Demand grows for fiber glass sleeves from roller makers

Rubber covered roller manufacturer Finzer Roller Inc. acquired fiberglass sleeve maker Carolina Fiberglass Technologies L.L.C. on 1 April 2003, increasing its presence in a growing market of the rubbe…

Rubber covered roller manufacturer Finzer Roller Inc. acquired fiberglass sleeve maker Carolina Fiberglass Technologies L.L.C. on 1 April 2003, increasing its presence in a growing market of the rubber-covered roller industry. The company plans to relocate the Caroline Fiberglass operation to its own Kernersville, North Carolina, rubber roller facility within 2 months, according to Finzer VP John Finzer. Giving the reasons behind the move, John Finzer said “today, all of our facilities process fiberglass sleeves and it is evident that the demand for this product is growing,” “This increased demand is driven, primarily, by (original equipment manufacturers) who are including this technology on their new equipment.” Carolina Fiberglass Technologies produces tapered and fiberglass sleeves, selling them principally to rubber roller firms. Finzer is aiming to keep CFT“s customer base and capitalize on the current growth in fiberglass sleeves. Using fiberglass sleeves can reduce downtime and replacement costs. In a traditional rubber roller recovery process, a roller needing repair is removed from the machine and a replacement installed. The damaged roller ( including both covering and shaft) is then sent to a Finzer facility for repair. But with rubber-covered fiberglass sleeves, the end-user can replace the damaged covering without returning the shaft to the supplier. In the replacement process, air is pumped into the body of the metal core, the rubber-covered fiberglass sleeve expands and is blown off the core and a replacement fiberglass sleeve with a rubber covering is fitted onto the core. Equipment is increasingly supplied now with sleeves, Finzer said, and all the major rubber roller players-including Finzer Roller“s competitors are providing them. The replacement system may also reduce the need for a service network, he said. “We have five plants now, but down the road we may have no need for five plants,” he said. Strategically, the growth of fiberglass sleeves also may reduce the number of players in the industry, Finzer added. “Some companies may not have the tooling to do it or be able to afford it,” he said.