Drayton Valley fibremat plant set to enter market
November 26, 2013
By: Drayton Valley Western Review
The BioComposites Group (BCG) fibre mat plant is currently getting its ducks in a row as it begins beta-testing items for its innovative product line.
The plant will convert bio-feedstock and forestry waste into lightweight fibre matting used in the interior of cars, and is currently developing and refining its product line, as well as completing deals with auto manufacturers.
“The fibre mat line is operational now, so where we’re at with that is we’re just co-ordinating between our marketing representatives in the States and our material suppliers,” explained Dan Madlung, CEO of BCG. “We’re quoting a bunch of automotive products right now to get the orders,” he added.
Audi car manufacturer is one company in particular that has been in touch with BCG, inquiring about the fibre matting and requesting quotes for its Q5 vehicles. Madlung hopes to have orders being manufactured for Audi before the end of the year.
“What we have to do is we have to quote the products and then we send samples of our production to them,” Madlung said. “Right now we’re getting ready to produce the samples. We’ve ordered all the materials, so with some of these we’re trying some fairly new items. We’re bringing in materials from Edmonton, from Blue Ridge, from the States, different materials to mix together and make into our product. We’ve got some from Bangladesh last week actually, some natural agricultural fibres.”
Madlung works together with business partner Tam Tekle. Madlung handles commercialization and market matters, while Tekle spearheads research and innovation for BCG.
The fibre mat plant is located on Drayton Valley’s Bio-Mile, an area of industrially-zoned land located next to the Weyerhauser sawmill. The Bio-Mile will be an area geared at attracting companies to the growing ‘bio-economy’ who will research and create new products from forestry and agricultural waste residues.
Madlung said all the fibre mat’s machines have been tested and are in good working order. As well all construction is complete on the plant.
Madlung noted the time and attention to various details required when a company enters a new market with new, innovative product lines.
“It’s lightweight so you get better fuel economy and it’s recyclable, which is going to be law in the United States soon. So a certain per cent of your car has to be recyclable. It’s already that way in Europe,” Madlung said.
The fibre mat plan currently has around seven employees and plans to run three shifts, with around 20 employees to be hired in the coming four months, including salaried positions such as accountants, office and laboratory staff.
The plant will be producing samples within a month’s time according to Madlung and will be further developing its technologies and products as they ramp up into full production.
“We’ll make the samples, and then those will go to customers, and then from there you get the purchase orders,” Madlung outlined, noting there’s still a lot to do on the business side. “We always feel better when product’s flowing out and money’s flowing in, so that’s when I’ll feel real good, but we’ve made really good progress and everything’s operating now. It’s just a matter of getting the orders.”