GRAND BLANC, MICH. — Plastic automotive recycler American Commodities Inc. plans to start production at a second plant and move its headquarters there by mid-February.
The 14-year-old company, currently based in Flint, Mich., plans to make two major acquisitions a year for the next several years to expand across the United States and Canada, said ACI Chief Executive Officer Mark Lieberman.
``We had to take some real important steps before we could do this,'' Lieberman said. ``The primary thing was developing technology that includes paint and coatings removal and the enhancement and rejuvenation of polymers. We also expect to continue to see more plastics in automobiles to support our growth.''
The first stage in the company's plans is a new, 63,000-square-foot plant in a Grand Blanc industrial park. ACI is investing more than $4 million to add extrusion, material identification and sortation equipment at the facility, Lieberman said.
The company bought the building in December for an undisclosed price from INH Inc., a maker of food pasteurizing equipment, Lieberman said. Plans now include moving ACI's offices to the new site, which will be called ACI Plastics Inc.
ACI also is rebuilding its 125,000-square-foot Flint plant after a December fire gutted a warehouse area and damaged other plant areas. The plant was back running — to a small degree — six days after the fire and now is fully operational, Lieberman said.
After the fire, the company shifted storage of its regrind material to the Grand Blanc facility, Lieberman said.
The new plant will initially include four twin-screw extruders to grind resin to a granulated form and equipment for ACI's proprietary paint and contamination removal process. The reground resin will be shipped to ACI's Flint plant for pelletizing.
The new plant primarily will recycle thermoplastic olefins, Lieberman said. That business is growing rapidly in such areas as bumper fascias, underbody panels and other products, he said. The Flint plant also regrinds ABS, polycarbonate, Xenoy and other engineered thermoplastics.
The plant, on a 10-acre site, will be expanded by another 50,000 square feet in early 1999, Lieberman said. Additional recycling work could be conducted in such industries as electronics, office equipment and outdoor products, he said.
The company considers itself the largest plastics auto recycler in North America, Lieberman said. Currently, ACI recycles about 22 million pounds of material annually and works with more than 400 auto dismantlers. The company has annual sales of about $10 million.