MCS Industries Turns Catastrophe into Opportunity

New TFM Facility Combines Green Technology with Greater Outputs

(Pawcatuck, Conn.) - A devastating facility fire in April 2009 could have spelled disaster for North America's largest picture frame manufacturer, MCS Industries. The company's subsidiary corporation in northern Mexico, MCS de Mexico, burned to the ground and brought over 30 percent of the company's production to a temporary halt. Despite an uphill battle and countless challenges, MCS turned a difficult situation into a fresh start. In only eight months, a new MCS corporation, TFM, emerged from the ashes in an impressive 233,000 square-foot (21,645 square-meter) "green" facility with extensive recycling capabilities. Davis-Standard was the primary machinery supplier, equipping TFM with over 30 extruders, a sheet line, and a reclaim line to support the company's environmental initiatives and increased capacity. In less than a year since the incident, TFM is 95 percent operational and manufacturing hundreds of decorative home products in a sustainable manner.

"We were overwhelmed when the Mexico plant burned down," said Richard Master, Chairman and CEO of MCS Industries. "Instead of focusing on all the negatives of the situation, we decided to rebuild a facility that would be larger, better, faster and environmentally sustainable. Davis-Standard was an integral part of that process and exceptionally receptive. They supplied the equipment we needed under very tight deadlines. Our throughput has increased by over 10 percent, and over 50 percent of the products manufactured at TFM are made from recycled material. It has been an exciting venture across the board."

The new factory has the capacity to produce over 80,000 picture frames per day from start to finish, including coextrusion, foiling and embossing capabilities. According to Master, Davis-Standard's equipment plays a role in all of these processes and is essential to MCS's vertically integrated operation. Davis-Standard also customized the equipment and provided proprietary feedscrew technology to support TFM's aggressive recycling efforts.

All of the profiles manufactured at the new facility are made of recycled plastic. TFM has the capacity to recycle 10 million pounds of polystyrene and Styrofoam per year. To achieve this goal, MCS has established collection points where material is either compressed or melted down for transportation to the TFM facility. These materials are then mixed with additives resulting in a usable plastic pellet that can then be made into a product.

"We take materials that would ordinarily end up in a landfill and extrude them into a profile that can be laminated, embossed, and decorated to create the beautiful finishes required by sophisticated American consumers," said Dallas Kohler, Director of Engineering for MCS. "This fits in well with the green initiatives practiced by our customers, which comprise 2,000 retailers throughout North America."

Kohler noted that in addition to recycling, the energy saving features built into the facility combined with Davis-Standard's equipment have helped TFM reach power usage goals. Davis-Standard's engineering efforts and on-site operator training has helped optimize extrusion efficiencies. The facility's fluorescent lighting system with motion sensors saves enough energy to supply power to 36 average size homes. The equipment cooling system saves 720,000 gallons of water per year, enough to supply 11 average size homes. Skylights provide natural lighting during the daytime hours. These are just a few examples of sustainable manufacturing practices that make TFM and MCS proud.

"The fire was an emotional blow to our entire company," said Dave Lutz, Director of Manufacturing. "Despite the lost production, we were able to maintain everyone on our staff. This loyalty combined with the new facility has significantly improved our operation across the board. We're able to respond to customer needs even better than before, and they appreciate our commitment to social responsibility."

For more information about MCS or TFM, visit For more information about Davis-Standard's recycling, sheet or profile capabilities, visit


Luann Kupka

Marketing & Sales Administration Manager

Extrusion Systems


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