Plastics maker protects, profits from gas wells

September 3, 2013

MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. - Ralph S. Alberts Co., a custom-plastics manufacturer that got its start 50 years ago making plane parts for a now-defunct local aircraft factory, has survived the decades by embracing new markets.

Early on, it built devices to shepherd products along RCA Victor's assembly lines, a business that disappeared with RCA.

In the 1970s, Hersheypark asked the firm to rebuild the padded seats and harnesses for its amusement-park thrill rides, a specialty business that has expanded handsomely. It now makes up half the company's $13 million in annual revenue.

The firm's newest venture was inspired by the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom. Alberts Co. has adapted the plastic upholstery that cushions bodies in carnival rides into a sprayable, impermeable barrier for gas-well sites, designed to protect the environment from spills.

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