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Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls: this green company runs lean with the help of a ShopBot
ShopBots: PRSalpha 96 X 48
Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls has been processing mixed plastic and manufacturing products from commingled plastic material since 1986. The company is the second largest in this scenic Iowa city, employing 46 people over three shifts, 5 days a week. According to their site, "Every year the company recycles more than 5 million pounds of plastic into environmentally sustainable products. This is equivalent to 35 million milk jugs that would otherwise end up in a landfill. And the company is committed to helping protect our environment through sustainability and green manufacturing practices."
The company turns recycled plastics into long-lasting recreational park benches, picnic tables, planters and trash receptacles; plastic lumber; traffic control products such as car stops, speed bumps and wheel chocks; as well as custom industrial moldings. "Everywhere you look outside, you'll find our products," notes Sue Waters, the company's VP of Sales and Marketing.
Bob Mestdagh, VP of Production, says, "One of our services is to engrave our plastic park benches, signs and the like per customers' requests. We used to accomplish this with a hand router -- which was pretty labor intensive, and of course prone to mistakes and waste. We wanted to work more efficiently, and reduce the amount of wasted product, so about 15 years ago looked into automating with CNC."
After some web research, discussions with other CNC owners and the ShopBot team, the company chose a ShopBot 96 X 48 tool, which has been in constant use for about 15 years. Bob says, "It's a reliable tool. We've had little to no issues over all of these years -- just the normal wear & tear you'd expect from a tool over time. Just now we've decided to purchase a second, new ShopBot to be sure we can handle orders quickly." Bob notes that his ShopBot operator appreciates the ShopBot online forum, for quick answers to very detailed questions.
When it comes to filling orders, Plastic Recycling prides itself both on quality of construction and rapid delivery. "Whereas some companies will take 6 or 8 weeks, or longer, to fill a large order, we can turn orders around and get them out the door in just a couple of days," says Bob.
Sue Waters adds, "In the last few years with the economic downturn,
we've noticed a definite increase in orders for our engraved
products. With municipal budgets slashed, cities and towns look to
private funds to help furnish public spaces. If a bench can honor
the memory of a loved one and also cover the cost of production,
that's a great thing to be able to do. The ShopBot helps ensure we
can meet the demand."