FOCUS ON: Doubled Capacity

Royal Adhesives and Sealants LLC has doubled the size of its Wilmington, CA, operations to support the company’s fast-growing aerospace sealant business.

Royal Adhesives and Sealants LLC has completed the expansion of its operation in Wilmington, CA, from 8,000 square feet to 16,000 square feet to accommodate its fast-growing aerospace sealant product line.

“Over the last 12 months, the company has received a number of new customer qualifications and contracts,” said Ted Clark, Royal CEO. “This expansion adds the capacity we need to support our existing, new, and pending customer contracts for our new lightweight and rapid-cure aerospace sealant product line.”

Clark founded Royal Adhesives in 2003 after serving as president and CEO of PRC-DeSoto (prior to its acquisition by PPG). Using an existing facility that had mixing and other equipment, the manufacturing configuration was based primarily on the space available. Thanks to the expansion, Clark was able to reorganize the plant to get the maximum use of the allotted space.

In addition, the expansion let Royal minimize material handling and achieve a more effective layout. “The project has allowed us to implement lean manufacturing principles in our production, packaging and inventory management processes at the same time as we are ramping up production of our new lightweight and rapid-cure sealants,” said Jeff Swindells, general manager of the facility. In addition, the development lab is located in the same facility, allowing for easier communication between departments.

The company’s product line includes high-performance adhesives, sealants, encapsulants, potting compounds and mirror mastics. The products are used in markets such as aerospace and defense, assembly, automotive and recreational vehicle, electrical/electronic, filter, marine, and general industrial. In addition, Royal makes thermosetting epoxy and urethane, solvent-based, and water-based technologies to meet demanding adhesive and sealant applications.

The new facility will provide more manufacturing space for polysulfide-based aerospace sealants, which are two-component reactive sealants that cure faster than previously available products. In addition, the materials offer a lower weight. For example, while a standard aerospace sealant might have a specific gravity of 1.65, these sealants offer a specific gravity of 1.20, a 27% weight savings, Clark said.

“On an aircraft that might use 50 gal of material, such as a jet aircraft or fighter aircraft, using our product would save about 250 lbs on the aircraft as opposed to using the traditional products,” he said. “On civilian aircraft or business jets, it’s part of their sustainability strategy to have lighter-weight aircraft to achieve better fuel mileage over time.”

In addition, the rapid-cure technology allows for the material to cure in fewer than 10 hours.

Clark said the sealants were developed to meet the need for lighter-weight, fast-curing adhesives for the aerospace and other markets. He expects sales for the new products to reach $3-3.5 million this year and $6-10 million over the next few years.

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