He said Smooth-On's current plant was built in 1997. "It was four times bigger than our previous facility. It took us this long to outgrow it."
Future housing for employees?
Bianco has no immediate need for 20 of the Day-Timer property's 31
acres: parking lots on the north side of Lower Macungie Road. (A pedestrian tunnel runs under that road to access those lots.)
The plant owner got the best laugh of the night when he said, with a completely straight face: "The parking lot, I'm thinking, could be a giant commercial airport."
He said at its current location Smooth-On purchased a dozen nearby homes and rented them to employees so they can live close by and walk to work.
He wants to work with the township to see if Smooth-On can create similar employee housing, such as condominiums, in part of that northern parking area "since we really have no use for any of it." He said developers have asked about acquiring it, "but we see no reason to sell it to anybody."
He said the prime location to start building condos for employees would be in the northernmost parking lot along East Texas Road.
Smooth-On agreed to a recommended condition of the township planning commission that a 15,000-gallon underground spill containment tank be installed on the property.
That tank will capture water if the plant's sprinklers ever go off. Drains leading to it will be inside the building and under trucks making deliveries.
Bianco said the current plant has more than 500 sprinkler heads "and, in the 25 years I've been there, no sprinkler head has ever gone off."
He said two workers were injured, one in 2000 and one in 2011. "Both were relatively minor and they came back to work in a couple of weeks."
Smooth-On will use 40 kettles, ranging in size from 50 to 7,000 gallons. He said each kettle makes one batch of product a day, combining seven to 14 ingredients, then heated to about 185 degrees.
"The biggest spills we've had were a couple gallons on the ground."
He said no byproducts leave the building except water that is removed from the kettles and collected in vacuum chambers in the form of steam.
"It's an incredibly quiet process," said Bianco. "You're not going to hear anything, ever, outside the building.
"We don't store anything outside, there is no effluent, there is no potential for anything to happen off the property."
He said flammable chemicals will be stored in a special room along the southern wall at the rear of the building, away from homes.
Movies and more
"Smooth-On sells to literally every movie studio in the world and literally 90 some odd percent of the movies will use Smooth-On in some way," said Bianco.
"Even when you're going to make a CGI movie, you have to start out with a model. Every single movie has some piece of scenery or some prosthetic or some set that was made with Smooth-On."
Harry Potter, James Bond, Iron Man and Hobbits all have used Smooth-On products, according to Bianco. He said molds are made of faces and/or bodies of all famous movie actors.
"We are the world's best maker of compounds, in which you mix part A and part B and they cure at room temperature." He said there are no solvents, out-gassing or shrinkage and no machines or ovens are needed.
He said Smooth-On products are sold to 700 different markets, from special effects movies to the prosthetics industry to molds used to make highway sound barriers.
"We sell to every tire manufacturer in the world," said Bianco.
"While one market might go away, a new market is created each year."