Coll Materials Exchange LLC is adding a second extrusion line at its plant in Waco, Texas, that will double the site's capacity to produce railroad ties made completely from recycled plastic for Axion International Holdings Inc.
The new line will boost annual railroad-tie production in Waco to 200,000 and nearly double employment there to 79, up from 40, said Renee Coll. Coll co-owns the company with her husband, Brian, who is president and CEO.
“The [line] will be up and running in the second quarter,” she said. “Because of what we've learned from the startup of the first line, it shouldn't take long — maybe 30 days — after the second line starts up for it to be at full capacity.”
The Waco plant, which just opened three months ago, represents an investment of $6 million for the rapidly expanding recycling company that Brian Coll started in 2008 as a one-man plastics brokering firm out of his home.
Coll Materials also has recycling plants in its headquarters town of Zanesville, Ohio, and in Allentown, Pa., where the recycling operations Coll acquired last year in its purchase of Nicos Polymer Group were moved after a fire destroyed the former Nicos plant in Nazareth, Pa., in August.
The Waco plant includes two wash lines, a dry line, three 8-inch extruders to make pellets, four granulators and fiber-separation operations. It currently has capacity to produce 122 million pounds of recycled materials annually — that will increase to 150 million pounds when the new extrusion line is fully operational, Renee Coll said.
She said the Waco plant handles post-consumer and -industrial plastics — much of its high density polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC.
The Waco plant also does toll processing for Colorite Hose, which makes some of its garden hoses from recycled PVC. Colorite Hose, a Tekni-Plex Inc. company based in Ridgefield, N.J., has five hose and aeration tubing plants in the U.S. and one in Canada.
Coll opened the Waco plant shortly after reaching an agreement in June on a three-year, renewable contract to make railroad ties for Providence, N.J.- based Axion International Inc.
Axion was one of the three 2011 recipients of the inaugural Innovations in Plastics Recycling Awards from the American Chemistry Council in recognition of the company's structural components used in bridges and military applications and its Ecotrax railroad ties.
Axion also received an environmental stewardship award in October from the plastics environmental division of the Society of Plastics Engineers.
“Our rail business continues to grow across multiple customers around the globe, and this additional capacity is needed to meet growing demand,” said Axion CEO and President Steve Silverman.
“With this expansion we will be recycling up to 37 million pounds of waste plastic that would otherwise wind up in landfills.
“Like any manufacturing startup, we've had our share of challenges,” said Silverman. “Coll has ... stepped up to make sure we met them head-on.”