Plastics recycler Intercontinental Export Import Inc. is getting into the business of making products from recycled resin with a big splash.
The Columbia, Md., company, which just began extruding products made from recycled nylon and film at its recently acquired plant in Ravenswood, W.Va., said it plans to acquire 20 acres in southeast Michigan and build a 100,000-square-foot plant with 40-50 injection molding presses.
The Michigan plant, which will cost between $2.5 million and $3 million to build and equip, will be near Toledo, Ohio, said CEO Saurabh Naik, in a June 25 interview at NPE2009 in Chicago. He said the plant should be completed by the end of the year, with production beginning in January or February, and there will be plenty of room on the site for expansion.
We see a big vacuum in injection molding. We plan to launch our own branded product line, said Naik, who also is president and CEO of Naik Group of Industries, also headquartered in Columbia.
Naik Group has a partnership with $10 million molder Jyoti Plastic Works Ltd., based in Mumbai, India, which will do the design work for the injection molding plant. It doesn't make sense to make the products in India and ship them here, Naik said.
Our strength is the feedstock we turned into recycled pellets and we want to convert them into finished products, he said. We want to move in the direction of green products that have recycled content.
Meanwhile, the 250,000-square-foot Ravenswood plant is currently operating at 40 percent capacity and making about 30 products, including casters for the appliance and furniture industry, office chair bases, and housings for power tools.
We are slowly gearing up, Naik said. The plant has the capacity to make 120 million pounds of pellets annually. He said the plant also does tolling for other companies.
Currently, about 70-80 percent of the Ravenswood products are made from fibers such as nylon, and the rest from film. Much of the fiber is carpet it gets from the Dalton, Ga., area.
We want to use more film because there is a greater supply of that, Naik said. But we have a learning curve to go through with that because there are so many coatings and layers. But eventually, it will become half and half.
Naik said the Ravenswood plant has seven densifiers, a single-screw extruder and two twin-screw extruders. As production expands, the company may double the 65-employee workforce.
IEI also completed in the first quarter of this year an expansion that doubled the closed-loop recycling portion of its largest recycling plant and warehouse in Washington, W. Va., outside of Parkersburg. That business operates under the name Polymer Alliance Services.
Naik said the Polymer Alliance operation used to just reprocess scrap. About four years ago it moved into closed-loop recycling. Last year, the 80-employee plant reprocessed about 70 million pounds of engineered polymers from chemical companies in the region.
When prices of material started to go up, everyone started to realize the value of the material that they were scrapping, he said. We are concentrating on industrial engineering polymers because that is where you can afford to put money back into the material.
He said the original 200,000-square-foot plant was sold out.