ORLANDO, FLA. — Plastic recycling systems maker Erema looks at the United States and likes what it sees.
So much so that the Austrian company's Erema North America Inc.'s unit is investing millions of dollars in an expansion aimed at providing more stateside service to its customer base.
Mike Horrocks, CEO of Erema North America, said during an interview at NPE 2015 in Orlando that construction is beginning soon on an expansion project that will see his company's Ipswich, Mass., location increase from 10,000 to 25,000 square feet. The extra space will be used to install $2 million of additional Erema equipment, allowing U.S. customers more opportunity to see and test the company's wares.
That's an important part of the sales process for potential customers deciding whether to purchase the company's machinery.
“Potential customers come to us for a very wide variety of projects from complicated automotive structures through to very simple polyethylene blown film applications. It's a very wide range,” Horrocks said.
Having additional Erema equipment in the United States, available to run sample tests, helps streamline the decision-making process, Horrocks said. The company has provided U.S.-based testing for years, but this expansion allows it to provide even more, he said.
The added machinery also will cut down on the need to send some material to Erema's headquarters in Austria.
“It's very important because the first question you get is, ‘Can you test the material?' The next question you get is, ‘Can you show us?' That's part of the sales process,” Horrocks said while sitting at Erema's booth Wednesday.
Manfred Hackl, CEO of the parent company Erema in Austria, sees the U.S. market to be fertile ground.
“The U.S. market has continuously grown the last years and we would like to further grow here,” he said.
“These days, especially with the extreme good and strong dollar, it's quite good and positive for us, there's no discussion about that,” Hackl said.
Along with a strong dollar compared to other currencies, the U.S. market is benefiting from a push deeper into recycling streams that have been less popular than in the past. A willingness to tackle these more challenging recycling streams requires more and different equipment.
“We're expanding, the customer base is expanding. The market in the U.S. is changing to look at more complicated materials so that less material goes to landfill, less material gets disposed of. It's an evolving market in the U.S. and we're trying to react to that evolving market,” Horrocks said.
Growth over the last 10 years has seen employment at Erema North America go from six to 24 employees today. Horrocks expects that number to continue to gradually increase in the years to come.
Along with provided more room for equipment, Erema North America's expansion allows the company to expand its spare parts and technical support, Horrocks said.