A new factory in Frome will bring new opportunities for the construction, signage and shopfitting industries as well as offering new jobs in the area.
The factory, on Vallis Way trading estate, has been built by Nick Stillwell and his team at Protomax Plastics to concentrate on the production of boards made out of upcycled plastic waste designed to provide a cost-effective and durable alternative to plywood, chipboard and MDF products used for hoardings, in shopfitting and for signs and exhibition materials.
The board, under the trade name Stormboard, is hard wearing, weatherproof and at the end of its use is 100 per cent recyclable into new board.
Protomax Plastics has been established in Frome for almost five years and for the past two has been chosen by Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud to be one of his Green Heroes at the Grand Designs Live exhibitions at the NEC Birmingham and in London.
Protomax proprietor Nick has been supplying companies such as retailers ASDA, Sainsburyâs, Ann Summers, M&S and construction firm Costain with sustainable upcycled boards that have been turned into products for their own use.
Nick invented the machine and the process but was unable to produce the boards in the quantities required at his site in Frome and until the new factory was built had to rely on plants in Europe to supply the large format boards.
The new factory and its five employees will now turn out about 30,000 boards a year and already Nick is looking to recruit more machine operatives to run three shift patterns from the spring.
Nick said: Itâs been a long hard slog; we werenât able to get any Government funding so have had to rely on support from friends and family and the guys here at Protomax to get this factory off the ground.
We took delivery of new machines and these were installed just before Christmas so we now enter 2017 in a good position and are teaming up with Amari Plastics who will be able to offer our products for the many and varied applications that their customers require.
Being able to manufacture Stormboard in the UK will open so many avenues for us.
Global plastics distributor Amari Plastics has been established for more than 40 years and has 15 centres in the UK supplying the signage and display, building and construction and industrial and engineering markets. A team from the company visited Protomax to see Stormboard being manufactured.
Jamie Manifold, director of supplier relations at Amari Plastics said: We have been involved with Protomax for some time and we are delighted to strengthen this association with Nick. Stormboard is an exciting revolutionary product and it will be an ideal fit for our varied customer base.