We have not seen the official statement yet from PolyOne, but the Rutland ink facility in Pineville, NC is apparently closing. This may have been accelerated by the current pandemic and economic recession, but has been rumored since PolyOne acquired Rutland in June 2017, three years ago. There is considerable overlap between the PolyOne previously owned Wilflex ink line and the Rutland ink line, and apparently all the functions of both companies will be moved to the Kennesaw, Georgia facility where Wilflex is headquartered.
For example a view of the Polyone website has these lines: “Wilflex is a leading brand of specialty screen printing inks with a focus on total ink-room management, providing the most efficient, cost-effective environment possible.” and then “Rutland is a leading brand of specialty screen printing inks for the textile industry with a strong commitment to making the screen printing process easier, more attractive and more profitable for customers.” Throw in the description of their ink line QCM: “QCM is a trusted brand of cost-effective, high quality inks for one of the most recognizable products in the world, the printed t-shirt.” It isn’t hard to see the reason for consolidation of the manufacture of these ink lines under one roof.
Apparently some employees will relocate to Georgia, but many will lose their jobs including many folks we are all familiar with working with. That is really a part of these times we live in right now.
Rutland was founded in 1962 in Pineville, NC. In the 1980’s they were in the vanguard of ink development for high speed quality automatic printing. Grace Lovitt has now passed away a couple years ago, but she made a great company and started a process that took Rutland to where we are now, one of the premier ink brands in the world, now backed by a company that is highly professional and has a solid international presence. While perhaps not as innovative, the mixing system, the way the inks do not cause build-up on the back of screens, and the absolute consistency of manufacture are what for many of us make it our go-to ink and if anything those strong points are stronger than ever. There also was a personal touch to the company and tech support that had survived from the early days that one has to wonder if it will continue into this new era, that certainly will be a challenge for them going forward.
It’s so sad to see Rutland, a truly industry leading company lose it’s identity, and to have so many great people who gave their all to Rutland lose their jobs at one of the most challenging employment markets in modern history.
Unfortunately, the consolidation of the Rutland Group into the PolyOne Organization, owner of the Wilflex, Aquarius, and Zodiac screen-printing ink brands isn’t being done to focus technology development toward the betterment of the garment decorating industry.
I fully understand the motivation of PolyOne in consolidating their multiple operations into a single facility to optimize the value of the investment that was made several years ago. At the end of the day the actions that PolyOne is taking is what they had to do in the best interests of their shareholders.
With that said, it’s not helping me get over the hurt that some really great people and personal friends have been cast off from a company to which they were totally dedicated, only to end up on the unemployment line.
I fully understand the motivation too…..
Maybe this decision was taken because you north americans say WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND…. Did I write it right???
and maybe this act will not give anything back to my kids but now I know that you will understand how they felt…
I’m in line with Peter Walsh comments, including my full understanding for the reasons determining such a decision. Rutland was an important player on the market and has generated a good competition able to let both the Brand growing up in harmony with their industry of reference. Both the ink technologies allowed many of us to make the difference in their specific field and both, Rutland and Wilflex have became effective International screen-printing milestones. Is not me who has to judge this decision, I can just say that this decision will have 2 strong impacts on the industry: 1. The reduction of the cultural and professional plurality . 2. Loss of the competences and of the visions of whom “have eaten “ink for many years.
Mr. and Mrs. Rutland started the company as a small shop. As the story goes she delivered the first containers of ink in the trunk of their Cadillac. Mr. Rutland (6’+) said it resembled a mafia exchange until little 4’ Mrs. Rutland stepped out with the order! I started at Rutland Feb 21, 1981 and moved on in 1999. I was sad when Mr. and Mrs. Rutland passed and once again I am sad to hear of the news about the company closing. I spent 18 innovative years with two of the best, Grace Lovitt, Sales Manager and Al Tadros, Chemist, along with all my many industry friends with whom I spent countless hours chatting and brainstorming new concepts in printing (inks)! I hope somehow the legacy of Rutland can live on.
Hi Genevieve! I learned so much from you back in the day, nice to hear from you!!!