Selecterra, based in Chicago, has introduced, its collaboration and marketplace Web site for buyers and sellers in the specialty-converting industry. Specialty converting comprises a $40-billion niche of the entire $200-billion converting industry.

Selecterra reports that more than 200 specialty converters registered as members in the early registration period — exceeding the company’s forecast by 100 percent. In addition, several major materials suppliers have signed on to participate, including 3M, RotoMetrics, Rexam Release, Rogers Corp., Tekra Corp., FLEXcon, Mark Andy, Dunsirn Industries and Tribex Corp. (See sidebar starting below.)

The newly launched site is designed to provide converters with the tools and resources needed to specify, select and order the tapes, label stocks, foams, films, inks and plastics needed to meet customer-application needs. These resources include extensive multi-vendor catalogs; simplified product selection; online order entry, processing and tracking; and a Directory of Specialty Converters for OEMs and other end users.

According to Ty Silberhorn, Selecterra’s founder, president and CEO, “Finding the right materials to meet customer requirements has long been a time-consuming and difficult challenge for converters, especially those in the small- to mid-market where there may be limited access to suppliers and their technical resources. Selecterra provides a solution that helps level the playing field by making material and specification information from industry-leading materials suppliers, as well as online transactions, instantly available to registered users.

“Our initial goal is to facilitate specialty converters’ entry into e-business without their having to invest in massive technology infrastructures,” Silberhorn continues. “As Selecterra grows, we plan to expand our content and services, adding richer and deeper functionality that will expand the market and save time and money for both converters and suppliers. With Forrester Research forecasting growth of business-to-business e-commerce to $2.7 trillion by 2004, Selecterra is a pioneer in bringing e-marketplace technology to the industry. Our ultimate goal is to lead the way in revolutionizing the industry’s procurement and supply-chain dynamics.”

Of the new online marketplace, Dave Hanson, 3M’s director of Converter Markets, notes, “Industry marketplaces such as Selecterra will increase the ease with which customers can find our products, enhance our exposure in the industry and provide valuable industry information to specialized segments of the converting industry.”

Harry Kenworthy, vice president of Rogers Corp.’s High Performance Elastomers Division, adds, “Selecterra will benefit all parties involved — converters, material suppliers and end-user customers. We are excited about the potential of Selecterra. It’s a one-stop shop for the specialty-converting market. With the quality of companies involved and the range of products that will be sold through the site, Selecterra will fill a great need in the specialty-converting marketplace.”

Benefits to Converters, Suppliers and End Users

The specialty-converting industry is a marketplace composed of companies that add value to bulk industrial materials to create custom components such as consumer-goods product labels, adhesive gaskets, appliance and telephone keypads, and more. Industries served by specialty converters include electronics, automotive, medical and pharmaceutical, consumer goods, telecommunications, aerospace and transportation. Specialty converters include:

  • Membrane-switch manufacturers,

  • Tape fabricators,

  • Label printers,

  • Screen printers, and

  • Foam and gasket fabricators.

    “The common denominator for these converters are pressure sensitive adhesives, so PSAs are the core of our offering through our marketplace,” says Silberhorn.

    With application requirements across the specialty-converting industries being so diverse, Selecterra will help converters enhance their technical expertise and workflow productivity by offering 24/7 access to technical information, rapid matching of materials to requirements, instant access to world-class suppliers and automated ordering for timely fulfillment.

    Likewise, OEMs and other end users can access Selecterra’s information database in the product-design stage to help shorten the development cycle. Through Selecterra’s comprehensive Converter Directory, they can then source the best converter for their job.

    For suppliers posting their product catalogs on Selecterra, benefits include access to new markets, cross-selling opportunities, lower cost of customer acquisition, and reduced transaction and servicing costs.

About Selecterra

Selecterra combines in-depth experience in the specialty-converting industry with best-in-class e-commerce technologies to create the industry’s first independent online marketplace. The Web-based exchange provides a collaborative workspace for fast, efficient e-business process management for specialty converters, their suppliers and end-user customers. Selecterra’s dynamic platform delivers end-to-end supply-chain management solutions, from online procurement, financial settlement, logistics, and customer relationship management (CRM) to back-end integration to enterprise systems.

For more information, contact Matt Palma, Selecterra, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 1370, Chicago, IL 60606; call 312-499-8200; fax 312-499-8299; e-mail; or visit