Polymer recycler Carolina Materials LLC plans to expand production and has ordered two sheet extrusion lines from an undisclosed supplier in China.
The firm is finding new uses for scrap rubber and plastic mixtures and needs more capacity. It now runs a 54-inch Milacron sheet line in its 76,000-square-foot plant in Belmont, N.C.
The new lines, both capable of making 72-inch-wide sheet, will be installed in June and August, the company said.
Carolina Materials began operating in June when state and local officials convinced Phil Friedman to locate the business near Charlotte. North Carolina had banned rubber tires from landfills, and Gaston County was looking for new businesses to offset jobs lost in the textile industry.
The company obtained a $983,000 grant from the state's Scrap Tire Disposal Account and county officials helped the company find a modern manufacturing building.
``We are blending crumb rubber and various polymers together and heating them in an extruder to encapsulate the rubber and extrude it into sheets,'' said Friedman, chief executive officer.
``Encapsulating the rubber practically eliminates the rubber smell and makes it a very economical material - about 80 percent of the cost of plastic it replaces,'' he said in a news release.
Carolina Materials uses a range of polyolefins, many of which are recycled materials. So far the company has developed a product containing 70 percent rubber for the bases of consumer satellite dishes.
A 50 percent rubber product is used for flooring. Under development are conveyor belts, roofing, car mats and dunnage for machinery parts. An in-house laboratory and small-scale production system support product development.
The company now employs 30 and expects that number to grow to 100 by the end of 2006. It is investing $2.5 million to renovate its rented building, formerly a textiles plant.