North American Technologies Group Inc. has sold 1,200 TieTek composite railroad crossties to Union Pacific Railroad Co., and now plans to build its first manufacturing plant.
Union Pacific plans to install the ties in January at a new rail yard in Spring, Texas. Union Pacific already has 400 TieTek ties in place throughout North America.
``We have worked with them for a long time,'' said Tim Tarrillion, North American president, chief executive officer and chairman.
``We first installed the ties for Union Pacific in 1996; it was one of our first prototypes,'' Tarrillion said. ``We've worked with them exclusively until recently. They tested the ties to make sure they were right and now others are installing and testing them.''
Union Pacific invested about $70,000 in its latest purchase.
The recipe for the ties uses seven components, including recycled high density polyethylene, rubber from discarded tires, and other waste materials that are difficult to recycle. The ties use the same installation and fastening methods as wood ties.
The company claims that lab tests indicate the TieTek crossties should last at least 50 percent longer and have a higher consistency of properties than wood ties.
The firm has been tolling the production of the ties through another company. In the first quarter of this year, North American will begin operating one line in its new Houston facility. The line will be capable of making about 10,000 ties per month. If demand warrants, the firm will expand to two lines immediately.
The plant will run 24 hours a day, and will employ 25-30 per line.
North American announced it will ship 4,500 TieTek crossties to six separate customers by the end of the year. The company is publicly traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange.