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Small Business Spotlight: Newtex Industries

February 20, 2019 09:24 PM

VICTOR, N.Y. (WHEC) -- When things start really heating up and you need protection from extreme conditions, it's good to know there's a company like Newtex Industries.

For more than 40 years, the Victor-based business has been developing products to withstand the most intense heat. 

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Jerry Joliet is the CEO of Newtex.

"At our core, we're a textile company," said Joliet. "We are a maker of high-temperature fabric for insulation, fire protection, and heat shielding."

Recently, Joliet gave News10NBC a tour of the factory and showed us first-hand how their products withstand something as blistering hot as a red-hot metal pipe. 

Newtex was started by Joliet's father-in-law, Bal Dixit, in 1978 after he saw a need for a product to replace asbestos. Dixit found that textured glass yarn could mimic the properties of asbestos.

Glass yarn is loaded onto racks -- then entangled to make them thicker. They are then pulled together into rolls which are run through one of their 13 weaving machines. 

The fabric is then coated with a proprietary application for added temperature resistance. The rolls are then sold to clients like military contractors for shipbuilding or to fabricators.

But Newtex also makes fire containment covers for air cargo and large fire-resistant curtains.

News10NBC's Brett Davidsen: "Where would we find some of those curtains? Who are some of your customers?"

Jerry Joliet: "Like, Carnegie Hall, you'd probably find a Newtex fire curtain."

Newtex may be best known for its protective apparel. Gloves, mitts, and fire entry suits are stitched together on site.

"This is where we make the hard protection that allows you to handle things in foundries or metal industries," said Joliet, showing us the sewing operation. "These materials prevent flame penetration and they also spread heat and they insulate."

Newtex also recently began making some consumer products as well -- including fire pit mats and hoverboard cases. 

Newtex employs 50 people at the Victor manufacturing plant.

They also have smaller sewing operations in Kentucky and California, and distributors abroad. Joliet says business has grown, thanks in-part to a boom in oil and gas exploration. 

Jerry Joliet: "We have a backlog we're trying to climb out from under, a little too much of a backlog right now."

Brett Davidsen: "I guess that's a good problem to have."

Jerry Joliet: "It's a good problem to have. The last few years have been really strong."

The fabrics are continually tested in the Newtex lab to ensure they withstand heat and flames.

"We like to evaluate what we can in-house either through standardized testing or through something that we've created to mimic a customer's application," said project development manager Lindsey Hall.

Then came our chance to evaluate their fire protective mitts.

News10NBC's Brett Davidsen put on a pair of the mitts. Then, Hall placed a piece of hot metal pipe in his hands that had been heated to 1,800 degrees. He held it for nearly 20 seconds before feeling any discomfort.

Joliet says they continue to find new applications for their products.

"With military weapons and high energy systems getting hotter, with more travel to space, there's going to be more need for higher temperature materials that can withstand vibration and extreme temperatures, and we are continuously innovating to capture those markets and be out in the forefront," said Joliet.

For more information on the company, click here.

If you know of a business you think we should highlight -- send us an email at spotlight@whec.com.

Credits

Brett Davidsen

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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