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BBM eNews

July Mainhead


By Rick Mullen, Broom, Brush & Mop Associate Editor

 

Expressing confidence and optimism, executives from three manufacturers of brooms and brushes interviewed recently by Broom, Brush & Mop Magazine shared how their respective companies have prepared for a bright future.

 

A dedicated workforce, product quality and reasonable pricing are some of the foundational pillars on which each company has stood over the years. These principles were critical to the success of each company in navigating the recent recession.

 

Tucel Booth

Tucel Vice President Joanne Raleigh
and Tucel President John Lewis

 

In business for more than 40 years, Tucel Industries, Inc., of Forestdale, VT, is a leading manufacturer of a wide range of innovative hygienic cleaning tools for the foodservice, infection control, sanitary maintenance and janitorial market segments.

 

Tucel’s patented “fusion technology” in the manufacture of brush and broom products has been revolutionary in the hygienic cleaning tools field.

 

After starting the company, Tucel President and founder John Lewis, who is also a chemist, immediately set about revolutionizing how hygienic brushes, brooms and other products were made. Lewis came up with the idea of fusing bristles as opposed to stapling and, in 1969, the year prior to the founding of Tucel, received his first patent. Today, Lewis holds more than 35 U.S. patents for fusing and brush design products as well as foreign patents.

 

John Lewis

John Lewis, president and founder of Tucel.

 

“We offer brushes that are designed to clean everything — floors, walls, ceilings, machinery, toilet facilities, etc.,” Lewis said. “Some of our brushes have the cleaning materials built into the tool itself. For example, when using a Tucel Brush ’N’ Flush, the cleaning chemical comes out automatically while the brush is being used to clean a toilet.

 

“These toilet brushes contain enough chemical to clean up to 1,500 flushes.”

 

Two types of broom products offered are upright angle and push brooms.

 

“Our upright brooms are 100 percent recyclable and will last longer,” Lewis said. “We offer some push brooms that have both a soft edge and a stiff edge. The soft edge is designed to be used for everyday household cleaning. The stiff edge is designed to clean cement, concrete, car garages, shop floors, or you can ask for medium.

 

“We have some new tools as well that are mechanically driven, which helps eliminate ergonomic problems. We are developing some new floor scrubbing devises and tools that oscillate as they remove debris from surfaces.”

 

Tucel Brushes

Some of Tucel's line of brushes.

 

Tucel’s products are designed to be cost effective and heat, bacteria and chemical resistant as well as easy to clean.

 

Innovation has traditionally been the core at Tucel and the company is planning to launch some new products in the near future. New offerings will include what Lewis calls “replaceables.” These products will allow the end-user to replace the brush portion, while keeping the original handles and blocks. Lewis said the company will hopefully have some of these products on display at the next ISSA annual tradeshow in October in Chicago.

 

“We are also developing brushes that are hand-held and are designed to clean the body, such as the scalp, back and feet,” Lewis said. “Tucel has developed a new website for its body brushes, www.cleanbodyhealth.com."

 

Tucel divides its product offerings into seven basic categories. They are: Food Prep™, Equip Clean, Special Equip, Floor and Wall, Infectious Control, Sanitary Maintenance and Kits and Handles.

 

These products are designed and manufactured using Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-compliant raw materials to assure that the end-user’s job is completed quickly and efficiently with bacteria-free surfaces as the end result.

 

Vermont gets its nickname, “The Green Mountain State,” from the Green Mountain range that runs north and south for about 250 miles in the middle of the state. The Green Mountains, a favorite destination for hikers, skiers, nature lovers and vacationers, are a part of the Appalachian Mountains that stretch from Canada to Georgia.

 

In a state with such an abundance of greenery and natural beauty, environmentally friendly products and practices are a natural fit. While it would be many years after its founding that the “green” movement would go mainstream in the business world, Tucel was “green” from the beginning.

 

Tucel’s fused products are made almost exclusively with polypropylene. Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications such as plastic parts, reusable containers of various types, laboratory equipment, foodservice, and more.

 

“We do not use tampico, vegetable fiber or wood, which carry bacteria. Everything we make is basically 100 percent plastic,” Lewis said. “Because we use the right kinds of plastics and chemistry, we get a longer life out of the finished product. In addition, when the product wears out, the plastic material can be recycled."

 

“Many modern-day manufacturers are trying to reduce waste to help the environment. We have been traditionally out front in this area as our products are made of recyclable plastics.

 

“With our fusion technology, our brushes don’t require additional materials such as glues, metal, staples or wire. The fiber and the block of a Tucel brush is made out of the same plastic and there is no holding device. Therefore, every brush that Tucel manufactures is automatically recyclable. On top of that, they are all green because the chemistry is 100 percent carbon and hydrogen.”

 

Indeed, with the patented TUCEL® tufting process, the company’s fusion methods result in products that are chemically recyclable, withstand all chemical cleaning solvents and compounds and have no places for bacteria and pathogenic substances to collect.

