Reiss Manufacturing Inc. said Wednesday that it will add more than 40 jobs at its Blackstone plant as it expands production of an environmental-friendly radiation shielding material.
In what is an expanded partnership, Northrop Grumman Corp.’s Newport News Shipbuilding sector — which is in the process of being spun off into a separate company — developed and secured a patent for the lead-free shielding material. The partnership began 10 years ago when Northrop Grumman engineers partnered with Reiss, a New Jersey-based manufacturer of silicone rubber and specialty plastic molded products, to developer a non-lead shielding material for the defense sector. Today, demand for the product is growing in the health care and nuclear industries. In fact, the announcement comes as Japan tries to avert a nuclear disaster and harmful radiation levels in the wake of last week’s earthquake and tsunami.
“We are pleased to expand our partnership with Reiss,” Susan C. Brooks, manager of research and development at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, said in a statement. “It presents an opportunity to transition innovative defense technologies to commercial use ... The fact that it will help create new jobs for Southside Virginia is an extra benefit.”
Reiss, a private, family-owned firm, opened its Blackstone plant in 1988. The shielding material, marketed under the name HotGuardTM, is non-hazardous, flexible and easily molded. Plus, it can be safely and inexpensively disposed of after use. According to Reiss, the technology addresses the nuclear market’s main concerns, namely safety, environmental stewardship and cost.
“From the U.S. Navy to healthcare to commercial nuclear power plants, the mandate is clear: Get the lead out,” said Reiss Manufacturing President Carl Reiss.
The company also is collaborating with the Battelle Memorial Institute to assist with the transition into the commercial energy and healthcare markets.
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