T-Lon Products expanding fluoropolymer seal plant

By Catherine Kavanaugh
Staff Reporter

Published: November 4, 2013 2:19 pm ET
Updated: November 4, 2013 2:21 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Automotive

T-Lon Products is expanding in Hartland, Wis., seven years after the company built the facility to make thermoplastic sealing systems from polytetrafluoroethylene resin.

Construction began in October on a 13,140-square-foot addition that will expand the production area of the existing 40,000-square-foot facility, which is co-owned by brothers Bob and Chris Olson.

“We’re just crowded,” Bob Olson said. “The main industries we service have all been in growth mode.”

The company, which was founded by his father in 1979, has 75 employees in engineering and production. They use an inventory of more than 100 different combinations of PTFE and fillers to make seals and valves for customers in the agricultural, food-processing, pharmaceutical, and oil and gas industries.

“I don’t know if you’d label it automotive but we also have a customer that does a lot with the trucking industry and off-road braking equipment is a big thing we’re expanding to meet,” Olson said. “We have over 300 customers. We’re extremely flexible.”

PTFE — aka by its DuPont-trademarked name of Teflon — is the world’s most widely-used fluoropolymer. Strong, non-reactive qualities make it stabile over a wide temperature range and able to reduce friction. T-Lon uses fillers like glass and bronze to improve the performance of PTFE and increase its resistance to deformities and wear and tear.

The new wing of T-Lon Products should be in full production mode in the spring with new CNC machining centers and ovens. Anywhere from 5 to 20 more positions, mostly in production, could be added in the next few years. The crews also mold some PEEK.

“It’s a very small part of the business but we have the capability,” Olson said. “We also machine a lot of other materials. We buy shapes and machine to spec but the only material we’re actually molding is PTFE and a small amount of PEEK.”

T-Lon is a nimble company, he added.

“If somebody calls and says I really need this very quickly, and it makes sense for a special situation, we can get it out much faster than our lead times, which are generally four to six weeks,” Olson said.

The engineering side of T-Lon, which designs seals for customers, also has been bolstered. They analyze CAD drawings, reverse engineer materials and products, test proposed designs and manufacture prototypes.

“We’ve really ramped it up over the last four years,” Olson said. “We’ve hired a couple really astute, sharp guys that are particularly good at design and problem solving.”

T-Lon Products is a privately held company and Olson declined to comment on the cost of the expansion and annual sales figures.

“We do everything with cash. We’re very much no-nonsense fiscally,” he said.

The brothers, who are 50-50 equity partners, owned the land where their business is located for years, in anticipation of growth.

“Seven years ago we pulled the trigger and built the facility and now we find ourselves needing more room,” Olson said. “Construction will be buttoned up by the time snow flies and the new wing will be in full production in probably early April.”


Comments

T-Lon Products expanding fluoropolymer seal plant

By Catherine Kavanaugh
Staff Reporter

Published: November 4, 2013 2:19 pm ET
Updated: November 4, 2013 2:21 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Poland's Boryszew to work with Mitsui on lightweight auto parts

September 22, 2014 10:12 am ET

European plastics car parts maker Boryszew Group has signed a letter of intent to work with the Japanese investment and trading conglomerate Mitsui & ...    More

Image

Plasan investing in capacity, jobs to supply auto market with carbon fiber

September 19, 2014 3:05 pm ET

Growth in the emerging automotive market for carbon-fiber composites has spurred a $29 million investment in a Walker, Mich., factory    More

Image

Toyoda Gosei expanding in Mexico

September 19, 2014 2:33 pm ET

Toyoda Gosei North America Corp. is investing $67 million in a 398,000-square-foot plant in central Mexico to supply the automotive industry with...    More

Exo-s buys injection and blow molder in Mexico, expands footprint

September 19, 2014 2:15 pm ET

Custom molder Exo-s Inc. has bought an injection and blow molding operation in San Juan del Rio, Querétaro, Mexico.    More

Image

Smartphone work adds 52 percent to sales for China's Eva Precision

September 18, 2014 4:37 pm ET

Growth in supplying the smartphone and automotive industries helped Chinese processor Eva Precision Holdings Ltd. push injection molding sales up 52 p...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events