 

According to Lewis, living and working in a clean environment is essential. Established cleaning procedures and hygienic brushes are only made possible with Tucel’s products.

 

To further protect the environment, Tucel introduced color-coding to safeguard against cross-contamination, especially in the foodservice field. Again, the color-coding concept was introduced by Tucel long before the green movement came into vogue.

 

According to Tucel’s Web site, www.tucel.com, there are two types of brush products for foodservice. They are brushes and brooms that clean the non-food surfaces in kitchens, in food processing plants and in large food, medical and chemical institutions; and those that are used directly on food for cleaning and basting cooked and pastry type foods.

 

Color-coding is used to distinguish between cleaning tools used on non-food surfaces, and those used on surfaces in direct contact with food. The color of the brush filaments is designed to alert the user to double check the danger of cross-contamination, reducing the risk of food poisoning.

 

Associations such as the FDA recommend that brushes and brooms used directly and indirectly in food preparation be color-coded. Tucel’s products are color-coded with the following suggested scheme. These are only suggestions under HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) regulations.

 

• Red: Raw product preparation contact area;

• Green: Cleaning produce and fruits;

• White: Pasteurization and food contact areas;

• Blue: Restrooms

• Yellow: Non-food contact surface areas; and

• Black: Drains and other non-food areas.

 

Tucel’s loyal, knowledgeable and dedicated employees have played a foundational role in the company’s continued success as a leader and innovator in the manufacture of broom, brush and other products.

 

“Our employees are the people who make things happen,” Lewis said. “Many have been with the company from 30 to nearly 40 years. They are excellent people and they are very good at their jobs. Our employees are No. 1, because without them we wouldn’t be here.”

 

Contact: Tucel Industries, Inc.,

2014 Forestdale Road, Forestdale, VT 05745-0146.

Phone: 802-247-0146; Fax: 802-247-6826.

Email: jlewis@tucel.com.

Website: www.tucel.com.

www.cleanbodyhealth.com.

 


 

 

Tucel Brushes

 

La Crosse Brush, Inc., of La Crosse, WI, was established in 1926. In the beginning, the company’s brushes were handmade for local industries. The company continued to grow and prosper until tragedy struck in the early 1970s.

 

“On the night of January 25, 1972, the entire plant was destroyed by fire,” said La Crosse Brush Vice President of Operations Derek Peterson. “Fortunately, the company records were saved and most of the brush making equipment was found to be repairable.

 

“With the help of dedicated employees and local volunteers, the company was able to restart in a brief period of time. Temporary quarters were rented until late 1972, when a 26,000 square-foot block building was purchased. The company is still housed in this building.

 

“La Crosse Brush is a full-line manufacturer of brooms and brushes for the industrial, janitorial, dairy, and food industries. Market strategy has been to sell our products through distributors. The company’s products are sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico.”

 

La Crosse Brush’s product lineup includes floor, street, barn, lobby and broom corn brooms. The company also offers utility, tank and vat, twisted-in-wire, wire scratch and chip brushes.

 

LaCrosseBrushes

La Crosse offers a broad assortment of brushes.

 

“All La Crosse brushes have been designed, over the many years in the brush making business, with the end application in mind,” Peterson said. “Each brush is manufactured with only the finest materials for efficient use and long-lasting performance. Although raw materials have been readily available, we continue to see price increases. All costs are scrutinized in this very competitive marketplace.”

 

Coming out of the recession years, Peterson reported that business has been improving.

 

“During the recent recession, we did see a falloff in sales,” Peterson said. “We were able to keep from downsizing during this period and, fortunately, our veteran workforce remained intact with no full-time employees being laid off.

 

“All our employees are quality and delivery conscious and are key to our success. Each employee has a complete knowledge of our products, which helps assure that only quality brooms and brushes are manufactured and delivered.”

 

In February 2006, the company purchased the assets of Ridgeview Products, LLC, also of La Crosse. Ridgeview Products was a manufacturer of brooms and brushes for the food processing and foodservice markets. Ridgeview’s machinery and equipment were moved to the La Crosse Brush facility at time of purchase. The Ridgeview name/logo are currently used as the brand name for La Crosse Brush’s food industry brushes.

 


(Continued on Top Right Column)

In May 2007, La Crosse Brush purchased the assets of Excel Brush Works, of Prairie du Chien, WI. Excel Brush had been a manufacturer of consumer and industrial brushes since 1982, which strengthened La Crosse Brush’s position in the retail market, according to Peterson. The Excel name/logo are currently used as the brand name for La Crosse Brush’s retail brush lineup.

 

“The addition of Ridgeview Products and Excel Brush Works hashelped make La Crosse Brush more efficient through additional volume and state-of-the-art equipment,” Peterson said. “La Crosse Brush has the reputation for high quality products at reasonable prices and continues to stride toward building on that reputation.

 

Excel Brush Logo

Ridgeview and Excel Brand Logos.

 

“We are optimistic about the future of U.S. made brushes. We hope our consumers continue to see the value of buying American made products.”

