Bedford Technology

BedfordBedford Technology introduces a new HDPE fencing solution.

By Kat Zeman, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Publishing

It can withstand harsh environments, high temperatures and take abuse from large animals and small insects. Unlike wood, it doesn’t rot. Contrasting from steel, it won’t rust. 

Made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic lumber, this new fencing solution, called SmarterFence™, was developed, designed and tested by engineers at Bedford Technology. Bedford info box

The Worthington, Minn.-based company rolled out SmarterFence™ in October. A leading manufacturer of recycled HDPE plastic lumber and products, Bedford believes it to be one of its most innovative products to date. 

“It is the strongest and most durable in the industry,” says Mike Nesdahl, VP of sales and marketing. “It has a revolutionary fastening system that really makes it the most durable fencing solution on the market.” 

SmarterFence™ features a technologically-advanced fastening system that accounts for potential expansion and contraction resulting from temperature change – a common occurrence in HDPE plastic lumber. “Our system accounts for that which other systems don’t,” Nesdahl adds. 

Innovative Engineering

Another element that makes SmarterFence™ strong and durable is that it contains fiberglass strand that is engineered throughout the product. The company says this creates a structural recycled plastic composite building material that outperforms traditional fencing materials like wood, metal and concrete. 

This is also the case with Bedford’s other product lines. “Because we infuse our products with fiberglass strand and fiberglass reinforced rod, it allows us to go into applications that our competitors can’t do,” Nesdahl says. 

Bedford’s product lines won’t rot or splinter due to harsh weather conditions. In addition, they don’t require painting or staining because the color is manufactured throughout the entire product and protected by UV inhibitors. The company calls its SmarterFence™ a “truly low-maintenance fencing system.” 

Customers also can add aesthetic enhancements such as wood-grain embossing to replicate the appearance of wood. Bedford offers a limited warranty for this solution that protects against structural damage for a period of 50 years. 

“We think this solution is a perfect fit for the agricultural industry,” says Andrea Huffman, business development and marketing manager. “But it’s also ideal for city parks, light commercial and homeowners’ associations because of its performance properties.” 

Bedford engineers industrial-grade structural recycled plastic lumber and specializes in commercial markets that include marine, parks and recreation, landscaping, agriculture, large animal and equine.

Some of the company’s largest customers include furniture manufacturers, marine contractors, construction companies, deck builders, municipalities and contractors. 

Aside from fencing, Bedford is seeing an increase in interest in its plastic lumber for applications such as high-end outdoor furniture, decks, boardwalks, docks and playground equipment. Furniture appears to be one of the fastest growing. 

“We invested into that business about eight years ago,” Nesdahl says. “Being in the business for over 20 years on the marine and structural side, it made sense and we have seen double-digit growth in that business since the day we started it.” 

Bedford’s plastic lumber acts as a great alternative to wood and metal. It is manufactured using a process that allows for long lengths with a smooth surface and feel and comes in traditional lumber profile sizes. 

The outcome of this process is a high-quality product that looks like top-grade traditional lumber. 

The lumber is available in many color and profile options. Wood-grain embossing is also available, which gives it the look of traditional lumber perfect for outdoor furniture and playground equipment.

“We can make colored plastic lumber in more than 40 colors,” Nesdahl says. “We can apply different grains and textures, so it can look like wood grain. It’s quite impressive. From the consumer’s eye, they think it’s a cedar chair but it’s plastic.”

Green Initiatives

Bedford’s sustainable solutions are also environmentally-friendly. Its lumber is manufactured with recycled HDPE plastic from household items like laundry detergent bottles and milk jugs. 

“We reuse millions and millions of milk jugs,” Nesdahl says. “We keep millions and millions of pounds out of landfills and we turn them into products with 50-year warranties. And afterwards, we can recycle them again.”

Not only does its recycled plastic lumber keep waste out of landfills, it also creates long-lasting products that will hold up in extreme environments.

Celebrating 20 Years 

Founded in 1998, Bedford Technology was originally the machinery division of Bedford Industries, a results-driven plastic coated wire twist tie manufacturer that serves the bakery, produce, coffee and medical industries.

“They are one of the largest producers for twist ties for coffee tabs and other food enclosures,” Nesdahl says. “They started a special project to deal with the fall off of the plastic from their products and realized that they can make it into boards. Due to it not being a core business, Bedford Industries decided to spin off Bedford Technology into a seperate company.”

Today, Bedford Technology has three manufacturing facilities in Worthington, Minn., and one in Winchester, Va. “If you look at plastic lumber manufacturers, they come and go or raise out of the ashes of bankruptcy. We are among the few that never came out of that scenario. We started strong and never wavered. We stood the test of time with our products and our people.”

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