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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
Early last month, the Walker Tape Co., a little-known manufacturer of widely-used adhesive tapes, started the new year without a bang—guaranteed—thanks to the company’s new high-tech, explosion-proof mixing facility.
Up until last summer, it was something they thought they didn’t need. But on a hot, windy afternoon in July, that all changed. As usual, workers had been mixing the liquid solvents Walker uses in its tapes and glues. They were working outside in the parking lot next to the company’s 12,000 square foot manufacturing facility. Suddenly, one of the containers ignited and then a second one exploded. Within seconds the whole parking lot was on fire.
Luckily, no one was hurt and the building suffered no damage. But the fire shocked employees and amazed them at how quickly it spread.
It was the first time anything like that had happened in Walker Tape’s history. For almost two decades, the company had safely mixed solvents and used them in producing double-sided adhesive tapes for use in a variety of industries. In fact, the tapes have been used in everything from computers to surgery.
After the explosion, Walker Tape began looking for a company in the area that would mix the solvents for them. Unfortunately, after weeks of searching, they had no luck.
Coincidentally, a similar dilemma led company founder Brent Bonham to start Walker Tape in the first place. Back in 1985, Brent had searched for tape suppliers that would provide tape for the hairpieces he manufactured. Needless to say, he wasn’t satisfied. So, he decided to create his own tape-converting company and the specialized equipment to produce tape.
Born out of innovation, Walker wasn’t about to give up on mixing solvents. If no one else could do it, the company would build its own facility. And that’s just what it has done. The 750-square-foot facility, located next to and dwarfed by Walker’s other site, is completely flame-proof because of a vapor-sensing system and exhaust fan. Now, flammable liquids can be mixed and bottled there safely for the Walker Tape Co. as well as any other company in the Salt Lake area.
For Zions Bank, I’m Fred Ball. I’m speaking on business.