 

Contact: La Crosse Brush, Inc.,

3235 George St., La Crosse, WI 54603.

Phone: 608-783-3321; Toll Free; 888-683-7491;

Email: customerservice@lacrossebrush.com.

Website: www.lacrossebrush.com.

 


 

 

 

Richard Bland

Administrative Assistant Robin Friedlander

 

Founded in 1995, the not-for-profit New York City Industries for the Blind, Inc. (NYCIB), of Brooklyn, NY, has been on a mission to provide meaningful employment and training opportunities to individuals who are blind or visually impaired in the greater New York City area.

 

According to NYCIB, the national unemployment rate is more than 70 percent for people who are blind. There are about 100,000 people registered as legally blind in New York state, of which half reside in the New York City metro area.

 

While NYCIB offers products in several market segments, nearly half the products the company produces fall in the broom, brush and mop category, according to NYCIB President/CEO Richard Bland.

 

NYCIB’s janitorial/sanitation related products include upright, push and street brooms; broom handles; dust pans; counter dusters, deck, scrub, kitchen and sanitary/bowl brushes; cut-end and looped-end wet mops; dust and flat mops; mop handles; and mop buckets.

 

The company also offers microfiber products such as cloths, flat mops, flat mop pads and “scrubbies.” Other jan/san-related products include botanical disinfectants, a graffiti remover and deodorizers.

 

“We sell our products to federal prisons, to the GSA (U.S. General Services Administration), the U.S. Defense Department, military bases and VA (Veteran Administration) hospitals,” Bland said.

 

Bland explained NYCIB’s contracts with federal and state governmental agencies are a result of “set-asides” originally established in 1938 with the federal Wagner-O’Day Act.

 

Richard Bland

President/CEO Richard Bland

 

“Robert F. Wagner was a U.S. senator from New York and Caroline O’Day was a U.S. Congresswoman from New York. The Wagner-O’Day Act was one of the first set-asides to provide opportunities during the Great Depression for people who were blind.”

 

The Wagner-O’Day Act mandated that all federal agencies purchase specified supplies and services (as long as they were competitive in price, quality and delivery) from nonprofit agencies employing blind people. The Wagner-O’Day was expanded in 1971, when the U.S. Congress passed the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act. Sen. Jacob Javits led the effort to amend the older law to include persons who have other significant disabilities.

 

“Because New York state also has a set-aside program similar to the federal law, we are a supplier to the New York City (NYC) Housing Authority, NYC Transit Authority, Long Island Railroad, Metro North, state and city prisons, schools K-12 and government agencies in the state,” Bland said. “We also do sewing work on military uniforms for the U.S. Department of Defense.”

 

According to NYCIB, the company uses state-of-the-art sewing machines, including computerized/programmable machinery in all aspects of military uniform “mil spec” production.

 

NYCIB also has a unique service contract with the United States Postal Service (USPS). NYCIB receives several tractor-trailer loads of empty foreign mailbags daily from John F. Kennedy International airport. Bags are sorted by country, packed, labeled and shipped back to JFK for routing to the source countries.

 

“Countries want their mail bags returned,” Bland said. “The bags get jumbled and need to be sorted. We have been performing this service for more than 10 years. The people at the distribution center love this service. It saves them a ton of money, and it meets our mission of creating jobs for blind people.”

 

While NYCIB was formed by Bland in 1996, its manufacturing history can be traced back some 90 years.

 

“The fundamental broom, brush and mop business that we now have was once a part of an organization in New York City called the Lighthouse,” Bland said. “Lighthouse had operated a program for blind people, making mops, brooms, and brushes, since 1905. In 1995, the management of that organization decided it no longer wanted to operate a manufacturing facility. I was the general manager of the Lighthouse manufacturing operation. I disagreed with the decision; so, I resigned and set up this organization. As Lighthouse shut down its manufacturing operation department by department over six months, I arranged to buy all its equipment and inventory. I hired back all the people and continued what was then a 90-year-old operation. As a result, while NYCIB is only 16 years old, it basically has a 106-year-old history.”

 

NYCIB leases 150,000 square-feet in a large building in Brooklyn. NYCIB’s operation spans four floors of the facility. While the floor plan may not offer the best in operational efficiency, it is typical of the type of manufacturing space in the country’s largest metro area.

 

“It is extremely difficult in New York City to find a building with ample floor space, 20-foot ceilings, etc.,” Bland said. “Many manufacturers have left the New York City area for less expensive production elsewhere. We remain here because this is where the people we serve live. Blind people want jobs here in New York, so we have to be here. We are the only facility in the New York City metropolitan area with the mission of putting blind and visually-impaired people to work.”

 

Bland said one of the biggest misconceptions he has had to deal with concerning the blind is that when many people hear or read the word “blind,” they think it means that a person cannot see a thing.

 

According to the American Optometric Association’s website, “20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If a person has 20/20 vision, he or she can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet.

 

“20/20 does not necessarily mean perfect vision. 20/20 vision only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance. There are other important vision skills, including peripheral awareness or side vision, eye coordination, depth perception, focusing ability and color vision that contribute to a person’s overall visual ability.”

