Targeting the wood-substitute market, Timbron International Inc. in September plans to begin manufacturing residential and commercial building materials from post-industrial polystyrene at a plant in Stockton, Calif.
``Our initial production includes interior moldings and exterior decking,'' Robert Simpson, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a recent telephone interview.
Timbron leased the 57,000-square-foot facility in early April and plans to begin occupying the site in mid-June.
Timbron acquired five Davis-Standard 6-inch extruders, including one pelletizing line, one compounding line and three profile lines. Timbron will start with 40 workers.
Production will ramp up so that, by December 1999, the company expects to have three pelletizing extruders, two compounding extruders and nine profile extruders.
Initial annual production of 14 million pounds should grow to 40 million pounds, and the company may add workers and more plants elsewhere.
The Stockton plant will target the West Coast's do-it-yourself market, retail lumber yards and millwork houses.
Simpson said no virgin materials will be used.
``Environmental regulations targeting logging activities on public lands and private properties have led to significant reductions in lumber production,'' Simpson said.
``As a result, the need for additional lumber substitutes is growing.''
``Lumber prices have increased to a point where substitute products can compete,'' Simpson said.
About half of Timbron's 22 private investors have timber industry roots. Formerly, Simpson was general manager of Louisiana-Pacific Corp.'s western division.
Timbron enters the market with caution.
In August 1996, the U.S. investor group acquired Timbron U.K. Ltd. from Glynwed International plc, to learn the process, understand and improve the formula and bring the technology back to the United States.
The investors sold the Coleshill, England-based operation in November to London & Mercantile Holdings Ltd. of London.
Timbron International retained the name, trademarks, patent rights, intellectual properties, licensing rights and an existing license with Kemflo International of Kao-hsiung, Taiwan.
Timbron will close a temporary Eureka, Calif., office at the end of May.