If you very own plastic patio furniture, or in case you take a seat in a plastic deck chair at an inn pool, there’s a terrific danger it becomes manufactured in Berks County.
Grosfillex, which has a plant in South Heidelberg Township, is the main maker of outside plastic furnishings. It additionally makes different merchandise, which includes plastic planters, decorative wall paneling, umbrella bases, and table legs. Its merchandise is bought through essential stores inclusive of Walmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot.
Grosfillex’s North American headquarters and plant are at 230 Old West Penn Ave., simply east of Robesonia. It also has some other plant and two distribution facilities in North Lebanon Township, Lebanon County.
Despite its prominence, many Berks residents are surprising with the enterprise, said Frans Govers, CEO of Grosfillex North America.
“I’ve been here twenty years and I still meet people and tell them what I do and that they say, ‘Who?’?” said Govers, a native of The Netherlands. “It’s one of the things that we ought to accept. Grosfillex is not a Rubbermaid or a Coca-Cola where every person knows who they may be. If you pass outside of Berks County, particularly in case you go into the hospitality and eating place industry, humans understand Grosfillex.”
Grosfillex became founded in France in 1927 by using Auguste, François and Jean Grosfillex who made timber merchandise, including egg cups, napkin earrings, tool handles, and mallets. The organization later switched from wooden to plastic and began making such things as patio fixtures, garden planters, and folding doorways.
The employer remains privately owned by using descendants of the three Grosfillex brothers.
“It changed into one of the first groups to exchange to resin,” Govers stated. “We started with making little things like soap dishes and such things as that. We literally invented the mono-block chair. That’s while it all began. From there it swiftly grew.”
A mono-block chair is a one-piece, stackable chair. It’s Grosfillex’s most-produced product, Govers stated.
Grosfillex arrived in the U.S. In 1969 with a warehouse and sales workplace in Reading. The South Heidelberg facility turned into built in 1983 and targeted on resin patio furnishings merchandise.
In 1990, Grosfillex opened a distribution middle Lebanon County to house its boom within the patio fixtures product line. Between 2000 and 2007, Grosfillex constructed its other Lebanon County centers.
The corporation has approximately a hundred and twenty everlasting employees in Berks and Lebanon counties, and it also makes use of temps at some point of busier instances of the year.
Grosfillex North America is celebrating its 50th anniversary this 12 months with numerous worker celebrations and promotions deliberate.
“We’re very happy with it,” Govers said. “I assume it is quite an accomplishment that a business enterprise like us can exist for fifty years in a spot like that.”
Using giant injection machines that have detachable molds, Grosfillex makes the diffusion of products at its South Heidelberg facility. Depending on the product, the complete method can take as little as 30 seconds, said Gene Hracho, director of operations for Grosfillex North America. The longest cycle is beneath 4 mins, he said.
The molten plastic, which arrives at the facility as small beads, is injected at high stress into the molds.
“It has to go to every exceptional angle of that mold, which includes down the duration of the legs, inside and outside of all the ornamental returned sections,” Hracho said. “It’s to ensure the entirety is stuffed. If we have a problem within the process, you would possibly have a chunk of the chair that failed to shape.”
The plant is a zero-waste facility, and any pieces that have an illness or are otherwise not used are floor up and reused.
Some merchandise requires meeting by means of employees after the molding technique. Employees doing the assembly ought to work on the identical speed as the machines to keep away from a backup, Hracho said.
“If we must put five human beings on it if you want to have them collect on the same rate that the device’s generating the parts, that is what we will do,” he stated.
Because it makes out of doors fixtures, the South Heidelberg plant may be very seasonal, Govers stated. And with spring in full swing and summer season just across the nook, the plant is within the midst of its eighth season, he stated.
“It’s sold from the early spring to the early summer season,” he said. “Even inside the industrial application — the food service and the hospitality within the northern states starts whilst the spring season starts. So we’ve quite a few time constructing up and stocking our warehouses, and now we are within the complete midst of shipping.”