Heywood Williams Group plc is expanding its pipe operations in the United States and its PVC profile extrusion plants in the United Kingdom. The company's Bristolpipe Corp. unit, based in Elkhart, Ind., is investing more than $4.3 million this year to add larger-diameter pipe to its product range.
The investment will add plant space and three new extrusion lines at its plants in Leola, Pa., and Greensboro, Ga. Those plants will be able to produce 21-inch polycarbonate pipe for water and sewer applications, up from 15-inch pipe now.
Bristolpipe acquired the Greensboro plant last year when it bought Pioneer International Inc. The company will add two Milacron extrusion lines there, one capable of making 15-inch pipe and the other 21-inch pipe. Both lines will be installed by the end of July, according to Jerry Miller, vice president of operations at Bristolpipe.
The company is investing $3 million in Greensboro, Miller said. That includes the cost of adding 18,000 square feet of plant space. It will invest about $1.3 million in Leola later this year, adding blending capacity and another 21-inch extrusion line, which is to begin production in early 2001. Bristolpipe has not selected a supplier for that line, he said.
In addition, Bristolpipe is rebuilding two older extruders at its Leola and Bristol, Ind., facilities, "to help with the retail and conduit" markets, Miller said.
With the new equipment included, Bristolpipe, which made 266 million pounds of pipe last year, will have a total of 36 extrusion lines, Miller said.
Meanwhile, in Britain, Heywood Williams is investing 3.5 million ($5.5 million) in new capacity at its rigid PVC window systems operations. The unit, HW Plastics Ltd., will add five new high-output extrusion lines at two plants.
Huddersfield, England-based Heywood Williams formed HW Plastics in 1999 by combining HW Systems Ltd. of Gloucester, England, with Spectus Systems Ltd. of Macclesfield, England. Heywood Williams had purchased Spectus from Macclesfield-based Mottram Group plc in 1998.
By early April, the unit will add three Weber DS 9.25 extruders at the Macclesfield plant with two Krauss-Maffei KMD 90.26 extruders going into the Gloucester facility by May.
When the project is finished, the Gloucester plant will have 27 extruders, and Macclesfield will have 39, according to Mike Guerin, HW Plastics' managing director.
Almost half the investment will be devoted to the new extruders, while the rest is paying for a 10,000-square-foot expansion in Macclesfield and more ancillary equipment, including cooling systems. The plant extension will leave space for nine more extrusion lines, Guerin said.
"The expansion has been driven by two things. The U.K. demand for window systems grew at 5 percent last year, and growth will be similar this year. Also, all three new lines are high-output ones. We are swapping these with some of our medium-output machines," Guerin said.
At 660 pounds per hour, the high-output machines have roughly double the throughput of the older machines, he said.
According to Heywood Williams, cellular foam profiles are the fastest-growing PVC extrusion market in the United Kingdom.
"Our volumes have been growing at over 20 percent a year, against market growth of 12 percent, as these products take an increasing share of the roof-line market in both new build and renovation," the firm announced.
To keep up with demand, the company is adding an extruder to its HW Building Products Ltd. plant in Scunthorpe, England, and two more at its Congleton, England, plant, Guerin said. Those machines will be installed later this year.