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Manufacturer of Lobster Traps Expands


Riverdale Mills of Northbridge, Massachusetts, says its wire mesh products are used in most of the lobster traps in the United States and Europe, replacing traditional wooden devices.

A small American manufacturing company is growing and hoping to expand -- in part because of what it learned making lobster traps.

The company could use that information to develop other products, including fencing for the border between the United States and Mexico.

Riverdale Mills is based in Northbridge, a town in the northeastern state of Massachusetts. Riverdale has expanded from 60 people to 185 employees over the past few years.

Jim Knott, the head of the company, says he wants to add 35 workers.

Riverdale Mills is adding workers at the same time that many U.S. manufacturing jobs are being lost. About one-third of manufacturing jobs nationwide have disappeared because of competition from other countries and increased use of automation.

Riverdale says its wire mesh products are used in most of the lobster traps used in the United States and Europe. It says these traps have replaced traditional wooden devices. The company says it uses special processes to treat and protect the wire against rust. These processes help keep the metal from breaking down in extreme environments, like at the bottom of the sea floor.

The company is using information from the production of lobster traps to design security fences that protect nuclear centers, U.S. embassies and borders.

Knott says Riverdale hopes to sell more security fences as part of President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico. But he says the government’s plans and design of the fences are not yet known.

Riverdale exports about 45 percent of the products it makes. Knott says exports are one of the reasons the company has been able to grow.

VOA Correspondent Jim Randle reported this story from Northbridge, Massachusetts. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted his report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

lobster – n. an ocean animal that has a long body, a hard shell and a pair of large claws and that is caught for food

automate – v. to run or operate (something, such as a factory or system) by using machines, computers, etc., instead of people to do the work

mesh – adj. a material made from threads or wires with evenly spaced holes that allow air or water to pass through

rust – n. a reddish substance that forms on iron or some other metal usually when it comes in contact with moisture or air

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