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Foam and fortune.

Foam And Fortune

Since its commercial development in the 1950s, flexible polyurethane foam has become the world's most widely used cushioning product.

Crain Industries Inc., a Fort Smith-based manufacturer, opened in 1962 as a foam fabricator. The company incorporated a year later.

By the early 1970s, Crain had expanded its fabrication business into Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee. Today, Crain manufactures and fabricates foam for the furniture, bedding, packaging and carpeting industries nationwide.

A dozen years after going into business, Crain became the first company in the United States to manufacture foam using the Maxfoam [R] process. The method began in Great Britain and is now used by most foam manufacturers. Crain's innovation allowed it to expand from a regional to a national manufacturing leader.

Crain has operations in 16 U.S. cities.

In 1984, Crain again revolutionized the foam industry by using a process known as Vertifoam [R]. Although the chemicals and the processes used to make foam have changed only slightly since the industry began, the Vertifoam [R] process produces more consistent and efficient polyurethane foam products than those produced with the Maxfoam [R] process.

Crain holds U.S. and Canadian rights to the Vertifoam [R] process, along with half the worldwide rights.

Rigorous Environmental Protection Agency standards that restrict ozone-depleting chemicals have forced the foam industry to remain creative.

According to Mike Ricciardi, Crain's vice president and technical director, the company recently perfected a safer and more efficient way to produce flexible polyurethane foam. The new process, patented under the Enviro-Cure [R] label, meets the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act of 1990, Ricciardi says.

In addition to a full line of virgin polyurethane foams, Crain produces specialty foams for specific applications.

The latest addition to the product line is a fire-resistant foam marketed under the name Fireseal [R].

In 1983, Crain opened a manufacturing facility at Fort Smith for bonded carpet cushion. The company's manufacturing process allows it to use polyurethane scrap to provide a line of prime and bonded carpet cushions.

PHOTO : FAMOUS FOR FOAM: Crain Industries, in Fort Smith, revolutionized the foam industry in the early 80's by introducing a British process for making foam. They have operations in 16 U.S. cities.

Ruth Mitchell Arkansas Business Staff
COPYRIGHT 1991 Journal Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Top 50 Private Companies in Arkansas; foam fabrication business of Crain Industries Inc.
Author:Mitchell, Ruth
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:company profile
Date:Jul 8, 1991
Previous Article:Top 50 firms expand through mergers, acquisitions.
Next Article:Producers moves forward.

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