Rockland Mills’ Third Wide Width Coating Line Adds 50 Percent Capacity at Bamberg, SC
November 17, 2017
BALTIMORE, Maryland—If there is a theme at Rockland Mills for 2018, it would have to be summed up in one word ‘new.’ According to Mark Berman, President and Darren Fradin, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Rockland will introduce a new line of electrostatic flocked drapery linings with a very soft, silk-like hand at Heimtextil. The product is called ‘Serendipity’ and is a solid color line with many colors.
Mark BermanBy mid 2018, Rockland will be able to transfer print 126-inch-wide goods with the addition of a third transfer printing machine, greatly expanding the color range of Rockland solid color linings. ‘Wellington’ is the new printed linen look range of Rockland blackout being shown at Heimtextil for the first time. Rockland also can wet print or digitally print as needed in its sole 400,000 square foot plant in Bamberg, SC. Rockland has incorporated the new products—mainly solids and textures in newly designed sample books which cover about 1,000 sku’s in the collections of blackout, decorative blackout, interlinings and FR interlinings. “The specifier or architect or distributor will now find all of our products in one book,” Fradin explains. He also pointed to Rockland’s newly revamped website and social media to promote the new products. Rockland was the inventor of coated blackout in the 1960’s Berman explains and “we are now the last American coater still standing today, ‘Made in the USA for the world,’” he says. Also new—Rockland now offers certified FR products which meet all flammability codes including M1, certified by IFTH testing labs in Lyon, France; B1, the British fire code, 5867 and EN 13773 as well as IMO. “We finally figured out the chemistry,” Berman says. The company tried for years and finally achieved success in cracking the European FR markets. Rockland says it is turning in double digit growth in European markets now. Also, Fradin says South America is becoming very important for Rockland which he personally handles—Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Colombia. Fradin, who cut his teeth in export markets over the years, says the next effort for the company will be in Japan where it is talking to several distributors. In order to accommodate the production of new products and new markets, Rockland first had to complete expanded production by 50 percent in Bamberg.
Darren FradinRockland can also offer customers the ability to commission coat proprietary designs to anyone who wants it with flexible minimums. “We think it is more economical for customers to commission coat their fabrics at our Bamberg plant,” Berman points out. If you have signature designs on your fabric, we can coat it for you to order. This will eliminate the need for customers to carry finished coated fabric inventory,” Berman points out. In addition to the Bamberg plant expansion, Rockland has moved to 15,000 square feet of new offices in a suburban location after 35 years at the same industrial location in Baltimore, closing its old factory in 2007. All production is now done in Bamberg, SC where a third coating line has been added. Rockland’s 170 employee workforce in Bamberg is expected to expand to 200 people in the years ahead to handle the increased business “working around the clock,” Berman says. The new line cost $10 million to build, Berman says and “represents the state of the art in coating lines.” The new custom built line was built to Rockland specifications and is capable of producing the 110-inch-wide blackout lining pioneered by Rockland in 1995, somewhat ahead of the workroom trade in the USA at that time. “It took a while for the customers to catch on. They saw the value in making their workrooms suitable for wide width linings which make use of the railroaded widths to produce no seam drapery linings at a reduced cost. “We learned recently that not all hotel rooms are built at the same height. New hotel rooms are built higher for customers who want 330 cm widths or 118 inches; 320 width or 126 inches. Our new coating line can handle 141 inch widths if need be—but there is no demand for 141 inch widths yet,” Berman explains. Rockland is the only coater left in the USA. It was founded in 1832 and is the oldest continuously operated manufacturer in the United States according to Berman.