MicroStrate turns e-waste into sheet for signage, displays

By Frank Antosiewicz
Correspondent

Published: February 13, 2013 4:34 pm ET
Updated: February 13, 2013 4:50 pm ET

Image By: MicroStrate Inc. Image's MicroStrate subsidiary is recycling plastics waste and turning it into stop and street signs for the city of Kyle, Texas, which is also home to MicroStrate's manufacturing plant.

Related to this story

Topics Processes, Film & Sheet, Recycling

KYLE, TEXAS -- MicroStrate Inc. is turning recycled computer parts and other plastic waste into stops signs and other signage at its 100,000-square-foot facility that recently opened in Kyle.

MicroStrate is a trademarked material that was developed by Image Microsystems Inc., a reverse logistics company in Austin. Last year, the companies bought a building in Kyle and now the subsidiary is recycling and turning out the new product.

"As the company evolved, one of the challenges was our zero landfill effort. What do you do with the items and is it possible to create something else? We thought we had a solution and that's our ability to make a product," said Image Chief Operating Officer Lennie Myers, who is also business director for MicroStrate.

The recycled e-waste is providing material that MicroStrate is turning into various stop and street signs, and that market is growing, Myers said in a phone interview. He said Micro­Strate has provided signage for the city of Kyle, as well as for cities in other states, and even Russia.

Image Microsystems purchased the building in Kyle about a year ago and, according to Myers, it needed an extensive retrofit for use by the startup company. The new setup has the ability to recycle plastics that can be extruded into 4-by-8-foot sheets, or longer. The sheets can be used as substrate for signage. The operation currently employs about 50 on-site and is planning to run 24/7 in the future.

Myers said the firms have been working with state departments of transportation to test and use the signs and are receiving orders for them. The substrate can be printed on simply through a flat printer, or used with 3-D printers. The sheets can be shaped with routers, he said.

The material was used in three display kiosks at a recent conference and the application has garnered plenty of interest, according to Myers. The kiosks were covered with graphics and cut-aways created space for TV monitors that gave more information about the product.

"It is very, very versatile," he said. "Our problem is not finding target markets, but in getting the right focus and getting the factory running 24/7 for sheets to meet the demand," he said.

Myers said the company does both recycling and manufacturing at the plant. Image has worked with Texas Tech University in Lubbock for many years to develop the material, he said.

Both Image Microsystems and MicroStrate strive to work with their communities, Myers said. They have had a relationship with the Texas School for Deaf, based in Austin, whereby juniors and seniors can work in half-day internship programs at the companies; some have stayed to become full-time employees, he said.

Image Microsystems works with big-box stores as well computer companies to handle their products after customers are done with them. Image was formed in 1992 in City of Commerce, Calif., and also has operations in Austin. The firm works to keep products out of landfills, and now, by finding new uses for e-waste, it helps companies reduce their ecological footprints as well.


Comments

MicroStrate turns e-waste into sheet for signage, displays

By Frank Antosiewicz
Correspondent

Published: February 13, 2013 4:34 pm ET
Updated: February 13, 2013 4:50 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Canadian mold maker Thibault adding to new operation in Mexico

August 27, 2014 3:19 pm ET

Canadian mold maker I Thibault Inc has purchased an established Mexican company, Tecnimoldes SA de CV, for a seven-figure-dollar-sum and renamed it...    More

Image

Design, materials, engineering finding a faster way forward

August 27, 2014 1:50 pm ET

Engineering and design specialists at Altair Thinklabs and Eastman Chemical Co. have developed prototypes that would not just help Paralympics...    More

Image

Consumer products sector sees improving growth

August 27, 2014 12:49 pm ET

It is late summer, and we are already almost two-thirds of the way through the third quarter. But I find myself wanting to bask in the warm afterglow ...    More

Image

Higher profits and rising blood pressure

August 27, 2014 12:19 pm ET

Company CEOs are typically big supporters of capitalism and the free market, and they should be. It's a great system for raising the standard of...    More

Image

Design Stories: Young designers showing the way in adaptive design

August 27, 2014 12:12 pm ET

Amanda Bolton, then 19, decided to change her major at the University of Cincinnati from fine arts to industrial design, creating products for people ...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events