Fountain Inn, S.C. — Ask Angelika Huemer. Ask Jimmy Cranford. Ask Alan DiUmberto.
They will all tell you the same thing. American Starlinger-Sahm Inc. is in it for the long haul.
As a subsidiary of Vienna, Austria-based machinery maker Starlinger & Co. GmbH, the Fountain Inn-based company is investing millions into a new 23,000-square-foot facility that is part showroom, part technical center, part spare parts depot and part offices.
The company's new building replaces 9,000 square feet of rented space in nearby Greenville.
“We want to make a statement. We want to let our customers know that we're serious about being in the U.S. market,” said Jimmy Cranford, president of American Starlinger-Sahm.
Housed in the new facility are two plastics recycling lines, solid state polycondensation equipment, and a sheet line that all demonstrate the company's technology to potential customers. Solid state polycondensation equipment is used to increase intrinsic viscosity and decontaminate recycled polyester pellets or flake.
Prior to the opening of the new site, these potential customers had to head over to Austria to actually see trials on their recycled plastic. That can all take place now in South Carolina.
Sending thousands of pounds of recycled plastic over to Austria to be tested on Starlinger machinery can be an expensive process.
“It's very costly for customers to send the material over and then travel over. The idea, as they say, ‘If you build it, they will come,'” Cranford said. “It's more convenient for the customers.”
Developing the new location also sends a message — company officials hope — about the importance of the North American market to Starlinger-Sahm. They hope the permanency of a company-owned site signals to customers that Starlinger-Sahm is here to stay.
That's an important message for potential customers who are considering spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more, on equipment, company officials realize.
ness in the United States,” Huemer said. “We think it's one of the keys to have testing equipment here.”