Magma Flooring LLC has added new markets to its recycled plastic panels business.
The company has been increasing production at its River Falls, Wis., plant which began operating about a year ago. Although the initial focus was flooring made from reclaimed low density polyethylene, the panels also interest manufacturers of recreational vehicles, manufactured housing and concrete forms, said Magma vice president of sales and marketing Cory Erickson in a phone interview.
Magma has also broadened its input capabilities for post-industrial reclaimed plastics to include high density polyethylene, PVC and polypropylene. On the drawing board are high-impact polystyrene sheet products.
Magma takes recycled plastic pieces and powders and scatters the material on a low-pressure two-belt system, which transports the plastic through a heating zone that can reach up to about 480° F. The formed web then enters a cooling zone before the sheet is taken off and converted to reclaimed plastic products. Erickson said his company can apply overlays for specific needs such as visible wall panels. Filler content can be as high as 50 to 80 percent. Typical sheet thickness ranges from 1.5 millimeters to 6.5 millimeters. The conveyor belts are made of fluoropolymer.
A $2 million injection of funds from New Capital Fund helped the company establish is production base. Magma is using equipment developed by Sandvik TPS, now a subsidiary of German construction products and machinery conglomerate Sandvik Holding GmbH. The ideas behind the project resulted from contract research at Interfacial Solutions LLC of River Falls. The principals of Magma had worked in management and technical positions at 3M Co.
Erickson said Magma will add a second line when volumes mandate it. The company is now running at about a third of theoretical capacity.
Magma touts its products as more sustainable alternatives to virgin resins. Patents are pending on the products.