Several major profile extruders are beefing up capacity in extrusion, fabrication and warehousing to serve the growing fence, deck and railing market.
``We're growing like crazy, but the trick is staying in the market leadership position,'' said Stu Kemper, president of composite profile extruder TimberTech Ltd., based in Wilmington, Ohio. ``We're sending the message to the industry that we're willing and able to invest in this market. We've got the property and infrastructure to do so.''
For TimberTech, that means substantial activity in the next 12 months, including searching for a new location and tacking on 150,000 square feet to its current facility. It will grow from five extrusion lines to more than 17. The physical plant expansion will be complete by mid-2004, Kemper said in a Nov. 25 telephone interview. The firm currently is working on extrusion line additions and upgrades to its blending system.
``It's really part of an ongoing expansion plan,'' Kemper said. ``The market has really embraced our product and we've got to beef up production capacity to meet those demands.''
TimberTech recently introduced its TwinFinish deck plank with two surface textures, including a traditional brushed surface on one side and a wood-grain surface on the other side, to resemble vertical grain lumber. It also is beefing up its product offering with colors, officials said. This year it added a redwood color to its 2-by-6 deck planks.
Sister company Vinyl Visions LLC, headquartered in the same facility in Wilmington, will add warehouse space to accommodate its growing fence, railing and post and rail business. Officials did not return calls seeking comment before deadline. Both companies are holdings of Crane Plastics Co., a profile extruder based in Columbus, Ohio. The Wilmington City Council recently approved a seven-year, 80 percent property tax abatement for each company.
The need for railing systems coincides with the burgeoning deck market, and alternative materials are a fast-growing component of both markets. According to information from Cleveland-based Freedonia Group Inc., alternative materials will continue to lead gains in decking demand through 2007, further eroding the share of the market held by wood. Composite decking will exhibit the most robust growth, rising more than 17 percent per year to 748 million board feet. Vinyl and polyethylene also will exhibit strong gains, rising more than 10 percent annually through 2007, according to Freedonia's recent study, ``Wood & Competitive Decking.''
Westech Fence, based in Evansville, Ind., is continuing its expansion activity with a new fabrication facility in its headquarters city. Officials said in a news release that the expansion will accommodate growth in the firm's Presidio line of lawn and garden accessory products and other fence, deck and railing systems. Westech is a unit of Westlake Group of Cos. in Houston.