Extruflex North America LLC, a French-owned manufacturer of flexible PVC strips, sheet and transparent films, has started extrusion operations in Birmingham, Ala.
The move gives Paris-based Extruflex SAS extrusion operations in Europe, Asia and North America.
"Extruflex is very international. More so than anyone else in our niche. We have distributors in more than 75 countries," said Shane Solomon, managing director of Extruflex North America in Birmingham.
"We also have seven sales and distribution offices, in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Brazil, China and the USA. And pretty much no other competitor that we have is manufacturing in more than one country."
Extruflex started its North American operation in 2011 as a distribution center for North American and Central American customers. The company ships product to 13 countries from Alabama, Solomon said.
"Since the first day we started in 2011, the idea was always to manufacture in the USA eventually," Solomon said. That required growing the business to the point where it made economic sense to extrude locally, he said.
"With PVC extrusion, you need to have a certain level of volume before it becomes feasible to do it. You have to be able to run extruders 24 hours a day," Solomon said. "We had a goal, especially our team here in the United States, to grow the business to the point where we could justify the investment that we've now made in people, [and] equipment."