A new company is using PVC to make pilings, boatlifts, fish cleaning stations and similar marine products.
ArmorDock Systems Inc., based in Virginia Beach, Va., is outsourcing production to pipe extruder Hawk Plastics Corp. and Macon Plastics Inc. of Macon, Ga., which handles the fabrication. With five principals, ArmorDock has warehousing and a sales office in Virginia Beach.
Officials chose PVC because of its service life of about 50 years, compared with timber's 15 years, officials said. The products also are light and easy to handle.
``We made the first trial runs last summer,'' said Larry Moody, a principal and manufacturing partner with Hawk Plastics in Alpine, Ala. ``Just recently, we shipped them a truckload of material.''
ArmorDock arose out of a need to find alternatives to timber treated with chromated copper arsenate. Company officials anticipate that the Environmental Protection Agency will phase out CCA-treated timber in marine and water applications, as a follow-up to phasing out the wood treatment in land applications. The pilings do not necessarily require reinforcements, but can be filled with a substance like crushed stone.
``With our new pilings, this does give them an alternative,'' said Pete Mansfield, the inventor. The company currently has four patents. ArmorDock is working on other products as well, such as sea walls and bulkheads.
``Since composite materials are so expensive and inherently weaker than natural wood, we're going to come up with cladding for stringer material in docks,'' Mansfield said in an April 24 telephone interview.
Hawk's Moody worked with the principals to formulate a nonwhite color for the pilings.
``We do have it impact-modified, so it does take abuse applied to the end of it when it's driven into the ground and can withstand the impact of the boats,'' Moody said. ``These are not your typical poles that are leaning in different directions. These will look exactly the same, all lined up. It's a new concept.''