A Covington, La., company has received a patent for a thermoplastic railroad tie and is seeking business partners to help finance four manufacturing plants in various parts of the country.
Demer Corp. spent nearly four years on research and development of the railroad ties, which are made of 60 percent recycled-gypsum filler and 40 percent post-consumer high density and low density polyethylene and polypropylene, President John Bayer said by telephone.
Bayer claims the performance of the plastic composite ties is expected to be much better than wood. He touted a 50-year life span and a weight load that is more than double the highest load for wood ties. A traditional wood railroad tie usually must be replaced after about 20 years, he said.
The cost of the plastic ties will hover around $50 each, as compared to a wood tie that runs from $28-$35, depending on its properties, according to Bayer.
Demer claims to have purchased land already in Geismar, La.; Pascagoula, Miss.; Houston; and Pocatello, Idaho, to build manufacturing plants. The company is waiting for details on machinery designs, cost and plant space needed for the operations.
Demer is looking for a business partner to help market the product and finance the plants, the first of which will be in Pascagoula.
Bayer hopes the plant will be built within the next year.