Uniroyal upgrades UK plant, streamlining offerings

Uniroyal Global Engineered Products has upgraded its vinyl sheet production plant in Earby, UK, and is streamlining its offerings in Europe to better meet market demand.

The Sarasota, Florida-based manufacturer of vinyl-coated fabrics said it had invested over $11m (€9.6m) on new equipment and upgrades to modernise the production floor since acquiring the site in March 2013.

By improving quality and with price-competitive offerings, Uniroyal said it aimed to better service its existing customer base and to expand capacity to enter new markets in Europe.

Throughout the upgrade, however, Uniroyal said it could not find a viable business plan for its calendering operations, which produces extruded thin films and represents 5% of consolidated revenues.

The company said it is de-commissioning the equipment and will no longer offer calendered film products as the unit could not be “economically developed or modernised”.

Uniroyal said it was planning to minimise the impact of the closure on employees by offering retraining programmes and moving them to other production areas within the facility.

The phasing out of the product will be implemented over an extended period to give the existing customer base time to arrange for alternative sources of product.

“Our plan is to improve and align our assets within our marketplace and to better meet our current and future production requirements and demands of our customers,” said Howard Curd, chairman of Uniroyal Global Engineered Products, Inc.

Uniroyal Engineered Products acquired the former Wardle Storeys Ltd. production site in Earby, Lancashire, in March 2013. The company also has a factory in Stoughton, Wisconsin.

The company is a leading manufacturer of vinyl-coated fabrics, mainly used for automotive applications. Its primary brand names include Naugahyde, BeautyGard, Flame Blocker, Spirit Millennium and Vynide.