Structural composites firm Gordon Composites Inc. broke ground June 11 on a 50,000-square-foot manufacturing facility adjacent to its plant in Montrose, Colo.
Gordon Composites makes laminates and bar stock, which are used in products including springs for vibrating conveyors and office chairs, battens for sailboat sails, roll stock for infrastructure reinforcement, snowboards and skis.
Using technology licensed from Polycomp Inc. of Alanson, Mich., the new facility will make continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites. In the past, Gordon has focused on continuous fiber-reinforced epoxy thermoset composites, said Mike Gordon, president and chief executive officer.
The technology opens up new areas of opportunity, including enhancing plastic lumber for use in structural applications, automotive parts and items that are blast- or bullet-resistant. Gordon licensed the technology from Polycomp two years ago.
``We're trying to broaden our base. We won't ever leave our niche products,'' Gordon said.
Adding composite reinforcement to plastic lumber can help move the product to demanding, structural applications, rather than typical products like decking.
``We believe we can put the strength and modulus into the product without adding the cost,'' Gordon said.
At first, the new plant will be able to produce 4 million pounds of thermoplastic composites per year. The building eventually will produce as much as 40 million pounds annually, Gordon said.
The firm will add 75 employees to its current 50.
``We believe we can compete globally right here,'' Gordon said in a June 14 telephone interview, emphasizing that the new process has very high productivity ratios. ``This particular technology and the improvements we're making to it, it's not labor intensive at all. It should keep us in the game.''
Gordon Composites is a family-owned firm started by Mike Gordon's father and two uncles in 1953. Then, it was focused on archery bows, but since has grown into other sporting goods and lightweight replacements for metal suspension components.
In 1995, officials consolidated assets from operations in San Marcos, Calif., into Montrose. Two years ago, Mike Gordon bought out his cousin Dave Gordon. The privately held company does not disclose sales figures.