 

“There is the concept of 20/20 vision and there’s the concept of being legally blind, which is 20/200,” Bland said. “People can be classified as legally blind if, with the use of corrective lenses, their vision is no better than 20/200.

 

“There are other visual problems that also affect some legally blind people. There is a condition called RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa) that is commonly known as tunnel vision. People with tunnel vision have less than a 15-degree field of view. We have some people here that when looking straight ahead have 20/20 vision, but they cannot see a person standing next to them.

 

“Our challenge in manufacturing is to find the right jobs for people based on what vision they have and their manual skill dexterity.”

 

Currently, about 200 employees comprise NYCIB’s workforce. Bland calls the company’s dedicated and loyal staff the “backbone” of the organization.

 

“We train and cross-train employees to make sure they can operate a variety of machines,” Bland said. “Each person is responsible to make certain his or her performance and productivity meets standards. We rely on each person’s personal commitment to quality.

 

“NYCIB is ISO 9001 certified, which we earned a little more than a year ago. We are scheduled for recertification in July. Our policies, procedures, purchasing, manufacturing control and inventory control are as up-to-date as possible.”

 

According to www.iso.org, the ISO 9000 family of standards represents an international consensus on good quality management practices. It consists of standards and guidelines relating to quality management systems and related supporting standards.

 

“Blind people are many times the last ones to get an opportunity for employment,” Bland said. “There is dignity in work. During the economic downturn of recent years, many Americans have either experienced or know someone who has experienced the gut-wrenching effects of being unemployed.

 

“For the blind population who often have a terrible time finding that first job, when given a chance, they are probably the most loyal, dedicated, proud people you can find as a workforce. They are thrilled to have a job and to be able to pay taxes.”

 

Bland told the story of one legally blind employee, Gilbert Velez, who recently announced he was retiring after 46 years in manufacturing.

 

Richard Bland

Gilbert Velez is retiring after 46 years in manufacturing.

 

“He can make every kind of brush and broom there is in the industry,” Bland said. “He can operate every one of the machines. Velez is proud of his work and he will tell you, ‘I make the best brooms in the world.’ There is a real sense of pride among our employees.”

 

As protecting the environment has become an integral part of doing business these days, NYCIB is aware of the various “green” issues and incorporates eco-friendly practices in its operation. For example, when purchasing wood products for its manufacturing operation, NYCIB makes sure all the regulations and certifications regarding wood products are met.

 

“Many of our government customers are in tune to issues related to the ‘green’ field. With wood products, we make certain to provide customers with information concerning where the wood comes from and that it meets all the applicable requirements and certifications.

 

“Internally, we have waste control procedures in place to reduce what we send to the landfill.”

 

In speaking of raw materials, Bland reported that in the past year, prices have been somewhat stable. In addition, the quality and availability of raw materials the company uses have been good.

 

While NYCIB has a somewhat ready-made customer base among governmental entities, the company still works hard to take care of existing customers and to find new business in both the government and commercial marketplaces.

 

Bland reported that the company’s growth in recent times and into the future has been, and will likely continue to be, in areas other than the broom, brush and mop segments.

 

“We feel very positive about the future. There are a number of new business directions that we are developing separate from the broom, brush, mop segments,” Bland said. “Brooms, brushes and mops will become a smaller percentage of our total business in the future. However, we do not plan to ever walk away from making brooms, brushes and mops, because currently we have more blind people working in this segment than any other division.”

 

NYCIB takes great pride that its products are made in America. Bland said he has noticed a heightened interest in “made in America” products.

 

“We are proud to label our products ‘made in America,’” Bland said. “We are also happy to be a part of the broom, brush and mop industry.”

 

Contact: New York City Industries for the Blind, Inc.,
3611 14th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11218.
Phone: 718-854-7300; Fax: 718-854-2700.

Email: rbland@nycib.org.

Website: www.nycib.org.


 

Raw Material Imports Down, Finished Goods Imports Up

— Exports Mostly Up

import

 

By Rick Mullen, Broom, Brush & Mop Associate Editor

 

U.S. government trade figures for the first quarter of 2012 indicate raw material imports were down in three of the four categories outlined in this issue, compared to the first quarter of 2011. For March 2012, raw material imports were also down in three of the four categories outlined, compared to March 2011.

 

Import totals for the first quarter of 2012 were up in four of the seven finished goods categories outlined from the same time period in 2011. In March 2012, five of the seven categories outlined recorded increases, compared to March 2011.

 

RAW MATERIAL IMPORTS


Hog Bristle

The United States imported 8,980 kilograms of hog bristle in March 2012, down 24 percent from 11,766 kilograms imported in March 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, 74,837 kilograms of hog bristle were imported, a 13 percent decrease from 86,364 kilograms imported during the first quarter of 2011.

 

China sent 74,166 kilograms of hog bristle to the United States during the first quarter of 2012, while Thailand exported the remainder.

