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Latex Foam Products Making Plant


1.  Product Description:  These are low density rubber products used  extensively for their cushioning properties of comfort.  They find wide use as upholstery material in passenger cars, ships, trains, homes, offices, etc.  Popular or common products made from latex foam are seats of sofa sets, pillows, mattresses, etc.


2.  Rationale:  All the material used for making sofas, mattresses, and other products for which soft cushioning material is part of is bought and brought from Addis Ababa.  Latex foam, though very light in weight, takes a lot of transport space to transport it from one place to another and this makes its products more expensive if they are not produced near where the foams are produced.  From the point of view of consumers in the Amhara Region, there is no reason why practically all industrial products have to be produced in and around Addis Ababa and transported to the Region as finished products.  The Amhara Region has to be made self sufficient if products can be manufactured with financially viable operation. 


3. Market Potential:  Latex foams are used to make mattresses, pillows, sofa seats, seats of private cars, buses, takes, etc.  The demand for these products in the Amhara Region comes from three main sources- increase of the population especially in the urban areas, increasing awareness by people about the use and benefit of latex foam, increase of the purchasing power of the people.  Currently, if we take mattresses, probably not more than one percent of the Region’s population uses mattresses made from foam latex.  This amounts to about 185,000 mattresses.  On the average one mattress takes 2.3 m2 of latex foam.  Hence current consumption of latex foam for mattress only is 425,500m2.  If other use of (sofa seats, seats of different vehicles, etc) of latex foam is included, demand for the product will be much higher.  With more urbanization, population increase, growing awareness about the use of latex foam, etc. future demand will definitely increase.  If a detailed market study is undertaken, the result of the study will not reveal a demand figure less than 600,000 m2 of latex foam.  Any demand figure around this will make a plant which will make latex foam a viable plant.


4. Source of Raw Material: to be imported.


5.  Process & Technology: Latex is mixed with a stabilizer, ammonium oleate and ammonium acetate and foamed in mixer by beating and blowing air from  bottom.  The foam swells and when desired bulk has been attained, other chemicals are added and mixing continues very slowly to produce uniform foam.  It is then transferred to a mould of desired shape and size and the temperature of the mould is immediately raised for curing.  The cured product is washed with water by passing through rolls to remove water soluble chemicals.  It is dried and ready for sale.  Major machinery and equipment needed are deammonization tank, stainless steel mixers, pot mill, vulcanizing steel moulds, steam boiler, drying chamber, squeezing machine and accessories.


6.  Estimated Investment: For a plant which will produce 100 kgs of latex foam per day, investment requirement will be

                  Building 250m2 at Birr 1500/m2        = Birr 375,000

                  Plant and machinery                           = Birr 200,000

                  Working Capital                                   = Birr 125,000

           Total     = Birr 700,000


    7. Benefits: self-sufficiency, saves regional financial resources, improves living conditions of people who use the product, and introduces new skills and technology to the Region.


   8.   Location: Combolcha or Bahir Dar.