International vinyl matting manufacturer Plastic Extruders Ltd celebrates its 50th year in 2013. From small beginnings, this family-run business has rapidly expanded with annual sales today in the region of £12m to over 50 countries worldwide.
Plastic Extruders Ltd, or Plastex as it is affectionately known in the market, is based in the UK and is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of entrance, leisure, and slip resistant matting. It specialises in the design and production of a wide range of safety and special purpose products which combine good looks, exceptional quality and outstanding performance.
Founded on the 31st December 1962, the company is now run by the second generation, managing director David and sales director Peter O’Sullivan. Commenting on their half century, Peter O’ Sullivan says, “2013 marks the first 50 years of our company being in business and, other than the first year of operation, we have always manufactured our plastic products in Wickford, Essex. We are very proud that we have many long service employees. Three who have been with us 40 years and some 21 who have been with us 25+ years.”
The company’s growth has been impressive. In 1993 Plastex opened a new manufacturing plant in Alabama, USA to serve the increasing demand in North America for its top quality manufactured products.
Both of the UK and US production facilities operate on a 24 hour a day cycle, with the whole manufacturing process running on in-house designed and built machinery. The UK facility has been ISO 9001 registered since 1993, assuring quality and on time delivery.
Over 60% of the production is exported and sold via distributors in over 50 countries worldwide. The mats are not only installed in every type of location but are also used in some extreme environments, ranging from the British Antarctic Survey base on Bird Island to the intense heat of the Middle East.
Part of the company’s success is its innovative approach to design and problem solving, as well as its close links with distributors and their customers. David O’Sullivan explains, “Through our design and innovation programme we work with our customers to improve constantly the form, function and cost effectiveness of our products. This means we are constantly updating our ranges to meet their demands and needs or to satisfy the latest regulations. Ultimately, we develop our ranges to adjust to ever changing circumstances, often being the first innovators in the field.” A good example of this is Frontrunner Brush Wide, a new addition to the Frontrunner Entrance Flooring System. This was developed for European countries where winter gritting salt has been replaced by granite chippings on snow and icy paths. The extra wide gaps between the brushes allow small stones to fall through the grid and not remain on the surface where they could be carried in by subsequent foot traffic.
Plastex is also very conscious of the environment and is committed to reducing environmental impact wherever it can. For example, most black matting is made with up to 100% post-industrial recycled material while all trimmings and production process waste is recycled into the production line in line with the European Community REACH regulation (2007). Furthermore, Plastex does not use any substances currently included in the SVHC (Substances of Very High Concern) list in any of its products.