Granite Peak Group, a plastic recycling company, has launched a new affiliate company, Triton Ties, a manufacturer of railroad ties that are designed to be a replacement for wood.
"We aren't the first people to do this, there have been companies for the last 20 years trying to replace wood ties with plastic," Greg Janson, president and CEO of Granite Peak and Triton.
"We came at this from a different angle, because we spent a lot of time in engineering the manufacturing process and the resin matrix to make sure that the part or form can last on a mainline track." he said.
Granite Peak Group also owns Granite Peak Plastics LLC. The two companies are co-located in St. Louis and operated by the same leadership, but Triton is a separate company and has full control of the supply chain to create reasonable pricing for customers.
Granite Peak started the process of creating Triton eight years ago, when trying to find a market where it could vertically integrate manufacturing.
"When you really look at where post-consumer polyethylene and polypropylene has been successful it's been using the positive attributes of plastic to replace inferior materials with specific applications," Janson said.
The ties are made with a proprietary blend of PE with some additional strengthening agents such as glass fiber. The ties can be shipped anywhere in the U.S.
The ties are also customizable to meet specific needs. Triton can change the strength, stiffness and cost by altering the formula for the customer's requirements.
The new ties are expected to have a lifespan of 50 years and are expected to be waterproof, not to rot and can be recycled at the end of their use. About 20 million ties are replaced annually in North America and Triton is aiming for a more sustainable, economic and environmentally friendly solution.
Triton has done third-party testing through the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association to validate the consistency and quality of the manufacturing process.
Granite Peak originally co-founded Evertrak and was an equity partner but left that partnership in 2019 to start Triton.
Currently, Triton has been going through a long process of providing ties to customer's test labs and allowing them to test the products then putting them in track. Customers that have liked the test ties have been placing orders and Triton is working towards building customer confidence.
"Customers are very excited about how well the part performs," Janson said.