Midwest Elastomers Inc. is expanding its plastics grinding operations more than 50 percent by building a 24,000-square-foot addition.
``We feel that there is really good potential for this type of grinding - both cryogenic and ambient,'' said President and Chief Executive Officer George Wight.
Construction has started, and Wight expects the addition to be ready in June, he said in a telephone interview. At that time, the Wapakoneta-based company will have a 60,000-square-foot facility dedicated to plastics recycling.
``Plastics is about a third of our business, but the new facility and equipment will set the stage to make it an even more prominent part,'' Wight said.
Midwest Elastomers is ISO 9000 certified and toll grinds acrylic, polypropylene, nylon, polyester, polystyrene and thermoplastic polyurethane, including virgin plastics and scrap. The company produces plastic powders from 20-100 mesh, controlling specifications and contamination.
``We will be able to selectively dedicate some lines if a customer wants to run contaminant-free,'' Wight said.
The company employs about 80, running three shifts. It was founded in 1979 with a focus on cryogenic grinding of scrap rubber. It now does rubber and plastic, producing about 50 million pounds a year.
Higher costs for energy and new materials are making recycled scrap an attractive alternative for some customers, he said.