Ferco Color has opened a new compounding plant less than a mile away from its color concentrate facility in Ontario, Calif.
The 42,000-square-foot leased facility will make compounds based on bioplastics such as polylactic acid as well as commodity resins such as polyethylene and polypropylene, owner and President Jennifer Thaw said in a Dec. 9 phone interview. Other products made at the site will include compounds for rotational molding and glass-filled, talc-filled and mineral-filled composites.
The demand for bioplastics is huge, Thaw said. We've already done some sales into cutlery and are looking at containers.
The new plant will operate as Ferco Compounding. An analytical plastics lab titled Einstein also has been installed at the new plant, which employs 32.
The first of the plant's four twin-screw extrusion lines started up earlier this month, Thaw said. The compounding plant and lab represent a total investment of $2 million.
I wanted to grow the business, and I tried a few different things that didn't work out, so I'm really glad to have this opportunity, said Thaw, who launched the business in 1993.
Prior to opening the new plant, Ferco had operated a second site in Memphis, Tenn. from 2002 until 2008, until declining sales led Thaw to pull the plug. Ferco also ventured into liquid color, but Thaw said that business wasn't a good fit and was let go in 2009.
But I knew we had a good customer base that trusted us with colors, she explained. They had grown to trust us, and there was a huge interest when I brought up compounding.
Thaw now expects the compounding business to generate sales of $25 million in its first full year of operation.
I don't know if I was down to my third strike or if the third time's the charm, but things are going really well so far, she said.
Thaw declined to disclose annual sales for the existing color business which employs 48, operating 12 lines in a 40,000-square-foot facility but she said color sales are up 10 percent in 2010.