Toter Inc., a major rotational molder of roll-out carts for residential curbside trash and recycling, is getting into the custom-molding business.
In an Aug. 30 announcement, Toter officials said the company will help design custom-molded parts and will make custom compounds.
Toter President Jeff Gilliam said the company has formed Toter Custom Solutions in response to requests for custom work. Until now, Toter made only its own product lines.
“We've seen demand in the past for it. We've just never contemplated custom until now,” he said. “We think it'll be a good growth area for Toter.”
According to Plastics News' most recent ranking of rotomolders, Toter is tied with toy maker Step2 Co. LLC as the largest North American rotomolder. Both had 2010 sales of $145 million.
Toter, with its headquarters plant in Statesville, N.C., is a division of Wastequip Inc., which makes large commercial waste containers and trash compactors. Toter also runs two other plants, both in Acuña, Mexico.
That large size gives Toter clout when buying polyethylene and other resins — cost savings it can pass on to custom-molded jobs as well.
Gilliam said custom rotomolding will help Toter spread its business around. City governments are the main customers for the roll-out carts, and Toter officials tout the durability of the rotomolded products.
“We think it's a good opportunity just to diversify our revenue base,” Gilliam said. “Our intent is a long-term commitment to [custom molding].”
Gilliam said Toter already has enough capacity with its 18 rotomolding machines to handle its own products and the custom work. The company could add more shifts as the custom business grows, he added.
“Toter is the leader in rotational molding, which allows customers to leverage our considerable design experience, purchasing power and production capacity,” he said.
On the custom-compounding side, Toter offers both micropellets or powder. The company, which does its own pelletizing, also blends in recycled material from its own waste carts that are retired by governmental customers, and from stretch film, which Toter buys on the open market, Gilliam said.
Toter uses micropellets to mold its trash carts. Gilliam said micropellets work well to make custom granite color blends.
The company will run the custom-molding operations as a business unit distinct from its proprietary carts. “It has to be treated as a separate business,” Gilliam said. “There are characteristics of custom molding that are different from our core product.”