Thousands of square feet of additional space at Birch Plastics Inc. are allowing the company to grow now and in the future.
The Houston-based plastics recycler, which also handles some virgin resins, recently almost doubled in size from 35,000 to 65,000 square feet.
The added space means the company can separate manufacturing from warehouse space, freeing up room for added equipment and production, President Robert Lang said.
Birch, which started in 2001, has a history of growth and this latest move continues that trend. Initially located in 5,000 square feet, the company eventually moved to a 20,000-square-foot facility before settling into its 35,000-square-foot site in 2009.
But even that was getting tight, and the company starting looking for more space to continue to grow. When the building right next door became vacant, the recycler jumped at the chance to add an additional 30,000 square feet of connected space and additional loading docks.
Now one building is devoted to manufacturing and one is for finished goods, “Really, we've just had a big growth spurt here in the last six months,” Lang said.
The change, he said, will allow Birch to bring in and recycle more recycled plastics thanks to the extra elbow room
“Just the opportunity to buy more material, maintain a larger variety of inventory,” Lang said. “Be able to buy in larger volumes and be able to process that and not worry about the space.
“It makes inventory control a lot easier, which is important. Be able to have the space to lay out material and test it and qualify it before we process it and ship it out,” Lang said. “It definitely has helped our quality control.”
Part of Birch's growth over the years has been through the development of new recycled-based resins. And that is the case with a new glass-filled nylon 6/6 flame retardant compound that Birch recently introduced. With 100-percent post-industrial recycled content, the new product is aimed at heating, ventilation and air conditioning markets as well as building materials that typically have used virgin material.
“Our injection molding customers were requesting an alternative to make them more [cost] competitive,” Lang said.