 

The average price per kilogram for March 2012 was $12.77, down 30 percent from the average price per kilogram for March 2011 of $18.20. The average price per kilogram for the first quarter of 2012 was $9.77, down 7 percent from $10.56 per kilogram for the first quarter of 2011.

 

Broom And Mop Handles

The import total of broom and mop handles during March 2012 was 1.2 million, down 20 percent from 1.5 million for March 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, 3.4 million broom and mop handles were imported, down 32 percent from 5 million for the first quarter of 2011.

 

During the first quarter of 2012, the United States received 1 million broom and mop handles from Honduras, 951,781 from Brazil and 786,020 from China.

 

The average price per handle for March 2012 was 67 cents, down 7 percent from the average price for March 2011 of 72 cents. The average price for the first quarter of 2012 was 79 cents, up 3 percent from 77 cents for the first quarter of 2011.

 

Brush Backs

March 2012 imports of brush backs totaled 805,805, up 24 percent from the March 2011 total of 651,671 brush backs. During the first quarter of 2012, 1.9 million brush backs were imported, up 46 percent from 1.3 million for the first quarter of 2011.

 

Sri Lanka shipped 1.3 million brush backs to the United States during the first quarter of 2012, while Canada shipped 586,279.

 

The average price per brush back was 51 cents during March 2012, down 4 percent from the average price for March 2011 of 53 cents. For the first quarter of 2012, the average price per brush back was 48 cents, down 8 percent from the average of the first quarter of 2011 of 52 cents.


 

Metal Handles

The import total of metal handles during March 2012 was 1.7 million, down 39 percent from 2.8 million for March 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, 4.3 million metal handles were imported, down 47 percent from 8.1 million for the first quarter of 2011.

 

During the first quarter of 2012, Italy shipped 2.3 million metal handles to the United States, while China sent 1.5 million.

 

The average price per handle for March 2012 was 71 cents, up 15 percent from 62 cents for March 2011. The average price for the first quarter of 2012 was 87 cents, up 21 percent from 72 cents for the first quarter of 2011.


 

FINISHED GOODS IMPORTS


Brooms Of Broom Corn

Valued At Less Than 96 Cents

Imports of brooms of broom corn valued at less than 96 cents per broom during March 2012 totaled 47,388, up 439 percent from 8,796 brooms imported during March 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, 88,200 brooms of broom corn were imported, compared to 11,376 imported during the first quarter of 2011.

 

Mexico sent 57,180 brooms to the United States during the first quarter of 2012 while China shipped 31,020.

 

The average price per broom in March 2012 was 96 cents, up 14 percent from 84 cents for March 2011. The average price per broom for the first quarter of 2012 was 91 cents, up 10 percent from the average price for the first quarter of 2011 of 83 cents.

 

Brooms Of Broom Corn

Valued At More Than 96 Cents

The United States imported 611,473 brooms of broom corn valued at more than 96 cents per broom during March 2012, down 28 percent from 848,359 for March 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, 1.9 million brooms of broom corn were imported, down 5 percent from 2 million for the first quarter of 2011.

 

Mexico shipped 1.8 million brooms to the United States during the first quarter of 2012.

 

The average price per broom for March 2012 was $2.47, down 3 percent from the average price for March 2011 of $2.55. The average price per broom for the first quarter of 2012 was $2.45, down 1 percent from $2.48 for the first quarter of 2011.

 

Brooms & Brushes Of Vegetable Material

The import total of brooms and brushes of vegetable material during March 2012 was 88,914, up 4 percent from 85,248 brooms and brushes imported during March 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, 420,405 brooms and brushes were imported, up 6 percent from 396,744 imported during the first quarter of 2011.

 

Sri Lanka exported 208,301 brooms and brushes to the United States during the first quarter of 2012, while China sent 88,503.

 

The average price per unit for March 2012 was $1.39, up 27 percent from $1.12 for March 2011. The average price for the first quarter of 2012 was $1.20, a decrease of 6 percent from the average price recorded for the first quarter of 2011 of $1.27.

 

Toothbrushes

The United States imported 91.4 million toothbrushes in March 2012, up 47 percent from 62.3 million imported in March 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, 281.7 million toothbrushes were imported, an increase of 29 percent from 218.8 million imported during the first quarter of 2011.

 

China sent 218.6 million toothbrushes to the United States during the first quarter of 2012. Also shipping toothbrushes to the United States were Switzerland at 18.7 million and Vietnam at 17 million.

 

The average price per toothbrush for March 2012 was 20 cents, down 17 percent from the average price for March 2011 of 24 cents. The average price for the first quarter of 2012 was 18 cents, down 14 percent from 21 cents for the first quarter of 2011.

 

Hairbrushes

The United States imported 3.1 million hairbrushes in March 2012, up 41 percent from 2.2 million imported in March 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, 13.4 million hairbrushes were imported, up 26 percent from 10.6 million imported during the first quarter of 2011.

 

China sent 13.2 million hairbrushes to the United States during the first quarter of 2012.

