Prime Property

Just outside the City of Brotherly Love, Cayuga Concrete Pipe has shown itself to be a company of neighborly gesture. During a $3.7 million expansion

Don Marsh

Just outside the City of Brotherly Love, Cayuga Concrete Pipe has shown itself to be a company of neighborly gesture. During a $3.7 million expansion of its Croydon, Pa., headquarters plant, the producer built a pond to impound offsite storm water flows that might otherwise flood surrounding streets; extended to 20 ft. a fence-capped perimeter berm to minimize impact on an old neighborhood of a Philadelphia-bordering town; and, through yard and storage area pavement, eliminated the dust that used to discourage nearby residents from drying laundry outdoors.

In the typically land-locked world of major cities and close-in suburbs, the Croydon site is an anomaly. It offered Cayuga Concrete the best and easily most economical expansion option versus satellite Pennsylvania properties in Montrose (rural, north-central) and New Britain (north of Philadelphia). The Croydon plant lies on 34 acres framed by mostly middle class dwellings and the Amtrak Northeast Corridor rail line. By working with the city and [Bristol] township, we were able to expand production and benefit the surrounding area through flood control provisions and improved environmental management, says Cayuga Concrete General Manager Joe Diana. This site had land available for a second plant building and additional product storage, and expandable raw material stockpiles and conveyor paths.

Updated permits, capacity and storage enable Croydon to run 10-hour shifts six days a week, he adds. The plant has absorbed the small- to medium-bore (15- to 24-in.-diameter product) capacity of the 24-acre New Britain site, which was sold in fall 2006. An existing production line at Croydon is dedicated to larger-diameter, dry cast pipe. The new and existing lines have projected annual output of at least 120,000 tons combined.

The opportunity to build an enclosure from the ground up allowed us to place [New Britain’s] pipe and fabrication machinery along a unique moving floor system that optimizes green and cured product flow, explains Croydon Plant Manager Allen Reed. The system is the first of its kind from Elk River Machine, he adds, and consists of 34, 10- _ 20-ft. carts that travel independently on fixed track in lieu of a more conventional cable-driven design. Accommodating 18 to 24 pieces, the steel-framed, concrete slab carts enter the kiln individually. That sequencing enables Cayuga to realize higher output than the New Britain operation, whose 20-cart, cable-driven floor saw kiln entry only when a full day’s green product was complete.

Floor system efficiency at Croydon extends beyond curing. One crew member stages carts for pipe tipping, depalletizing, deburring and stenciling, while a forklift operator transfers product for storage and returns pallets to the main machine.


In addition to land availability for expanded production and storage, the Croydon site is ideally located for shipping. It has immediate access to Interstate 95 and the Interstate 276/Pennsyvlania Turnpike, which serve Philadelphia and high growth Bucks, Montgomery and Chester counties to the north and west. Drainage product demand in those counties, and the nearby Lehigh Valley, has been driven by big-box retail, municipal and state projects, along with expansion of 14 new casinos. Between Croydon and the Montrose plant, which makes to 12- to 48-in.-diameter product and flared end pieces for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Cayuga Concrete can reach way beyond metropolitan Philadelphia Û as far west as Pittsburgh and as far north as upstate New York.

The new 15,000-sq.-ft. production line and site improvements at Croydon cap a realignment of the Cayuga brand by Oldcastle Precast Inc., and creation of a reinforced concrete pipe market leader in Pennsylvania. Oldcastle Precast inherited Cayuga and its two-plant sister New Jersey business, Kerr Concrete Pipe (Folsom and Farmingdale), from Ibstock Plc, a United Kingdom company Oldcastle parent CRH Plc acquired in 2000. That deal coincided with Oldcastle Precast’s acquisition of the Croydon property from Sabatini Concrete. That name was replaced with Cayuga Concrete, based in New Britain. In 2002, Oldcastle Precast bolted on the Montrose property, acquired from Irving Loomis & Son.

Capital investment and adoption of Oldcastle Precast’s best operating and safety practices have repositioned Cayuga and Kerr, which were non-core assets of Ibstock. Its main U.S. business was Reading, Pa.-based Glen-Gery Brick, now the clay products flagship of Oldcastle Architectural. Cayuga and Kerr, on the other hand, add pipe and drainage market assets to the 21-site Oldcastle Precast Northeast Region, based in South Bethlehem, N.Y., and best known for architectural products and modular building systems.