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Curtains Give Plastics Manufacturer Flexible Possibilities

Leading Industry, Inc. is a growing thermoplastics manufacturer turning out products such as blister packs, clamshells, plastic trays and packaging for electrostatic discharge (ESD), food, medical and retail products at a new facility in Oxnard, CA. Along with thermoforming they extrude their own roll stock. Their constant growth and responsiveness to customer requirements means they are bringing in new equipment regularly.
The mission in any building investment is to get the most out of the floor space, which means the ability to perform the diverse functions to get out product, move material easily and protect product quality - simultaneously. Steve Bartolucci, the Operations Manager for Leading Industry, brought in Goff's Curtain Walls as a flexible solution to accomplish this strategy.
"Traditional, inside the box thinking tells us that dry wall and steel stud partitions would give us this space," says Bartolucci. But Steve was looking ahead and he knew that though he had a spacious new facility to work with, very soon growth would strain the capabilities of the building and a changing market would mean new demands on plant layout. He went for another approach.
"When I was previously at a division of Gillette doing purchasing there was a supplier who used flexible curtains. It appeared we could go with an approach that would enable us to do more with our space instead of permanent walls, so I let my fingers do the walking on the internet and came up with Goff's as a source."
Goff's has been supplying these types of curtains for over the past 20 years and is an expert at matching up the right grade of curtain and placement based on the needs of the area.
 
Bartolucci notes that their original rationale for the curtain walls was the dramatically lower cost over solid walls. He estimates the cost to put up walls would be $75,000. The curtains could come in at under a third of that price.
As Bartolucci predicted the Curtain Walls were dramatically less expensive than anything they could do with dry wall. First off what makes any business happy is less paperwork. The dry wall partitions would require they do a city permit because it would be considered a permanent alteration of the building. That of course can opens a can of worms.
Then there are the growth pains. They knew their manufacturing operation tends to be dynamic and growing at some point down the road. Any partitioned off space would need to move adjust as equipment and machinery moved in and out of the space.
"To me," say Bartolucci, "the curtain makes total sense because in the next week or so I would be bringing in a major machine and I know I can simply open up the Velcro sections that connects two Curtain Walls together, spreading that curtain wide so we can get a 25 ft machine in position."
The Curtain Walls glide open, being suspended on a heavy-duty track and roller system, attached through #2 brass tooth grommets on one-inch centers. In 30 minutes equipment can be moved in and out.
A solid wall would mean putting up a large door. The bigger the door, the bigger the maintenance problems. Industrial doors are constant victims of forklift damage, as are of course solid walls.
 
Not so with the Curtain Walls, which are made of heavy 14 oz reinforced vinyl that flex rather than tear when poked by a forklift. That large door - well wider than that 25 foot wide piece of machinery - will be demanding attention to its motor to keep it rolling smoothly, which means the crew having to scramble up a ladder or call for a man lift.
Shortly after they bring in a major piece of extrusion equipment and it is brought on line the next system installed will require relocation and modification of the Curtain Wall layout. According to Bartolucci, "I can do it, or Goffs could do it by rerunning the track, but Goffs will spec out the additional sections I might need based on where I need to relocate. Still incredibly cheaper because when I need it, the flexible Curtain Walls will be literally 60% less than a permanent wall and go up in a fraction of the time."
 "That would be an unfinished permanent wall. Forget about anything like paint, window or doors. I don't have to worry about electrical circuitry."
For routine traffic in and out of the area, Leading Industry had their welding contractor set up a 12' x 12' steel frame on which they hung strip curtains. Since most traffic would be passing through this opening rather than through separated curtains the operation spec'd see-thru 20 mil clear vinyl Curtain Wall panels around the strip curtain doorway as an extra measure of safety. Bartolucci points out installing that kind of a window into a solid wall would run Leading Industry a couple of thousand dollars.
Leading Industry separates the extrusion process area from the finished goods warehouse. The extrusion process tends to generate a lot of fine plastic dust and it was contaminating the finished goods storage, which before the Curtain Walls was totally wide open. Fans in the rooftop exhaust over the extrusion lines basically to evacuate heat, so the curtains are sucked inward from the negative pressure. To keep the Curtain Walls from billowing out there are wind ties on the bottom anchored to the floor.
 
Depending upon the profile of their orders, the area within the building can be responsively set up to accommodate the equipment, people and floor space they need for a process. Says Bartolucci, "I can envision a change to the floor plan and then I can completely relocate that curtain, which to me is an outstanding option."
This flexibility gives Leading Industry full utilization of the building. They don't have to expand the facility they recently moved into for as long as possible, getting the most out of their investment in real estate. For a growing company like Leading Industry they do not have to worry about being boxed in the four walls of their building.
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LI - Production - The Goff's Curtain Walls which enclose the production area within the Leading Industry facility saves the company the $75,000 the4y would have normally spent on solid walls.
LI - Storage - Leading Industry produces roll stock, which is stored outside of the area enclosed by the Goff's Curtain Walls.
LI - Raw Materials - Pellets and other raw material is stored just outside the production area, separated by the Goff's Curtain Walls.
LI - Doors - the Leading Industry plant engineering department arranged for a 12' x 12' steel frame for strip curtains to allow easy passage in and out of the production area.
Please send inquires to:
Tony Goff
Goff's Enterprises, Inc.
1228 Hickory St.
Pewaukee, WI  53072
Telephone: (800) 234-0337
Fax:  (262) 691-3255
Email: sales@goffscw.com
www.goffscurtainwalls.com