A brand of mat called System 7 that was engineered to be lighter and more durable and versatile will be the first product manufactured at the site, where D&D had patented two processes called ThermoPlastic FlowForming and Sheetless ThermoForming.
The proprietary processes will let Spartan Composites manufacture larger, stronger and more complex composite products while increasing output. The division can almost double its capacity without adding a lot more machinery, Hosto said.
He describes System 7 mats, which are almost 5 inches thick and weigh about 900 pounds, as game-changers. They are designed to be easily connected to other common mats and to have a 10-year to 15-year life cycle. The composite product costs more than wooden mats but will be lighter so more can fit on a truck. They also will resist mold, won't get heavier when wet, and can be recycled.
"They will be on the market by the end of the year," Hosto said. "We're perfecting the process as we speak. We're testing and going through our due diligence."
The System 7 mats should be a little bit lighter than competitors' composite mats, Hosto said. The process also allows for customizing with specialty additives to resist skidding and improve performance in cold temperatures.
To describe the makeup of the polyethylene composite, Hosto said, "For the sake of simplicity, its relatively pure so our mats are 100 percent recyclable. That's huge."
Hosto joined Spartan Composites after holding positions as a strategic account manager at Entec Polymers and business manager at Ravago Americas LLC, which is part of the Arendonk, Belgium-based Ravago Group. Entec also is a member of Ravago Group.
Spartan Composites currently employs about 20 people who also do toll compounding. The division will grow to about 50 employees when it is fully operational, Hosto said.
In the meantime, Spartan Composite officials are looking at other products and end markets the site can serve. A couple ideas involve building trusses and consumer mats to protect driveways during pool installations.
"We have in-house engineers and the innovation side of this business tells me we're going to branch out into more areas," Hosto said.