Developing New Processes For Local Company
NHIRC Grant Supports Regal Sleeving
and Tubing Efficiency Project
Contact: Lori Wright
UNH Media Relations
July 27, 2004
DURHAM, N.H. – The New Hampshire Industrial Research Center
(NHIRC) has awarded a grant to Regal Sleeving and Tubing of Newmarket
to help support development of more efficient production processes
by researchers at the University of New Hampshire.
Regal Sleeving and Tubing has been granted $24,798 to support a
proposed $49,597 project at UNH. If the project is successful,
the company estimates that 18 jobs will be saved with annual sales
of $2.5 million, according to Henry Mullaney, executive director
of the NHIRC.
“If, as expected, the project leads to lower drying costs
and/or faster drying times, productivity would increase while costs
would be lowered. This could add many jobs for the production of
the cost-sensitive product,” Mullaney said.
A 60-year-old company in downtown Newmarket, the former Suflex
Sleeving and Tubing Company was saved from bankruptcy a year 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 (NHMEP), the
two employees acquired the company, renamed it Regal Sleeving and
turned it around.
“Sales have surged and the need to recapitalize the factory
for future growth and stability
is critical,” Mullaney said.
However, the company’s leased plant that houses the process
for drying one of its key products, acrylic fiberglass sleeving,
could be converted in the future. Replicating the drying process,
which currently consists of five-story drying racks, is cost prohibitive.
Earlier this year, the NHMEP contacted the NHIRC about developing
a new, more efficient and less costly chemical formulation and
drying process. The NHIRC contacted UNH Professor P.T. Vasudevan
in the Department of Chemical Engineering, who had success working
with a similar product for D.D. Bean a few years ago.
“We have already started research on this project,” Vasudevan said. “We
are troubleshooting the production facility in Newmarket and simultaneously setting
up a small-scale research unit at UNH. At the end of the project, we expect Regal
Sleeving and Tubing to have a state-of-the-art facility.”
L. Gerard Landry, president and one of the two owners of Regal,
states. “As a 1977 chemical engineering graduate of UNH, it
is good to be associated again with the UNH chemical engineering
department. We look forward to having help from all involved in
developing a new tower process that will help us secure Regal’s
Located at UNH, the NHIRC was created in 1991 by the New Hampshire Legislature
to provide a mechanism to promote applied and basic scientific, engineering,
and associated marketing research and technological transfer to support improvements
and efficiencies in the New Hampshire industrial and business community. The
NHIRC is funded by the State of New Hampshire through its Department of Resources
and Economic Development (DRED).