A new plastic lumber company focusing on a market segment traditionally dominated by the treated lumber industry began production Aug. 1 and already is adding capacity. Chesapeake Plastic Lumber Inc. of Denton, Md., sells plastic lumber for use in nonstructural applications, which include uses within the marine industry, zoos, country clubs and parks.
The company also sells the raw material to other businesses that manufacture benches and mailbox posts.
The lumber is made from post-consumer, natural, unwashed high density polyethylene flake. Small amounts of colorant and foaming agent are added to the recycled plastic.
Chesapeake has one extrusion line and expects the second to be started by the end of the year. The company has seven employees who work two eight-hour shifts.
``We'll add more employees with the new line and hope to eventually top out around 20-25,'' said President Rudy McAdams. ``Our business plan called for capacity to be at 3 million pounds in the first year. With the addition of another line, we'll be over that. Right now, our main problem is capacity.''
McAdams said the firm plans to grow to four extruders in its 70,000-square-foot plant.
When plant space runs out, Chesapeake, which is situated on 14 acres, will have room to expand.
The idea to manufacture plastic lumber originated with employees at Mid Atlantic Industrial Products, a distributor of PVC valves and fittings.
Although Mid Atlantic is not Chesapeake's parent company, the firm is guaranteeing payment of bills until the lumber company establishes its own credit, McAdams said.
``The difference between us and other plastic lumber companies is that we have zero debt and a strong marketing plan,'' McAdams said.