Firm set to branch out as use of plastics grows, goes greenThe focus of Interfacial Solutions of River Falls is plastics technology but a new spinoff company and the purchasing of an option to build and expand are the two new endeavors.
By: Ashley Hall , River Falls Journal
The focus of Interfacial Solutions of River Falls is plastics technology but a new spinoff company and the purchasing of an option to build and expand are the two new endeavors.
First starting off the business in his garage, Jeff Cernohous has since made Interfacial Solutions into a large, national and international ‘green’ plastics company.
The way that Interfacial Solutions works is that it provides services for its customers to develop products for certain things, such as plastic on car doors.
Interfacial Solutions has three main products that it invented for its customers to use technology with their own product or idea.
The three are: deTerra, deVerde, and SeQuest.
All three are developed with ‘green’ technology or related applications. The products made using these different technologies are mainly for building and construction.
“We think that we have the potential to be successful,” Cernohous said.
Alongside Cernohous, Gregg Bennett and Brian Szymanski are partners at Interfacial Solutions.
Szymanski came on board February 2009 and Bennett is a newly made partner since June 2011.
Cernohous started Interfacial Solutions in 2003. It has now grown into a large company with over 50,000 square feet.
As of July 1, there’s been a new development within the company: It will introduce a spinoff company that will have a building of 20,000 square feet.
Magma Flooring will be the name of the new company owned by Interfacial Solutions.
Magma Flooring will operate on its own but still be a part of Interfacial Solutions.
“Interfacial Solutions has invested in the technology platform that Magma Flooring will use,” Bennett said.
The total investment that Interfacial Solutions may seek to launch Magma Flooring could be up to $5 million. Magma Flooring will be located at 283 Troy Street in the city’s Industrial Park.
Magma Flooring will be a green, under-laying, plastic, substrate-producing company.
It will be sold to flooring manufacturers that will then adhere the Magma Flooring product to their materials and create ‘laminate flooring,’ such as decorative stone or wood look-alikes.
The finished product is known as Luxury Vinyl Tile. Magma Flooring’s top customers are located in Europe.
“Our version is to enable eco-friendly flooring to replace PVC with an initial focus on luxury vinyl tile,” Bennett said.
The product is made with volcanic ash and recycled plastic. Cernohous said that this is cost effective and moisture resistant
There is 40 billion pounds of PVC produced in the world, Cernohous said.
Why use this product instead of PVC?
According to the Endocrine Society’s meeting in Houston, Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Mi-Jung Par found that children with high levels of phthalates (chemical additives in consumer products such as PVC) in their blood are five times as likely to be obese as children.
The plasticizers in the PVC can end up inside humans.
There was a study done of babies sitting on the floor on the laminated flooring with the under layer of PVC and have the plasticizers turn up in their urine.
Interfacial Solutions’ main goal is to help companies develop cost effective and unique ways to produce plastic products by helping innovators innovate.
At Interfacial Solutions, the company is taking the recycled plastic and making it into plastic flooring.
“We are literally turning trash into treasure,” Bennett said.
Part of Interfacial Solution’s resume is to show its customers that it is inventive by its issued patents.
There are about 60 issued patents for the inventors at Interfacial Solutions.
“Each year we file six to 12 patents,” Szymanski said.
Interfacial Solutions has about 24 patents pending and two issued this year.
“Creativity that results in patent-protected businesses for our customers is all part of our brand,” said Cernohous.
Interfacial Solutions employs 35 full-time employees-- four are doctor’s degrees and nearly half have technical degrees. The rest are highly skilled operators and technicians.
Many Interfacial employees come from neighboring universities such as UW-River Falls, UW-Stout, UW-Madison and the University of Minnesota.
There are also internship opportunities at Interfacial Solutions for the summer months.
With the increased business and technologies, Interfacial Solutions has also bought an option to increase its space within the company.
“We will know in a year if we will be building to further invest in Magma Flooring or need additional space for Interfacial Solutions,” Bennett said.
The plans for the building on the option are not set yet, it depends on the success of Magma Flooring.
There is leased space to move equipment so there is more room for production to take place.
“We are optimistic and think that a new building will be built within a couple years’ time,” Cernohous said.