Agru/America Inc., which makes specialty corrosion-resistant pipe, geomembrane liners and plastic liners for concrete pipe, is building a 45,000-square-foot plant in Georgetown, S.C. President Robert Pelletier said the firm may close its leased plant in Canton, Mass., as a result.
``When the new plant is completed, our intention is to move everything, lock, stock and barrel, into the new facility. But depending on the amount of business, we may find ourselves in a position that we may have to extend the operation there [in Massachusetts],'' he said.
Agru/America's headquarters also will move to Georgetown, from its location in Salem, N.H. The Georgetown location will more than double the firm's production capacity and boost storage space for finished products.
Agru/America is a subsidiary of privately held Agru-Alois Gruber GmbH of Bad Hall, Austria.
Pelletier declined to provide sales, but he said Agru/America employs about 25. The new plant will have three pipe extrusion lines and at least one sheet extrusion line for geomembranes.
The company extrudes pipe from polyvinylidene fluoride, polypropylene and polyethylene. Most of the output goes into markets with harsh environments, such as chemical and paper manufacturing, the semiconductor industry and waste-water treatment. The company also makes pipe for potable water.
In the United States, some of the pipe is marketed through Asahi America Inc. of Malden, Mass., Pelletier said.
Agru/America also makes PE geomembranes for lining landfills and ponds. The Austrian parent company is a major player in plastic sheet used to line concrete pipe, Pelletier said. He said Agru/America imports the sheet, some of which is marketed through Elf Atochem North America Inc. in Philadelphia.
The company uses PVDF, PP and PE to make the sheet, which is used to line new concrete pipe and tanks and as a no-dig way to rehabilitate existing pipe.
``The majority of the sewers in Paris are being relined with this material at the present time,'' Pelletier said.
To line the concrete pipe, edges of the sheet are welded and the round shape inserted into the pipe. Grout then is injected into the space between pipe and liner, he said.
Importing the liner material will be easier in South Carolina, since the new plant has access to rail service and is near the port of Charleston, Pelletier said.
He also announced the following promotions:
*Peter Kahrer, an Austrian, will become vice president of manufacturing operations.
*David Gagnon was named vice president of finance.
Pelletier said the plant should be built by next January.