How do foamers decide which equipment to buy when they are expanding? Vita Group’s Nick Wood spoke to Simon Robinson about a recent purchase.
The flexible polyurethane foam industry in the north-west of England owes a debt to the founders of cotton-spinning businesses in the 19th century. These entrepreneurs realised the damp conditions, and the ready supply of water, coal and labour, made it the ideal location to build cotton-spinning mills.
When the markets for British-spun cotton evaporated in the 1950s, some of these factories were taken over by flexible foam companies like the Vita Group, which also needed people and space.
There is a challenge, though. The factories were not designed for polyurethane production, and some imagination is required when working out how to fit plant, conveyors and storage at both ends of the process together on these sites.
We need more capacity
Nick Wood, operations director at Vita Group’s Middleton, Manchester facility said his company realised a new production line was going to be required about five or six years ago. ‘We saw a spike in volumes in 2013,’ he said.
‘We researched the market and saw that the bedding industry in the UK was going through a significant transformation from spring- to foam-based mattresses. This wasn’t noticeable for individual bedding retailers, but a 1% swing was…