Bedford Reinforced Plastics Inc. is making sure it can continue next-day shipments of the glass-reinforced plastic shapes that engineers increasingly demand. The Bedford, Pa., manufacturer is putting up a new distribution center next to its plant to improve shipping efficiency of its pultruded sheet, tubes, rod, channels and other profiles, and angles and other fabricated shapes.
Mike Beaupre, the company's sales manager, said engineers and designers are specifying fiber-reinforced shapes more often these days. They are familiar with its strength and corrosion resistance.
Bedford expects to open its 11,200-square-foot service center in July. The $250,000 investment qualifies for a $100,000 loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Author-ity. The project could lead to 15 more jobs at Bedford, which now employs about 175. Beau-pre did not disclose sales for the firm.
Bedford has 12 pultrusion lines operating 24 hours a day, five days a week. Its sales are growing and the FRP, fabrication and service operations, all in one 48,000-square-foot building, are starting to crowd each other. A separate service center will boost productivity.
Bedford makes pultruded shapes up to 20 feet long. It sells to distributors and fabricators that turn them into walkways, platforms, rails and other construction components. It uses some of the profiles for in-house fabrication of stock shapes.
Beaupre said the recycling movement inadvertently helps FRP makers. Aluminum parts at construction sites ``sometimes walk away'' because of the price scrap dealers pay for the metal. ``Fiberglass stays put but aluminum can be stolen,'' he said.