American Clay Works
When new standards to protect shifting and falling cargo came into place in 2004, auto recyclers looked for solutions to secure their loads properly. The owners of American Clay Works & Supply Company in Denver, Colo. saw an opportunity.
"As a horticultural supply company, we were using materials and fabrics that could be modified for recyclers' needs," said Ron Eberly, co-owner. "We went to our overseas suppliers who were manufacturing our bird netting and gave them the specs. That was the beginning of ScrapWrap."
ScrapWrap is a polyethylene material used to wrap steel or crushed automobiles on a truck. The material's tiny plastic mesh helps keep even the smallest debris contained. Its ultraviolet coating protects against disintegration from the sun and its bright orange color is a visible indicator to law enforcement that the cargo is secure.
Tried And Tested
"We went through three iterations of the product before we were happy with it," explained Eberly. "The first time the weave wasn't right and there was no ultraviolet coating. The second time, we corrected the weave and added the UV coating. But it was black, and when we tested it out on the road, the coating couldn't be easily seen. Therefore, the trucks were being stopped by law enforcement to make sure they were covered."
The third time was a success and now ScrapWrap is manufactured in its signature bright orange color. The UV coating on the wrap lasts for three to six months so vehicles may be covered and stored outside. After that, sunlight naturally breaks down the fibers.
The wrap comes on a roll that is 5-by-1,000 feet long. The business ships via truck line with 12 rolls to a pallet. The company also ships smaller amounts by UPS. Because American Clay Works & Supply Company has negotiated special freight rates with its suppliers, it sends its product as prepaid freight. It generally ships to the 48 contiguous states and offers local delivery in the Denver metro area.
To date, ScrapWrap has been a successful out-of-industry segment for American Clay Works & Supply Company (AmericanClayWorks.net), which primarily remains a horticultural business. The company started as a clay pot factory in 1893 by Clarence Montague. By the 1960s, American Clay Works & Supply Company began to offer other horticultural products, from fertilizers to greenhouse supplies and shade cloth. Eberly joined the company in 1979 as a salesperson and bought into it in 1983. Today, he is co-owner with Ric Montague, the founder's great grandson.
ScrapWrap was first offered six years ago, and has had steady repeat customers since.
"We've gotten lots of compliments on ScrapWrap," admitted Eberly. "Customers say it is easy to use and very visible. They like the several month window for wrapping and then temporarily storing a shipment. It gives them some options."
The company continues to grow its wrap business primarily by word of mouth. In the past, it has used direct mail and exhibited at auto recycling conventions. It also advertises in auto recycling trade publications like The Locator Magazine. The owners find the product sells itself, once people know about it.
"There are not many people in the world that can make this product," said Eberly. "There is a real intricacy involved with the kind of weave and how it's put together. We want to continue to improve the product. We're very happy to be part of the auto recycling industry and hope to continue to play a role for many years to come."
Owners: Ric Montague & Ron Eberly
Location: Denver, Colo.
Years In Business: 13