KÃ¶mmerling USA Inc., a cellular PVC sheet and trim board maker, recently completed a $20 million expansion to its manufacturing operations.
The Huntsville, Ala.-based company is awaiting the green light in the form of a Certificate of Occupancy, which company officials expect soon.
KÃ¶mmerling added 100,000 square feet to its existing 30,000 square feet, bringing the plant's processing capacity to 60 million pounds. The company's employment will double, and its production will triple, said Harald Unterieser, KÃ¶mmerling USA's vice president and general manager, in a Sept. 20 telephone interview.
Company sales are pretty much split down the middle between its sheet and trim business, Unterieser said. KÃ¶mmerling makes PVC sheets that are used in the graphic and display industries. Its KÃ¶ma Trim Products brand competes with the likes of Azek Trimboards.
The signage business is relatively small, according to Unterieser, with big margins. The trim business has high volume and low margins.
Unterieser said KÃ¶ma trim boards are different from competitors' because of an extra-tough shell, which makes the boards hold up better against dents and scratches. Typically, cellular PVC trim works much like wood in terms of its ability to be sawed, nailed and painted, and thus can be dented like wood when hit hard enough.
KÃ¶mmerling officials expect the exterior trim market to continue to swell.
``It's a billion-dollar market,'' Unterieser said. The fight continues, he said, to educate people on the benefits of vinyl over wood.
``It takes time to convince people that vinyl, or plastic, while much more expensive - you don't have to paint it. It will stay forever like it is. It's a better product compared to lumber.''
The expansion coincided with the company celebrating its 10-year anniversary of operating in the United States.
KÃ¶mmerling USA is a subsidiary of Troisdorf, Germany-based Profine International Profile Group GmbH.