 

 

(Continued on Top Right Column)



The average price per hairbrush for March 2012 was 26 cents, the same as the average price for March 2011. The average price for the first quarter of 2012 was 25 cents, down 11 percent from 28 cents for the first quarter of 2011.


Shaving Brushes

The United States imported 3.5 million shaving brushes in March 2012, down 53 percent from 7.5 million imported in March 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, 16.7 million shaving brushes were imported, down 41 percent from 28.5 million imported during the first quarter of 2011.

 

China sent 9.5 million shaving brushes to the United States during the first quarter of 2012, while Mexico sent 4.2 million and Germany exported 1.6 million.

 

The average price per shaving brush for March 2012 was 15 cents, up 25 percent from the average price for March 2011 of 12 cents. The average price for the first quarter of 2012 was 13 cents, up 1 cent from the average price for the first quarter of 2011.

 

Paintbrushes

U.S. companies imported 18.6 million paintbrushes during March 2012, up 60 percent from 11.6 million paintbrushes imported during March 2011. Paintbrush imports for the first quarter of 2012 were 47.9 million, down 1 percent from 48.6 million recorded for the first quarter of 2011.

 

China shipped 37.7 million paintbrushes to the United States during the first quarter of 2012 while Indonesia shipped 9.4 million.

 

The average price per paintbrush for March 2012 was 27 cents, down 29 percent from 38 cents for March 2011. The average price for the first quarter of 2012 was 29 cents, down 12 percent from the average price for the first quarter of 2011 of 33 cents.

 

EXPORTS

 

Export totals for the first quarter of 2012 were up in three of the five categories outlined, compared to the first quarter of 2011, with one category reporting the same total for both time periods. In March 2012, three of the five categories outlined reported increases in exports, compared to March 2011.

 

Brooms & Brushes Of Vegetable Materials

The United States exported 8,838 dozen brooms and brushes of vegetable materials during March 2012, up 48 percent from the March 2011 total of 5,968 dozen. Exports of brooms and brushes of vegetable materials during the first quarter of 2012 were 50,601 dozen, up 138 percent from 21,254 dozen for the first quarter of 2011.

 

The United States sent 30,101 dozen brooms and brushes to Brazil during the first quarter of 2012 and 8,065 dozen to Canada.

 

The average price per dozen brooms and brushes was $43.40 in March 2012, up 26 percent from $34.41 for March 2011. The average price per dozen brooms and brushes for the first quarter of 2012 was $35.01, a decrease of 48 percent from the average price per dozen for the first quarter of 2011 of $67.27.

 

Toothbrushes

During March 2012, the United States exported 14.8 million toothbrushes, up 103 percent from the total recorded in March 2011 of 7.3 million. During the first quarter of 2012, 34.3 million toothbrushes were exported, up 38 percent from 24.9 million exported during the first quarter of 2011.

 

The United States exported 15.3 million toothbrushes to Canada during the first quarter of 2012, while sending 4.4 million toothbrushes to Mexico and 3.4 million to Ireland.

 

The average price per toothbrush for March 2012 was 45 cents, down 30 percent from the average price for March 2011 of 64 cents. The average price per toothbrush for the first quarter of 2012 was 52 cents, down 7 percent from 56 cents for the first quarter of 2011.

 

Shaving Brushes

The United States exported 2.5 million shaving brushes during March 2012, down 42 percent from 4.3 million for March 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, 8.5 million shaving brushes were exported, up 18 percent from 7.2 million during the first quarter of 2011.

 

Mexico imported 5.6 million shaving brushes from the United States during the first quarter of 2012, while Brazil imported 834,522.

 

The average price per shaving brush for March 2012 was 56 cents, up 56 percent from 36 cents for March 2011. The average price for the first quarter of 2012 was 50 cents, up 4 percent from 48 cents recorded for the first quarter of 2011.

 

Artist brushes

The United States exported 826,004 artist brushes during March 2012, up 2 percent from 808,386 artist brushes exported for March 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, 2.1 million artist brushes were exported, the same as during the first quarter of 2011.

 

Canada imported 1.3 million artist brushes from the United States during the first quarter of 2012, while The United Kingdom imported 274,534.

 

The average price per artist brush for March 2012 was $3.04, up 24 percent from $2.45 for March 2011. The average price for the first quarter of 2012 was $2.94, up 7 percent from $2.75 recorded for the first quarter of 2011.

 

Paintbrushes

The export total of paintbrushes during March 2012 was 212,294, down 18 percent from 259,525 paintbrush exports recorded for March 2011. During the first quarter of 2012, 513,749 paintbrushes were exported, down 7 percent from 555,211 during the first quarter of 2011.

 

Canada imported 315,031 paintbrushes from the United States during the first quarter of 2012.

 

The average price per paintbrush for March 2012 was $10.82, down 3 percent from $11.19 for March 2011. The average price for the first quarter of 2012 was $11.27, up 7 percent from $10.50 recorded for the first quarter of 2011.

