The world's largest pipe maker is launching a new corrugated high density polyethylene pipe to tap into one of the most-promising growth markets in plastic building products.
Los Angeles-based JM Eagle is extruding corrugated HDPE pipe in standard diameters of 4-60 inches at its Wharton, Texas, facility, and will add corrugated capacity to its plants in Meadville, Pa., and Stockton, Calif., by the fourth quarter. The company is calling the product Eagle Corr PE, and selling it in 20-foot lengths.
The corrugated HDPE market is dominated by Hilliard, Ohio-based Advanced Drainage Systems Inc., which sells more than a $1 billion of corrugated pipe per year.
JM Eagle recognized that there was a void in the corrugated pipe market after ADS' acquisition of Hancor in 2005, said Dan O'Connor, JM Eagle's vice president of sales for HDPE, via e-mail.
Additionally, given the wide range of areas where corrugated can be applied combined with the federal government's recent focus on rebuilding the country's crumbling water infrastructure and it's clear that there are unique opportunities for corrugated pipe manufacturers.
JM will have unique challenges and advantages as it enters the corrugated arena, said Gene Palermo, president of Palermo Plastics Pipe Consulting in Friendsville, Tenn., in an April 9 telephone interview.
The challenge they have is that it's a new product for them. It's not solid-wall. There will be a challenge in making it, he said.
But JM's European-style focus on offering a diverse range of plastic pipe products will give it an economic advantage over the long haul, Palermo said.
Using the European philosophy, they're not just a PE pipe supplier. They are a plastic pipe supplier. To me, that gives them a tremendous advantage.
JM Eagle intends to be a big player in that space.
Our goal is to become one of the top manufacturers of corrugated PE pipe, and we'll achieve that by leveraging our purchasing power, manufacturing expertise, and existing infrastructure, O'Connor said.