ANDERSON — With earth-moving equipment working on the site of the former Guide Lamp property, the official groundbreaking took place Tuesday for the new SER North America facility.
Sirmax invested $25.6 million in its Anderson facility, which opened in 2018, and recently purchased SER, an Italian company specializing in the recycling of plastics.
Lorenzo Ferro, country manager for Sirmax, said the idea to add a plastics recycling facility came from their customers over the challenges facing the environment.
“The only way to fully control the process was for us to do it ourselves,” he said.
SER North America is investing $17.6 million in the 130,000-square-foot facility that will open in July or August 2020 and employ 38 people with an annual payroll of $1.3 million plus benefits.
The company is purchasing 35 acres along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The city is providing a $1.5 million in tax increment financing for the project through a bond and $650,000 to extend the existing rail spur and utility expansion with tax increment financing revenues.
Ferro said the SER facility is being designed for future expansion as the supply chain demands and there are plans for future growth south of the new facility.
“This is the right place and right time to be at the forefront of this new technology,” he said. “This is just the next step in developing our headquarters in North America.
“We want to keep Anderson as the hub for introducing new products into North America,” Ferro said. “The plan is to keep expanding.”
He explained the Anderson facility will produce zero waste with scrap from the Sirmax facility being reprocessed at SER and then returned to Sirmax for repurposing.
“This would have never been possible without the help of Anderson and the state of Indiana,” Ferro said. “Anderson helped us speed through the process to start work before the winter comes.”
Ferro said Anderson has attracted new foreign and domestic investments over the past four years.
“This is a good place to do business in Anderson and Indiana,” he said.
Ferro said the company is happy to be a part of the Anderson Advanced Manufacturing Program to train local residents for employment in local companies.
“Right now we can’t find enough workers,” he said. “We’re creating even more jobs.
“The focus is on developing and training of the workforce,” Ferro said. “We’re looking for people willing to be trained.”
He said the SER facility will be able to recycle 25 million pounds of plastic annually and eventually grow to recycle 50 million pounds of plastic for reuse.
Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said he was pleased that Sirmax decided to choose Anderson for its North American presence.
“We have been working on this expansion for several years,” he said. “There are excessive plastics in the world that is an environmental issue. This will help clean up the environment and find a future use for those plastics.”
Broderick said the former Guide Lamp property was considered a brownfield and through the efforts of Sirmax and property owner, the Racer Trust, it has become a viable site.
“We’re looking forward to their future expansion,” he said.
Sirmax produces thermoplastic compounds that are used in the appliance, automotive, power tools and consumer products worldwide.