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Specialty and flexibility key to continued growth at Mercer; hot melt equipment supplier continues to target nonwovens as primary market area; new products fueling expansion.

Specialty And Flexibility Key To Continued Growth At Mercer

hot melt equipment supplier continues to target nonwovens as primary market area; new products fueling expansion "Specialty" and "flexibility" are the two key words at Mercer these days. A unique corporate attitude towards innovation gives the hot melt equipment supplier what it feels is an added edge in an increasingly competitive segment.

"We are often thought of as the hot melt machinery choice because of our capability to meet custom needs for specific applications," Rick Hackett, marketing development, told Nonwovens Industry at a recent interview at Mercer's Hendersonville, TN corporate offices. "In many cases we can provide specialized equipment as quickly as other manufacturers' production models."

First: The 'No-Char' Line

Spearheading Mercer's continued development in the nonwovens business is its "No Char" line of hot melt equipment, which includes machinery for single or multiple bead extrusion, slot die film coating, continuous or intermittent spiral spray, gravure printing, screen printing and roll coating applications. Mercer uses both component engineered and custom designed systems to fit specific needs; its complete range of equipment has pumping and melting capacities to 2500 pounds an hour.

The No Char multiple grid "melt-on-demand" system melts the adhesive from up to five stages. This process isolates high temperature adhesive from oxygen, eliminating char.

"We have just provided a bulk unloading, overhead header system with drop points to multiple hot melt systems," pointed out Dennis Mercer, vice president-marketing/international sales. "This PLC system controls more than 60 zones or machine functions at once. Our customer may monitor any individual melt zone or function from a remote CRT. When a particular zone is selected, system diagnostics can be performed or control parameters such as level control, pump speed or temperature settings can be selected."

Expanded Marketing Effort

To complement product line extensions, Mercer recently expanded its marketing efforts as well. "Although we have had steady growth in the past 20 years, we are now focusing on specific niches," said Mr. Mercer. "We are gearing our strategies toward specific market segments such as the nonwovens industry, a key element of our growth strategy." Recent product introductions include a set of application valve modules--the MR-1300 series--that can be used for all applications within a nonwoven diaper or pad. The MR-1300 is capable of spiral spray production cyclic rates of up to 1500 cycles a minute as well as continuous applications with precision control of the edge definition.

The MR-1300 can also be mounted on wide body spiral glue applicators for fluff stabilization and chassis glue applications. Very low output weights can be obtained, down to 1.5 mg sq. inch. The new Mercer wide body spray systems are available up to 36 inches wide for baby diapers, hospital and adult incontinence products. The exact module configurations vary according to customer needs.

Also new at Mercer is a preheater control unit (PCU) for precision temperature control of heated air for spiral spray. A microprocessor temperature controller and compact power card combine to control the air temperature in a preheater assembly before delivery to an application device.

Mercer has also introduced the SP100 Series hot melt screen printer, which has been targeted primarily to the tape and label markets. "Interest shown by the nonwovens industry in the SP100 series may realize product expansion to the nonwovens market as well," said George Davis, manager screen printing sales.

Mercer reports that growth has averaged in excess of 20% since its beginnings in 1967. The company continues to grow, having formed a coater design and manufacturing division in the past year. "We now offer complete coating/laminating lines; we have just delivered several major systems," said Merl Mercer, manager coating system sales.

PHOTO : Mercer's new MR-1300 series of interchangeable spray nozzles.
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Author:Noonan, Ellen
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:company profile
Date:Oct 1, 1989
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