 

Exports

Click here for entire March Export/Import Statistics

 


deal

U.S. Imports 64 Short Tons

Of Broom Corn In March, April

 

By Harrell Kerkhoff, Broom, Brush & Mop Editor

 

A total of 64 short tons of broom corn was imported into the United States during the two-month period of March and April, 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. All broom corn imports for the two months arrived from Mexico.

 

During March, 51 short tons of broom corn were imported, with a total value of $99,533. The average cost per ton for the month was $1,952 (98 cents per pound). Meanwhile, 13 short tons of imported broom corn arrived into the United States during April. Total value of this import, according to the government, was $11,060, with a cost per ton average of $851 (43 cents per pound).

 

After the first four months of 2012, a total of 175 short tons of broom corn was reportedly imported into the United States. All came from Mexico. Total value of is import was $441,305, with a cost per ton average of $2,522 ($1.26 per pound). In comparison, after the first four months of 2011, a total of 227 short tons of broom corn had entered the United States. Total value of this import was $464,613, with a cost per ton average of $2,047 ($1.02 per pound).

 

All three broom corn dealers interviewed for this report felt that the government’s import figures for March and April were suspect, especially the total value reported during each month.

 

Bart Pelton

 

 

Bart Pelton, of PelRay International, LLC, in San Antonio,TX, said he had no idea how the government could come up with the average price for imported broom corn being under $1 per pound. He also felt there was probably more broom corn imported during the two-month period than 64 short tons.


“The tonnage for March (at 51 short tons) looks about right, but April’s figure of just 13 short tons looks pretty light to me,” Pelton said.

 

When interviewed on June 15, Pelton reported that the first Torreon harvest of the year in Mexico is about to begin. He added that most sources indicate the crop is expected to be on the small size regarding total tonnage harvested.

 

“(Mexican) broom corn prices are up from what was being paid last year at this time,” Pelton said. “There should be more broom corn available to purchase once the harvest gets going. The heaviest part of this harvest will probably be during the first two weeks in July and then it should start tapering off. It’s hard to say right now (as of mid-June) just how much new broom corn grown in Torreon will be available, and at what price range.

 

“The good news is that higher Mexican broom corn prices could provide farmers there with an extra incentive to plant more broom corn for the second Torreon crop. This would be harvested later in 2012.”

 

Pelton said there is still some carry-over broom corn available from last year’s Mexican crops, but that this material is heavy to insides.

 

“Hurl is currently in tight supply (among processors) in Cadereyta. Most of these processors insist that you buy some insides to go with the hurl,” Pelton said.

 

Concerning yucca fiber that is also used to make many natural brooms, Pelton reported in mid-June of a price hike for the material. The market for this crop, however, has remained generally stable.

 

One issue in Mexico that is not stable concerns ongoing trouble with security and violence, especially in northern Mexico. This includes the regions around Torreon, Cadereyta and Monterrey — all important areas within the Mexican broom corn industry.

 

“I did hear from one broom manufacturer representative who reported that the violence threat has become a little bit better. There will be a presidential election in Mexico (on July 1). We will see if strategy changes any regarding how the Mexican government handles the violence issue after the election is completed,” Pelton said.


He added that overall business at his company has been holding up well. This has been aided by seasonal increases in demand.

 

 

 

(Continued on Top Right Column)

 

Richard Caddy

Richard Caddy

 

Richard Caddy, of R.E. Caddy & Co., Inc., in Greensboro, NC, also felt that the reported value of imported Mexican broom corn for March and April was way too low.

 

“I expected more broom corn to be imported during those two months as well. I don’t think there was only 13 short tons of broom corn that entered the United States during April,” Caddy said.

 

Looking ahead, Caddy expects to receive newly harvested broom corn from the Torreon region sometime in July. Until then, he is mostly reliant on selling broom corn grown in 2011.

 

“The quality of this carry-over broom corn is still reasonable. I can get everything that I need (from the carry-over) right now except for raw broom corn, which I like to purchase for craft broom makers,” he said. “I don’t know how much broom corn was planted in the Torreon region this spring for the first crop, but I’m not real optimistic that the harvest will be large.”

 

When interviewed on June 18, Caddy said Mexican broom corn pricing has increased a bit due to supply and demand. He expects Mexican broom corn processors will continue to run low on inventory until the first Torreon harvest starts to produce needed material.

 

“Broom corn pricing is firm right now. On the bright side, if pricing stays high it could encourage more broom corn planting for the second Torreon crop,” Caddy said. “There are a lot of insides available right now, probably more than what the market really needs. However, I’m not drastically out of balance between insides and hurl (at R.E. Caddy & Co.).”

 

When asked about yucca fiber, Caddy reported that pricing went up a couple of months ago and has stayed firm ever since. Quality, however, remains good.

 

Overall, he added, business at his company has been “fairly brisk” after a slower period that was experienced in April.

 

“Normally, business during the spring and summer months is pretty good regarding the markets we serve,” Caddy said. “Since so many of our customers sell to big box stores, we are dependent somewhat on how these stores do (with their sales.) This can skew
our level of business in both a good
and bad way.”

