Chelsea Building Products adding profile capacity

By Catherine Kavanaugh
Staff Reporter

Published: October 30, 2013 4:11 pm ET
Updated: November 5, 2013 11:19 am ET

Image By: Chelsea Building Products A Chelsea worker uses a tablet to check the structure of a profile. Chelsea will add high-capacity extruders and 20 employees to its Pennsylvania facility in 2014.

Related to this story

Topics Construction, Extrusion, Pipe/Profile/Tubing
Companies & Associations Graham Partners Inc.

Chelsea Building Products is growing with the home construction market by adding new equipment — and next year 20 more employees — to keep up with demand for its vinyl and composite profiles for windows and doors.

The 38-year-old company is spending $1.5 million on high-capacity extruders and will make other downstream improvements with stands, pullers and drop tables at its production facility in Oakmont, Penn., according to Gary Hartman, Chelsea's director of marketing and new business development.

"We squeezed as much capacity out of the existing equipment as we possibly could through efficiency improvements but our business performance has far exceeded what we could do internally so we need to make these investments," Hartman said in a phone interview.

Chelsea is acquiring extruders on the open market from companies that have gone out of business or have excess capacity, as well as buying new equipment.

The investment will increase Chelsea's lineal extrusion production capacity by 20 percent, according to President and CEO Peter Dewil.

"As the demand for energy-efficient PVC-based building materials continues to grow, our business continues to expand to meet the demands of the market," Dewil said in a statement.

Chelsea is an integrated manufacturer providing product design, material development, extrusion tooling technology and finished product to manufacturers and distributors throughout North America. Acquired in 2011 by Graham Partners Inc., a private equity firm, the company's growth is being driven by the new home construction and specialty products segments, Hartman said.

In addition to window and door profiles, Chelsea produces composite profiles for reinforcing window and door systems. The company also makes profiles for commercial flooring, architectural shutters, composite siding and PVC moldings.

"We've worked very hard to diversify the product portfolio over the last 7-8 years," Hartman said.

Chelsea's shutter customer turned to the company for a synthetic solution that would not only make his redwood and cedar products more resistant to weather and rot but could be fabricated with his existing equipment.

"We came up with a custom formulation specifically for his application," Hartman said.

"It's a PVC base but we mixed in other components to create a PVC alloy that meets his requirements."

Chelsea-made compounds are used in-house and made available to other extruders in powder and pellet form. Hartman likens PVC to the versatile Betty Crocker baking mix, Bisquick.

"You can alter to whatever it is that you need to bake," he said. "We customize the Bisquick depending on whether the application is siding or window and door profiles or shutters. We design the product, the tooling and material system to meet the customer's specific requirements. We're niching out the marketplace."

Chelsea went into hiring mode this year and has about 200 employees, with 40 in support positions and 160 in operations. The company plans to bring on 20 more employees in 2014 as it implements the second phase of a two-year plan to streamline then expand.

A year ago, Chelsea put money into its tooling department in a move that doubled its ability to design and fabricate tools for various material systems and profiles. Now the company is awaiting delivery of its new equipment in the first quarter of 2014.

"In addition to increased capacity, the new extrusion equipment will be more energy efficient, thus producing more products with less consumption of electricity," Lee Furrer, Chelsea's director of manufacturing, said in a statement.

Since 2009, Chelsea has been following the Kaizen continuous improvement philosophy for leaner, more efficient manufacturing. Company officials say the effort increased the existing volume of tool fabrication and extrusion technology by more than 40 percent over the last four years.

"We didn't take on the field of dreams strategy like a lot of the competition did," Hartman said. "We became more efficient, very integrated and niched things out. We do everything from soup to nuts here at Oakmont."


Comments

Chelsea Building Products adding profile capacity

By Catherine Kavanaugh
Staff Reporter

Published: October 30, 2013 4:11 pm ET
Updated: November 5, 2013 11:19 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Pent-up demand fueling extrusion machinery market

December 9, 2014 1:10 pm ET

These are good times for machinery companies that serve flexible packaging — big-dollar items like blown and cast film equipment, and sheet...    More

Image

Brazilian-owned buyer to reopen Ohio films plant

December 8, 2014 4:08 pm ET

UPDATED — The 70 workers at Dow Chemical Co.’s polyolefin films plant in Findlay, Ohio, have received an early Christmas present —...    More

Image

Clear Lam adds co-packaging capabilities

December 8, 2014 2:22 pm ET

Clear Lam Packaging Inc. is investing $2 million to create a co-packing facility and innovation center at the company's Elk Grove Village, Ill.,...    More

Image

New owners of China’s Fuwei Films replace top executive

December 8, 2014 2:32 pm ET

Financially troubled Chinese PET film manufacturer Fuwei Films (Holdings) Co. Ltd. announced Dec. 3 that its longtime chairman and CEO has been...    More

Image

Difficult launch still holds promise of brighter sales future

December 5, 2014 12:46 pm ET

The Alside division of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio-based Associated Materials LLC, has been making vinyl windows since 1980 but this year's launch of two new...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events