MOUNT AIRY, N.C.—It's difficult to create a company and build it from the ground up. NCFI Polyurethanes did it the best way, with innovation, ingenuity and a solid, experienced work force.
A manufacturer of flexible and rigid polyurethane foam, it has bucked the trends and set its own course to achieve consistent growth since it was formed in North Carolina in 1964.
It took a noted chemist and pioneer in the urethane industry who worked on the Manhattan Project and a Charlotte, N.C.-based specialty cotton textiles and fiber cushioning materials company to put the local business together and turn it into a major global player in the polyurethane industry.
Through the last 50 years, they proved they had excellent foresight in assembling a firm that is very nimble.
Today, NCFI, headquartered in Mount Airy, reigns as a leader in the production of polyurethane foam chemical systems for spray foam-in-place insulation, geo-technical, agricultural, roofing, marine flotation, packaging, specialty molding and many other uses.
A division of Barnhardt Manufacturing Co., which was founded in 1900, it features lines of polyurethane flexible foams for furniture, seating, transportation seating, bedding, carpet underlay and packaging.
The company has plants in Mount Airy; Hickory, N.C.; Dalton, Ga.; and Salt Lake City; with 14 distribution centers spread around the U.S. It employs almost 300.
It has grown and expanded regularly during the last five decades. NCFI's last addition came in early 2014 when it purchased a 70,000-sq.-ft. building behind its Mount Airy facility to house a recently purchased gel line, used to produce a gel that's complementary to foam mattresses.
“The gel is applied to a foam substrate that is then used as the top layer of a mattress,” NCFI President Steve Riddle said. “The gel has a cooling effect that dissipates heat and keeps the sleeper's body more comfortable. Our current facilities were fully utilized, so we needed to buy the building.”