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Multi-million dollar investment unveiled at CPFilms
Taking part in a ribbon cutting Tuesday for new equipment at CPFilms in Fieldale are (from left) Mark Heath, Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. president and CEO; CPFilms employees Ricky Nelson, Jay Fleagle, Dennis Quigg and Chad Meadows; Henry County Board of Supervisors Chairman Debra Buchanan; CPFilms employee Kenny Martin; Henry County Supervisor Tommy Slaughter; CPFilms Plant Manager Joe Stultz; Henry County Supervisor Joe Bryant; Henry County Administrator Benny Summerlin; City Councilman Gene Teague; CPFilms employee Brian Wilson; Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce President Amanda Witt; and CPFilms employees Robert Hatchett and Sammy Williams. (Bulletin photos by Mike Wray)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
CPFilms Inc., which makes everything from cake plates to parts for Kindles, on Tuesday commissioned a new machine that it expects will translate into more business.
The company, a subsidiary of Solutia Inc., unveiled a new laminating machine, known simply as Machine 35, at its Fieldale plant, according to Joe Stultz, plant manager.
The equipment "represents an investment in CPFilms' growth strategy and investment in our community," he said.
The company already is considered the largest manufacturer of solar control and safety window film used in everything from cars to engineering and buildings, officials said.
It also makes components that are used to make everything from cake plates - cardboard overlaid with a colored film - to "high tech Kindles," which are wireless reading devices, according to Ricky Nelson, a production unit manager.
Components made by the company also are used in different types of touch screens, such as those on many cell phones, iPods and Indigo watches, according to Nelson and Brian Wilson, who manages the sputtering area, where up to five metals can be uniformly deposited on film.
Company officials said the manufacturing process begins with raw, optically clear polyester film that is dyed and then can be coated with a variety of metals to enhance solar control properties.
"Each product is custom built" according to customers' preferences, Wilson said. He added the sputtering department runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with 42 employees.
In comparison, the laminating and coating unit (which is the next step in the manufacturing process) has a total of 82 employees - including 12 new employees needed to help run the new laminating machine, according to Carl Ratliff, the coating and laminating department manager.
The new 80-foot-long equipment required a new room and other support facilities at the Fieldale plant, Nelson said.
Company officials declined to say how much the equipment and facilities cost, but Nelson said "it represents a significant investment ... a multi-million dollar investment."�
The equipment allows different types of film to be coated in tandem (both sides at once), Ratliff said. He added that a scratch-resistant coating can be applied to one side while pressure sensitive coating is applied to the other.
Film of various finishes is then cut and stored on different sized rolls for shipment to customers, officials said.
The company produces LLumar window films, Vista window films, FormulaOne and Gila window films (for do-it-yourself projects), and has manufacturing space in Martinsville and California, officials said. It is headquartered in St. Louis, Mo.
CPFilms began here in the mid-1950s as Martin Processing. Then, dyed yarn was made for use in carpets, officials said. The processing company was acquired by Courtauld's Performance Films in 1989 and a decade later by Solutia.
Currently, it employs 3,100 worldwide, and 430 at the local facility, Stultz said.