Firm benefits from processes developed at UNH

The New Hampshire Industrial Research Center at the University of New Hampshire has awarded a second grant to Regal Sleeving and Tubing of Newmarket to help support continued development of more efficient production processes by UNH researchers.

Regal Sleeving was granted $25,471 to support a $50,943 project at UNH. In June 2004, Regal Sleeving and Tubing was granted $24,798 to support a $49,597 project at UNH to begin the project.

“The results of the first project have resulted in a 50 percent to 100 percent increase in the production process, and Regal has increased the number of employees from 36 to 45,” said to Robert Dalton, executive director of the Industrial Research Center.

A 60-year-old company in downtown Newmarket, the former Suflex Sleeving and Tubing Company was saved from bankruptcy two years ago after it was purchased by the plant’s two managers. Prior to the purchase, Suflex had been losing money, but with help from the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Project the two employees acquired the company, renamed it Regal Sleeving and Tubing, and turned it around.

But the company’s leased plant housed an outdated and cost-prohibitive process for drying one of its key products — acrylic fiberglass sleeving. After the NHMEP contacted the NHIRC about developing a new, more efficient and less costly chemical formulation and drying process, the NHIRC contacted P.T. Vasudevan, a UNH chemical engineering professor, who had previous success working with a similar product.

“The focus of the first phase of research was to investigate their acrylic water-based formulation in coated fiberglass sleeving and optimize it with better and faster drying. The work has progressed very well, and we have increased their production rate up to 100 percent,” Vasudevan said.

Dalton said the second grant “continues process enhancements from the first project and specifically designs better system for adherence of the outer glass braid to silicone tubing. Up to this point, Regal has not actively marketed this product due to current production limitations. High temperature insulation systems are gaining market share due to the need to improve motor efficiencies. This new design will allow Regal to enter this market.”

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