Strateline Industries, a new business that will produce nonwoven substrates from recycled
materials, is recycling an existing manufacturing facility in Rogers, Ark., to be its base of
operations, with plans to put employees from the plant’s former operation back to work and add
additional employees within the next three years.
The company has officially opened for business in a 250,000-square-foot facility that was
shut down July by Charlotte-based nonwovens producer Polymer Group Inc. (PGI), which employed 120
workers at the plant. Strateline will invest $63 million in its new operation, which ultimately
will employ 150 people in the manufacture of continuous roll-good nonwoven substrates from recycled
post-industrial materials — primarily cotton, but also a range of other fiber materials — producing
the first-ever sustainably repurposed cotton nonwoven materials, according to the company. Jeffrey
Post, Strateline’s director of marketing, said the substrates initially will be used in end
products such as wet wipes, but there is also potential for developing nonwovens for the
automotive, medical, and home and contract furniture industries.
“We partner with companies and repurpose fiber waste streams, using those fibers as feedstock
instead of using virgin fiber,” Post said. “Strateline has a patent on technology using a high
percentage of cotton in a nonwoven substrate.”
Post said Strateline has a relationship with Wagoner, Okla.-based Sustainable Solutions Inc.,
which will regenerate used fiber into engineered fiber lengths. The substrates manufactured by
Strateline will be converted by Sheboygan, Wis.-based Rockline Industries, which operates a
facility in Springdale, Ark., not far from Rogers.
In its initial stage of operation, Strateline has put approximately 50 former PGI employees
back on the job to conduct prototype trial runs and check equipment that was shut down by PGI, Post
said. The company will add a fourth manufacturing line to three existing lines left from PGI’s
operation, and ultimately will run two spunlace lines.
The company also will invest in technology to modify existing equipment to address
sustainability issues. “Our business strategy is based not only on sustainable end products, but
also on an internal sustainability protocol,” Post said. “We’ll be concerned with how green our
suppliers are as well as with energy use, upcycling practices and such. With regard to energy use,
we will be assessing our environmental footprint and how we can be smarter about energy use in the
December 18, 2007