- August 04, 2012, Tom Bezigian
Bixby is a very specialty house that does coating and laminating unlike any other converter I have every seen, including my own company Great Lakes Technologies. All their jobs are small... very small, which requires innovation and engineering expertise to handle in an efficient manner.
According to Marc Gagnon, R&D Manager, and fellow Plastics Engineer from UMASS-Lowell, the company's focus is on making the impossible possible. From what I saw, they are doing a very good job at it. Marc indicated that their resin repertoire includes all the common resins used in extrusion coating and laminating, plus several less common ones, including Polyamides, PET, PETG, TPEs, TPOs, Flouropolymers, Acrylics, ABS, adhesives, and more. While Bixby uses any number of common substrates, they specialize in woven (such as scrims) and non-woven fabrics (Reemay®, Sontara®) as well as foams and specialty films (Tedlar ®, Aclar®, Kynar®).
Marc indicates that it is the combination of specialty materials, R&D expertise, and equipment & engineering innovations that allow Bixby to do what others have not even thought of. The last point, engineering innovations, is critical. Bixby's equipment is "off-the-shelf", but Bixby's engineering department modified it to be very flexible to accommodate the wide variety of products they make. For example, one day their "winder" could serve as a winder, and then next day could be used and the unwind stand, with the former unwind serving as the winder. They also have the ability to move unwind stands and dryers from one machine to the other on an as-needed basis. This shows fantastic innovation which is required for the type of work that Bixby specializes in.
All of this flexibility comes at a cost... namely inefficiency. Company president Dan Rocconi told me he spent the last 2 years making the company more efficient so that it could better serve its customers and of course improve the bottom line. So now, size is of no concern, as they routinely do special set-ups requiring complete machine tear-downs in a matter of hours versus days. The solution to this problem was improving techniques as well as procuring the replacement components critical to minimizing downtime.
All in all, I am very impressed with what Bibxy has done. My hat is off to the crew there.
For more information, go to http://bixbyintl.com/ or e-mail Marc Gagnon at email@example.com.