IKO Roofing Products
A Good Corportate Citizen and Neighbor
This well maintained paper products plant has been a fixture on the Monroe industrial scene since the 1920s. Most of the active period was as Time Container, then Jefferson Smurfit and subsequently IKO acquired the assets.
The plant has been a good neighbor and environmentally friendly recycling used paper and scrap wood to make quality products. As Time Container, its products included asbestos paper coated with smelly fish oil supplied to automotive gasket manufacturers.
Many returning soldiers WW-II found employment in our paper industry. A vacant field to the west of the plant soon experienced a housing boom. Life was good.
Before Monroe had a wastewater treatment plant, the warm water discharges into the River Raisin helped avoid river icing and the ice jams now causing high property damage costs from flooding. The plant became a major customer of the Monroe Metropolitan Waster water Treatment System out of environmental concerns.
The plant typically burned three railroad cars of coal daily resulting in a black smoke discharge before converting to natural gas to meet clean air particulate matter requirements.
Papermaking is a complicated process that provides many skilled jobs. These jobs contribute to our local community. The best way to keep an industrial engineering landmark preserved for future generations is to keep it in operation. Our country has allowed direct labor costs and enviornmental concerns cost too many jobs. These jobs are exported to countries that embrasce industry.
While some parts of the IKO facility date to the early part of the 20th century, the building has been kept in good repair. Like any historic structure, maintenance is required as well as updating portions to conform to modern needs. We need facilities like this with management willing to provide school and public tours. Many people do not an understanding of the processes used to make paper products.
Society will always need paper. The Monroe paper industry came to rely heavily on the automotive industry for many types of shipping containers and the parts for automobiles including sun visors, door liner construction and aftermarket shipping cartons for automobile parts.
A major product of IKO is roofing materials especially paper felt and paperboard saturated with asphalt. The web keeper’s opinion is that these products are not as environmentally durable or friendly as roofing materials such as traditional slate and metal. Asphalt shingles maintain a large market share mainly because they are low in cost and have become a widely acceptable replacement for slate and wood shingles.
Based on the disposal cost of used asphalt shingle roofing and the much greater fire resistance of metal roofing, one would think that IKO and other roofing manufacturers would drop the advocacy of asphalt and embrace metal roofing as a superior affordable replacement to be adopted by architects, building officials and the building trades.
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