The United States Department of Transportation changed safety rules for transporting cargo nearly a decade ago in 2002. The rules affected how Industrial Netting - a company that manufactured nets for a variety of unique industrial applications - did business.
The new rule, which was updated again in 2006, specified that, "Vehicles used to transport flattened or crushed vehicles must be equipped to prevent loose parts from falling from all four sides of a vehicle, extending to the full height of the cargo." That meant very small parts had to be contained.
"When that rule was first adopted, we worked very closely with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)," said Dave Brentz, vice president of sales and marketing, for Industrial Netting (IndustrialNetting.com) located in Brooklyn Park, Minn. "We were making a heavy-duty safety net for boxes stored on warehouse pallets. Wrapping a truck was a similar concept."
Industrial Netting developed its Car-Go-Net - strong, plastic netting designed specifically for preventing loose parts of crushed and flattened vehicles from falling during transport.
"Our net is specifically made [for] one-time use," explained Brentz. "It's made out of a polypropylene resin so when it goes to the mill it disintegrates into fuel when burned off. It saves a lot of time and money on the maintenance side of things."
The net is bright orange, easily seen by law enforcement. Orange stands out so vehicles are less likely to be stopped for noncompliance, Brentz noted. Black netting virtually disappears to the naked eye, and clear or white netting looks like water droplets in the sunlight.
"The material is also lightweight, weighing only a few pounds per thousand square feet," he added. "But it's very strong. By contrast, the knitted hay bale nets are strong when you pull in one direction but will shred if you pull them the other way. Our mesh is a uniform grid with structural integrity. You can wrap just once with ours, whereas you'd have to wrap several times with another type of net."
The netting is reasonably priced, according to Brentz, who said the cost to cover a 40-foot gondola railcar is about $15.
Industrial Netting opened in 1981. The Frandsen Corporation bought it in 1999. Greg Frandsen, one of the owners, is president and chief executive officer. Customers typically include auto recyclers, scrap metal and aluminum dealers, auto crushers, metal shredders and towing services. The business ships to customers throughout North America, Australia and New Zealand. Rolls of net are configured so many can be shipped by truck, and most ship out within one business day.
"We work with a lot of customers who simply don't have the storage for netting," said Brentz. "We make it so you only have to order what you need when you need it. We also offer a variety of sizes and widths, anywhere from 4.5 to 17 feet wide, and 500 to 2,500 feet long."
Customers can order from the web site or by phone. The web site also features an instructional video on how to wrap the netting safely to contain a trailer load.
"The Internet has been our primary tool for advertising for the past four to five years," added Brentz. "We have an extensive web presence, including videos on YouTube about how to use the products we manufacture. We're just getting started with social media but want to put our energy into that. We've been growing. Even in this economic climate, we see growth potential by continually bringing new capabilities and products to market."
Owners: Greg Frandsen & Dennis Frandsen
Location: Brooklyn Park, Minn.
Years In Business: 30