Tek-Rail Inc., a supplier of custom vinyl patio railing systems to the multifamily building industry, has rounded out its market position by adding extrusion to its operations in Fayetteville, Ga.
Tek-Rail owner and President Stephen Foster said the company added extrusion to its fabrication and installation package to control inventory and increase profit.
``Now we can guarantee product,'' Foster said. ``For example, if our suppliers would ever say they couldn't get around to extruding our product, or if they extruded inferior products, that would not present a problem for us. Also, if we'd had an extruder last year, it would've saved us $300,000 in up charges and shipping.''
In December, Tek-Rail purchased a twin-screw Milacron machine with 800 pounds of capacity per hour. Tek-Rail, which employs 70 and operates out of several buildings with a total of 32,000 square feet of space, no longer purchases extruded product from L.B. Plastics Inc. of Mooresville, N.C. It also reduced its reliance on extruded product from the Westech Fence division of North American Pipe Co. According to Foster, Evansville, Ind.-based Westech will continue to custom extrude product through one of Tek-Rail's dies.
Tek-Rail posted sales of $7 million last year and estimates that sales this year will reach $10 million. Foster said the company, which began supplying vinyl patio systems to the industry in 1994, has a 7 percent market share. Formerly a vinyl fence fabrication and installation company, Tek-Rail incorporated in 1992.
Tek-Rail, which distributes nationwide, installs the bulk of the patio railing systems it sells. It also supplies commercial building developers.
The company also recently introduced a fastener-free cladding for wrapping 6-inch-by-6-inch structural posts. The company also said it will offer a patented vinyl deck board and trim by midyear.
Kevin Fidati, executive vice president, said Tek-Rail's strong growth is due in large part to the company's ability to custom fabricate and expedite installation.
``You have extruders out there who will give you anything you want as long as you want it in 6-and 8-foot lengths, whereas we fabricate to an eighth of an inch,'' Fidati said. ``We go to the job site with the product fabricated, assembled and ready to install.''
Foster said he expects to add a coextruder later this year to meet increased demand for color vinyl patio systems, he said. Plans also call for a third extruder.