Cortec Corp. has announced plans for a major expansion at its Cambridge, MN, facility, one of the largest film extrusion plants in midwest North America and the largest vapor phase corrosion inhibitor (VpCI) film extrusion plant in the world, said Cortec.
Cortec Advanced Films (CAF) manufactures recyclable VpCI films, which are used across the globe to protect metal parts and equipment from corrosion during storage and shipping. The plant is now looking at major expansions and improvements for the coming year, including the addition of a plastics recycling complex for CAF’s growing recycling program, “a cutting edge North American initiative with exciting economic and environmental benefits,” said the company.
Recycling is nothing new at CAF, where recycling and reprocessing of film scrap has been going on for decades. With the installation of state-of-the-art reprocessing equipment, however, CAF ramped up its capabilities when it moved reprocessing in house. CAF incorporates the “repro” back into virgin film at up to 20%, a level at which CAF can ensure quality of the new product.
“Almost nothing goes in the garbage, ever,” said Tim Bliss, CAF Production Manager. “Now, we’ve started a new project where our customers take their waste and send it back to us, and we’re going to recycle it.”
In March of this year, CAF officially launched its new customer recycling partnership program by beginning to reprocess 12,000 pounds of used VpCI plastic film that had been baled and sent from a major heavy industry manufacturer. “It’s just going to be getting something back that we’d normally never have gotten back—that would’ve gotten thrown in the garbage,” said Bliss. “At the very least, we’re being conscious of the earth that we’re not throwing away that much stuff.”
The recycling program is a win-win-win situation for customers, Cortec, and the environment, noted the company. On the customer side, many suppliers or manufacturers use Cortec VpCI films to protect components from corrosion. The customer who removes the film must decide what to do with the used plastic, which often ends up in landfill. Instead of paying thousands of dollars for disposal, the customer can now send the used VpCI bags to Cortec, which pays for shipping and gives the customer credit in exchange for the benefit of having an additional source of repro. Environmental responsibility and reduction of carbon footprint are added benefits for both parties.
Depending on the customer’s production load, which influences the amount of film used, Cortec estimates that it will be saving its first recycling partner $10,000 to $20,000 per year, and reclaiming potentially 50,000 pounds or more of plastic. Cortec said it has other companies “waiting in the wings to start this recycling partnership and is looking forward to building many positive, long-term customer relationships with them.” Boris Miksic, founder and CEO of Cortec Corp., summed up the program by commenting that it will “offer great economic benefits, improved carbon footprint and new jobs.”
In addition to building new warehouse space for its repro program and other operations, CAF will be adding office space and improving common use facilities for the benefit of its employees. The new office building will host a training center for employee and customer conferences and will make a positive visual impact on the city with its refreshed architecture, said the company.
CAF will also be seeking to increase production this year by modernizing its largest extrusion line. A new die and air ring will allow greater productivity and better control over film thickness, while a new state-of-the-art winder with automatic roll-to-roll transfer will increase employee safety. Other improvements will follow as CAF strives to increase the efficiency of this important line.
Cortec added that by “staying mindful of the environment while improving efficiency and employee wellbeing, CAF is making important advances and demonstrating its continued leadership in the VpCI film market.”