Image Industries Inc., one of the largest PET recyclers in the United States, is investing $30 million to expand capacity, bringing on a new fiber extrusion plant and adding square footage and equipment at existing facilities.
The 150,000-square-foot fiber extrusion facility will be the third plant at Image's Summerville, Ga., location. It joins a bottle sortation and grinding facility and a plant that operates two fiber extrusion systems.
The new plant will come on line in July and add 50 million pounds of capacity, said Paul Meredith, vice president of operations.
Meredith explained that each fiber extrusion system consists of several extrusion lines. The addition will give the Armuchee, Ga.-based firm 160 million pounds of fiber capacity per year and is expected to boost annual sales by $35 million, to about $55 million.
Moreover, 50,000 square feet and another line are being added to the bottle sorting and grinding plant. The company uses proprietary equipment that it has developed in the past eight years. The fifth line will give Image more than 200 million pounds of annual recycling capacity, according to Meredith.
``We're very dependent and committed to post-consumer recycling,'' Meredith said in an Oct. 16 telephone interview. ``As a really experienced fiber company, we're committed to furthering our position in fiber to serve our growing customer base outside carpet and feed our carpet base.''
The company plans to add about 125 employees to its staff of 450.
In August 1996, Image merged with Maxim Group, based in Kenesaw, Ga. The companies pooled their interests in the stock swap.
Although Maxim sells residential and commercial carpet through 1,000 retail franchises around the country, Image deals only with the residential markets. Maxim claims an estimated 12 percent share of U.S. carpet sales.
The merger, plus the expansion, gives Image ``one of the strongest positions in the industry, from baled bottles through the retail store,'' according to Meredith.
Image also sells PET flake and pellets to the packaging, strapping, food and fiber industries. It has 30 million pounds of capacity. In addition, the company reclaims fiber from post-industrial waste.
From PET recycling to fiber manufacturing to yarn spinning and carpet making, Image operates nine plants and employs 1,500. The company reported sales of $330 million last year with most of that business coming from carpet sales.
Gross sales for the second quarter ended July 31 were $92 million.