Leading global supplier of construction products relies on ENTEK for twin-screw processing expertise
Headquartered in Lebanon, NJ, Construction Specialties (CS) was founded in 1948 and has grown into a global leader in architectural and engineered building products. CS has over 30 manufacturing locations and 2,000 employees around the world. CS provides solutions to complex building problems and manufactures: louvers, expansion joints covers, interior wall protection, entrance flooring, and more.
In 2010, CS opened a factory in Fort Valley, GA with a mission to produce and supply polyester sheet as part of their Acrovyn® line. CS set out to take on the challenging task of extruding large sheets of polyester, 4’ x 8’ and 4’ x 10’.
A Challenge and a Solution
In early 2011, members of the Fort Valley team installed their first production line, a single-screw extruder. Later that year, they expanded their operations and began the process of shopping for a twin-screw extruder to compound the materials for producing polyester sheet. “We visited a couple of the leading suppliers and were literally one week away from a purchase, but we had concerns,” said Tie Duan, Engineering Manager at the Fort Valley plant. “We were not getting much support technically and we needed it, as twin-screw sheet extrusion can be a challenging process. It was at that time that we were introduced to Bill Petrozelli from ENTEK.”
Bill met with them and made a good impression with the Fort Valley team. They canceled their order with the competition and scheduled a trip to visit ENTEK at their headquarters in Lebanon, OR. “We were impressed with Bill’s technical knowledge,” said Tie. “He encouraged us to visit ENTEK, so three of us decided to make the trip to Oregon to see their facilities and learn more about their company, and their extruders.”
Based upon their visit, CS purchased an ENTEK 73mm twin-screw extruder. When asked what convinced them to choose ENTEK, Tie mentioned the friendliness of ENTEK’s staff, their technical expertise and willingness to provide processing advice and support. One other important factor was ENTEK’s experience as a processor. “The knowledge the ENTEK team had blew us away,” he said. “Plus, ENTEK started out as a processor and understood the challenges of producing quality compounds and end products. They realized it isn’t just about selling us a machine, it’s about helping us succeed with our process.”
Another System for Europe
ENTEK worked with CS to get the 73mm twin-screw extruder up and running at the Fort Valley plant. “Sheet extrusion using a twin-screw extruder wasn’t very common, and we had some challenges,” said ENTEK’s Bill Petrozelli. “But after some adjustments to the process they were producing high-quality sheet.”
“ENTEK’s support during start-up was invaluable,” said Tie. “It’s a good example of why we chose them for this project. They worked with us to perfect the process, even recommending and implementing a special screw design, providing helpful advice on melt temperature control, in-process degradation, and creating a custom control system solution. All in all, we relied heavily on their expertise, and they came through for us.”
CS decided to expand the business into Europe and produce the same products at their facility in Pacy-sur-Eure, France. ENTEK was once again chosen to supply an identical 73mm twin-screw extruder for this plant. Bill Petrozelli and ENTEK’s Matt Ramsdell traveled to France to assist with the system’s start-up. Ramsdell designed a custom control solution with numerous features including built-in material usage information, heater performance data, and more. Another feature allows for remote connectivity to help ensure that the plants in Fort Valley and France are communicating and the process is running smoothly at both plants.
A Growing Business
Today, CS is a leading supplier of polyester sheet worldwide and can be seen in retail, healthcare, airports, education, and other settings. CS reengineered their wall protection line to use sustainable products, and eliminated the use of PVC, which means the future is bright for this business.
“Business is great, and our sheet lines are busy here in Fort Valley and in France,” said Tie. “We will likely be purchasing additional twin-screw extruders and when we do, we would go with ENTEK.”
Founded in 1948, Construction Specialties (CS) is a family-owned building products company. CS provides solutions to complex problems that architects, designers, building owners, facility managers, and contractors face every day. Since inventing the first extruded louver, CS has become a global leader in interior wall protection, impact-resistant doors and frames, entrance flooring, expansion joint covers, architectural louvers and grilles, sun controls, specialty venting, cubicle curtains and tracks. CS draws upon extensive expertise to design custom, high-quality products—many of which are a part of the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program. CS products can be found on some of the world’s most significant architecture: One World Trade Center in New York City, The Shard in London and Burj Khalifa in Dubai. For more information about CS products and solutions, please visit: www.c-sgroup.com.