Janesville manufacturer develops 'revolutionary' paint roller
JANESVILLE — Load up that paint roller, approach the wall and completely disregard that time-honored recommendation to roll paint in a pattern of a “W.”
As you paint, don't worry about trying to remove all of the fabric fuzzies left behind, because there will be far less of them.
Those are just two of the benefits of a new paint roller fabric developed in Janesville, one its manufacturer says could revolutionize a painting process that's had few significant improvements since it debuted in the early 1940s.
Supported by more than a dozen patents, Monterey Mills has invented a seamless, collapsible paint roller fabric that it believes is better than anything on the market.
The product is so novel that it recently earned the William Cordes Innovation Award from the American Brush Manufacturers Association. The award—commonly referred to in the industry as “The Willie”—is named after the group's first president and recognizes outstanding innovation in the brush industry.
Since the 1940s, paint rollers have been manufactured in much the same way, said Dan Sinykin, president of Monterey Mills.
Fabric is knit pile-side in, then cut into long strips that are wound onto a stiff tube. The tube slides over a metal frame attached to a handle.
Monterey's new product, however, is knit pile-side out, which Sinykin said is revolutionary by itself. It's produced as a finished product that roller manufacturers can cut to length and use as they see fit.
Because the new fabric is seamless, it will be far less susceptible to shedding, he said. Because the new knitting process produces a product that comes off the machine pile-side out, it does not get distorted when a manufacturer turns it right-side out, and the grain of the fabric meets the wall in a much more perpendicular fashion. That eliminates the need to paint in “W” patterns required by spiral-wound rollers.
Sinykin also said the new material will have superior pick-up and release characteristics. In addition, it is less expensive to make.
Because it is collapsible, it is easier to ship, store and display for retailers, he said.
“It's a quantum leap,” said David Parr, executive director of the brush manufacturers association. “It's a significant deal because it involves a revolutionary way of looking at something that's been done the same way for a long time.”
Sinykin said Monterey's innovation—in the works since 2004—already has sparked considerable interest from domestic and international paint roller manufacturers. He said Monterey would not produce paint rollers, just the fabric that will make them better.
The product's future, he said, is entirely dependent on his customers who make and market the rollers.
“We supply almost everyone who makes paint rollers,” Sinykin said in reference to what amounts to about 50 percent of the company's business. “We want to better serve those who make the finished product.”
Monterey Mills has more than 60 percent of the market share on paint roller fabric, he said.
Founded in 1946, it is the largest high-pile knitting manufacturer in North America. The company supplies fabric to a variety of domestic industries and ships to more than a dozen countries.
Depending on the season, between 150 and 200 people work across two shifts at Monterey's plant on Delavan Drive.
If the new product takes off, it will undoubtedly lead to new jobs, Sinykin said. Monterey would likely need more people, he said, and the company would need 25 to 50 new knitting machines that would require contributions from several area suppliers and manufacturers.
“The economic slowdown of the past few years led us to look inward to reassess our resources and opportunities,” he said. “As the leading supplier of fabric to the paint roller industry in the United States, Monterey Mills set out to accomplish innovation in the sector we know best.
“Now, with an economic recovery in sight, Monterey Mills is well positioned to introduce an innovative process and fabric alternative to our long-term customers whose expertise in paint roller manufacturing will bring our product to the next level and ultimately to the consumer.”