Industry veteran Dan Humphries aims by January to launch a Madeira, Calif., business that will make large tanks via rotational molding. Within a year, the company plans to manufacture electric-powered boats.
Humphries, owner and president of newly formed Innovative Rotational Molding Inc., initially will target the market for customized polyethylene tanks for agricultural fertilizer, residential water and industrial chemical applications.
The firm is investing $2.5 million to build a 31,500-square-foot plant with concrete tilt-up walls, and a separate, 2,200-square-foot office on a 5-acre site. The company broke ground in June and expects to complete the project by November.
``I have a good group of partners and teammates,'' Humphries said in a telephone interview.
Entec Polymers LLC of Maitland, Fla., provided technical support across a range of specialized resin, equipment and plant layout issues, said E.J. Consen of Simi Valley, Calif. Consen is manager of technical support for the U.S. and Canada with Entec's rotomolding division.
Max Techno Fab Inc. of Tracadie-Sheila, Canada, is building a highly automated rock 'n' roll shuttle machine with three independent arms. Scheduled for October delivery, the unit will be the largest machine of its kind in the United States, according to Humphries, and will be able to use inert gases and process resin with automated cooling and cooking cycles.
On Aug. 29, machine maker Rotoline Industrial Equipment Ltda. of Santa Catarina, Brazil, shipped a standard 8-foot-diameter shuttle machine with two independent arms, according to Rotoline international sales manager Alain St. Pierre in Kent, Ohio.
Humphries has budgeted $1.75 million for the machines, a pulverizer and other equipment.
Humphries entered the plastics industry in 1979 with Poly Cal Plastics Inc. in Stockton, Calif.
He and his brother-in-law, Kevin Williams, launched rotomolder Central California Container Inc. in 1989, which they sold in 2001 to Snyder Industries Inc. of Tonawanda, N.Y. The site in Chowchilla, Calif., operates now as Snyder California Container. Humphries continued there as West Coast sales manager through February 2003.
After taking some time off, Humphries and some associates in Southern California pursued research and development work on customized rotomolded products. His need for a machine to do large parts led him to order the Max Techno Fab machine.
The collaboration includes designing a line of plastic, electric boats in various configurations.
While power details are confidential, ``we have a test boat on the water in Huntington Beach,'' he said. The team has developed an energy source that holds a charge for eight hours. The boat can reach speeds up to 20 miles per hour.
The project targets boaters on man-made lakes in residential areas with prohibitions on combustion-type motors.
Innovative Rotational Molding will form the hulls with linear PE in a range of densities. A 10- to 12-foot boat might sell for $8,000, and a 24-foot boat for $45,000.
``The boat line will be one of many custom products,'' he said.
Humphries is hiring the initial workforce of 15-20 and anticipates having a crew of 50-75 for full operations.
He is pushing to get operations in place by January. ``In our area, February is a hot agricultural season for tanks. We need to capture that business,'' he said.