Plastic lumber maker Trex Co. LLC is constructing a 150,000-square-foot plant in Fernley, Nev., to reach customers in the West.
The main reason Trex chose Fernley was geography, said Robert Matheny, president and general manager. Its location on Interstate 80 is close to the California border and convenient for delivering to distributors as well as obtaining raw materials. In addition, state and county officials are enthusiastic about business and improving the manufacturing base, he said.
``We have a small presence in the West,'' materials director Mike Vatuna said in a telephone interview. ``Our No. 1 priority will be targeting stretch film, and getting grocery bags will be secondary. We can use any thin-gauge polyethylene film, but we know these work well in our process.''
Winchester, Va.-based Trex makes Trex Easy Care Decking, which is composed of about 50 percent PE and 50 percent waste wood from furniture and cabinet manufacturers and pallet recyclers.
Trex is used for residential and commercial decking, large-scale boardwalks, nature trails, marina docks, playgrounds and landscaping.
The number of lumberyards carrying the product in the United States and Canada has grown from 500 in 1995 to more than 2,000 in 1998. Trex sells its products through about 55 wholesale distributors, which in turn sell to independent contractor-oriented lumberyards.
``Increasing demand for Trex has made it necessary to establish a second plant,'' Matheny said in a news release.
Company sales have increased from $3.5 million in 1993 to $34.1 million last year.
Trex plans to begin operating in Fernley next fall. The plant will start with two production lines and will employ 50-60.
``The equipment will be the same type as the Winchester plant,'' manufacturing manager Dave Jordan said in a news release. ``And like the Winchester plant, work teams will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.''
The Fernley plant will increase Trex's capacity 25 percent. Eventually the company expects the facility to double the company's capacity, when Fernley grows to 200,000 square feet and about 200 employees.
Trex formerly was the Composite Products Division of Mobil Chemical Co., but was purchased in 1996 by four former Mobil executives, including Matheny, who formed Trex Co. LLC. About 150 people are employed at the Winchester plant, which runs eight lines.