 

Tim Monahan

Tim Monahan

 

Tim Monahan, of The Thomas Monahan Co., in Arcola, IL, felt the same way as Pelton that Mexican broom corn import values for March and April were off.

 

“It’s possible that the entire 13 short tons imported in April were all raw broom corn, but those monthly figures still don’t look correct,” he said. “The cost per pound of 43 cents for April is pretty cheap (to believe).”

 

He noted in mid-June that the first 2012 broom corn harvest in Torreon is expected to begin shortly. However, it remains very difficult to know how much broom corn to expect from this harvest, or how much broom corn was actually planted this past spring.

 

“We don’t have people traveling around in (the Torreon region) right now to report on the broom corn situation. This is due to security concerns. Instead, we have to get our information from third- and fourth-hand sources,” Monahan said. “It’s anybody’s guess if security will get better after the (Mexican) presidential election takes place.”

 

On the subject of yucca fiber, he added that several processors have closed down, and that there remains little movement regarding this fiber as of late.



Zephyr Announces New Easy Flo™ Bucketless Mop

 

Zephyr Manufacturing has announced the addition of the Easy Flo™ Bucketless Mop to its line of microfiber products. Company officials say the product is the perfect companion to Zephyr’s microfiber damp mop pads.

 

For use, spray chemical directly on the floor with a simple squeeze of the ergonomic palm trigger. The attached 28-ounce bottle can be swapped out to change chemicals, and will cover up to 3,000 square feet of floor space.

 

For more information on microfiber and Zephyr’s offering of hard floor care products, visit www.zephyrmfg.com.

 

 

Zephyr's Easy Flo Bucketless Mop

The Easy Flo from Zephyr is a bucketless mop cleaning up to 3,000 square feet of floor space.

 



Wooster Introduces New Bravo Stainer™ Brushes

 

According to Wooster, when oils were the only choice in stains, there was also only one option in brushes — natural bristle. As water-based coatings continue to expand in numbers on store shelves, they may present challenges for bristle brush users.

 

New Bravo Stainer™ brushes from The Wooster Brush Company, of Wooster, OH, are formulated for water- and oil-based stains, sealers, and wood toners. Wooster says its balance of 50 percent soft white bristle and 50 percent firm brown polyester is good for providing quick and even coverage.

 

The polyester holds its stiffness in water-based coatings, while the bristle component improves capacity and finish quality.

 

 

Wooster Bravo Stainer Brushes

Wooster's new Bravo Stainer Brushes.

 

 

Bravo Stainer brushes have threaded handles that can be easily replaced with an extension pole. This feature is great for coating hard-to-reach areas on decks, siding and more. Bravo Stainer brushes also include a metal clip to attach the brush to a bucket or can for reduced dripping.

 

Original white bristle Bravo Stainer brushes for oil-based products (catalog number F5116) and new bristle/polyester for all coatings (catalog number F5119) are both available in 4, 4 3/4, and 5 1/2-inch sizes.

 

The Wooster Bravo Stainer line can be found at traditional paint and decorating centers, hardware stores, and paint sundry distributors and retailers.

 


Visit www.woosterbrush.com for more information.

 



PFERD Offers New Generation Of Grinding/Finishing Technology

 


PFERD INC. recently introduced the CC-Grind Solid to its SG Performance Line of grinding discs. This tool offers quality stock removal when grinding steel.

 

CC-Grind Solid is also available in an INOX version which also offers similar performance value when grinding stainless steel. In addition to their grinding power, both new discs also work with 50 percent less noise and vibration, according to PFERD.

 

Spokespeople say that even with 100 percent increased grinding effectiveness, the new CC-Grind Solid discs are as sturdy and safe as any reinforced grinding wheel; and with their special flange clamping set, they are also able to work at optimal position on all standard angle grinders. Cooling slits in these clamping flanges and their geometric design ensure a high air flow. This reduces the thermal load on the grinding agent as well as on the workpiece itself.

 

CC Grind Solid

The CC Grind Solid from PFERD.

 

 

PFERD says they are ideal for edge grinding as well as weld-seam dressing. The heavy-duty construction of the CC-Grind Solid even makes them suitable for very rough grinding applications. However, they are not recommended for circumferential grinding such as on root-pass welds in pipeline construction.

 

Both the steel and INOX versions are available in 115mm, 125mm and 180mm diameters which work at maximum RPM speeds of 8,500 to 13,300 — depending on the diameter.

 

For more information and a free copy of the CC-Grind Solid data sheet, email solutions@pferdusa.com, call 1-800-342-9015, or visit www.pferdusa.com and click on “new products.”

 

PFERD INC. is the U.S. subsidiary of August Rüggeberg GmbH & Co., of Marienheide, Germany, a 213-year-old leader in the design and manufacture of quality abrasive products, cutting tools, brushes and power tools. ADVANCE BRUSH is a subsidiary of PFERD INC.

 

 

 

July 2012 Calendar