Company Launches New Deck and Railing Line
Two years after it was founded, Composatron Composite Technology has taken another step in its strategy to become a major player in the North American deck market. It has launched its own line of rail...
Two years after it was founded, Composatron Composite Technology has taken another step in its strategy to become a major player in the North American deck market. It has launched its own line of railing and decking products, Premier Composite Railing and Deck.
The Premier line is being distributed in Ontario and Quebec by the wholesale building products distributor Nicholson and Cates. According to Composatron vice president Drew Knox, the company is initially targeting the new line at independent lumber yards, businesses which often serve as supply outlets for contractors and deck installers. Knox says the company launched the product in Canada and the U.S. this past spring at a number of trade shows. It is currently looking for wholesale distributor partners for the remainder of Canada, as well as the mid-west and southeast regions of the U.S.
“What makes our line unique is the railing,” says Knox. “A lot of companies have composite deckboards, but they don’t have the railing to complement it. The railing helps sell the decking.”
Composatron is a licensee of Strandex, a proprietary technology for making wood-fibre plastic composite products. With the Strandex method, wood flour is first dried and pre-mixed with base resin. For the Premier line’s railing system the base resin is PVC; while the base resin for the line’s deckboards is polyethylene. The wood flour-resin mixture is then fed to the extruder where a unique die extrudes the material in rope-like strands, which are then combined to make the final board. Knox says the Strandex process provides better plastic encapsulation of the wood fibre and produces a composite board with enhanced properties, such as improved strength and UV-resistance.
White PVC capstock is co-extruded over profiles produced for the Premier railing system. The co-extrusion process chemically bonds the PVC and composite board materials.
“The railing system is extremely strong, and comes with pre-drilled holes for brackets,” says Knox. “It is designed to be very easy to assemble.”
Composatron’s Toronto manufacturing plant has approximately 55,000 sq. ft of floor space, employing about 70 people. The company currently has four extrusion lines and could be adding one or two more lines over the next year. It is working on installing a fully automated materials handling system to deliver raw wood-plastic composite material from the compounding room to extruders, improving efficiency.
Says Knox: “We are looking at launching a number of new products, but at the same time we don’t want to grow too quickly. We want to have sales in balance of with our capacity.”