Nomaco Corp. has invested $5 million to support a joint manufacturing and marketing venture with a former competitor in plastic insulation and an Italian rubber firm.
The agreement also includes RBX Industries Inc. of Roanoke, Va., and L'Isolante K-Flex of Milan, Italy, officials said.
Privately held Nomaco, based in Zebulon, N.C., is tacking on 75,000 square feet to its 250,000-square-foot facility in Youngsville, N.C., where it makes polyethylene and polypropylene insulation for several end markets, including commercial, residential and industrial.
``We just opened it for business,'' said Jack Pyritz, chief operating officer of the insulation business. ``It's a logical expansion into that market. Our customers buy both [rubber and plastic insulation].''
Through the alliance, RBX/Nomaco-K-Flex will produce and sell rubber and PE thermal mechanical insulation materials in tubes and sheets, officials said.
Pyritz would not disclose the number of current extrusion lines or how many will be added. The firm will add 100 employees by the beginning of 2003, he said. The facility currently employs 100.
``As a company, we're positioned to where we should double in size over the next couple years,'' he said in an Aug. 14 telephone interview. ``We've got some work to do now. It's much nicer to manage growth. After Sept. 11, we had a miserable fourth quarter, but since then everything has bounced back.''
Pyritz would not disclose sales or how much growth officials expect from the alliance.
The partnership also solves an environmental issue for RBX Industries: The firm still used chlorofluorocarbons as blowing agents to make its polyethylene product, officials said, and it had to meet the phaseout deadline mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1992.
``That was the primary motivator,'' said Tim Bernlohr, RBX's chief operating officer. ``We had to invest in new equipment or find a way to outsource the production.''
But RBX is not totally ceasing production of PE insulation, Bernlohr said. The firm is transferring production of noncross-linked PE foam from facilities in Colt, Ark., and Conover, N.C. RBX will continue to manufacture cross-linked PE foam at its Oletex subsidiary in South Holland, Ill. PE insulation production represents nearly $9 million of RBX's total corporate sales of $250 million.
Nomaco itself has been growing aggressively this year. The firm kicked off 2002 with a manufacturing expansion at its Focal Point Inc. subsidiary in Tarboro, N.C., after securing a contract with Home Depot to supply polyurethane products like crown molding, medallions and baseboards. Nomaco partnered with American Wood Moldings in that deal. Nomaco invested a little less than $2 million in metal molds and other equipment for that expansion, bringing on 100 employees.
Nomaco, owned jointly by Marc Noel and Mick Dannin, is most famous for the Poolnoodle floating device. The company employs 600.