, and the company is one of only a few having all three technologies available to supply liners in the industry.
The executive also said bolstering the Greenfield plant's capability gives the company two viable, climate-controlled, strategically sound locations in the Midwest and on the East Coast, close to its customer base. MPI acquired the 75,000-sq-ft. Indiana facility earlier in 2009 and opened it in June.
For now, the Greenfield plant—which will employ about 20 by early this year—will house the thermal coating business, though there are future plans to add some UV and EB capacity there, Alois said. The site also includes a slitter/rewinder and supplies abrasion-resistant, printable and decorative coatings.
The company expects the Indiana plant to be at or near capacity by the end of 2010 and will add people when necessary as sales increase, Alois said. The 80,000-sq.-ft. headquarters facility in Winchester houses the UV and EB businesses—providing capabilities for liners up to 82 inches in width—and employs about 80.
The company also does some of its own silicone formulations, he said.
MPI also added a sales manager this fall—Stephen Odders, a 25-year industry veteran—to help fulfill its growth plan.
“Our business is growing and we're offering all technologies to our customers, so we're at a point where we needed a seasoned sales manager,” Alois said. “Our strengths are sales, customer service and quality. We're building on those strengths.”
The firm generally turns product around in one to four weeks, he said. “Our expertise is to supply sample trials and commercial goods to satisfy customer demands, which these days is on short notice.”
Alois believes MPI has positioned itself well between the larger and smaller suppliers to provide whatever its customers may need.
“Our corporate philosophy is that bigness is not greatness,” he said. “Our ongoing goal is to build on MPI's reputation as a hands-on supplier, with personalized responsiveness to customers of any size, quick turnaround of sample requests and quotations, and on-time shipments of consistent quality.”
MPI's market base includes the medical, graphic arts, building products, labeling and automotive industries, Alois said. “In general, wherever a pressure-sensitive adhesive is used, we can supply a liner.”
The company was founded in the early 1960s as Metallized Products Inc., a heavy-deposition film metallizer. It started its coating/release business with EB technology in the 1970s, later added UV capabilities and more recently entered the thermal sector.
In 2004, the company changed its name to MPI Technologies L.L.C. to more accurately describe its diverse offerings, including silicone release products, cryogenic insulation, heat shields, and furniture and other functional coatings.
Last year, the firm changed its name again to MPI Release to reflect its focus on silicone-coated release products.
The company also plans to add a video on its Web site—www.mpirelease.com—discussing its capabilities and history, Alois said.