Pipe manufacturer Silver-Line Plastics Corp. has received a U.S. patent on the simultaneous extrusion of two triple-wall pipes for use in plumbing applications.
``We've figured out a way to do it with three extruders,'' said Ricky Silver, president of the Asheville, N.C.-based company. ``We really wanted to keep pushing the envelope on cellular core extrusion.''
The firm's co-founder, Charles J. Silver, conceived the method, which uses a series of dies and co-extrusion blocks to channel and calibrate the flow of thermoplastic material, according to a company news release. The result is two independently managed strands of triple-wall pipe.
The original y-shaped, two-extruder technology has been used in North America since the mid-1980s, Ricky Silver said. The old method was inefficient: it ran at 50-60 percent of capacity, he said.
``You're not fully utilizing these two extruders,'' he said. Additionally, the new concept requires 50 percent less floor space.
The company plans to license the technology, which has an international patent pending.
In other company news, Silver-Line is investing more than $9 million in a westward expansion.
The firm will officially open a Lawton, Okla., facility by late June, Ricky Silver said.
``Our plan is to use this as a satellite facility,'' he said in a May 1 telephone interview. ``That will be the immediate focus of the plant, and it will be sized appropriately.''
The plant's capacity will be roughly one-third that of the company's North Carolina location, he said, but he would not disclose the number of lines in that facility. According to Plastics News estimates, the company had resin throughput greater than 100 million pounds in 2000, employing more than 125.
About the new location, Ricky Silver said: ``That facility has room to grow, of course, if market conditions dictate.''
Silver-Line manufactures PVC pipe for the plumbing, irrigation and swimming pool and spa markets. The company reported that its 2000 sales were greater than $50 million.