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

Ascend targets nylon for auto applications, opening propylene monomer unit in Texas

April 18, 2014 10:57 am ET

Materials firm Ascend Performance Materials Inc. is in full operation at its new nylon 6/6 compounding line in Florida and will break ground by the...    More

Image

German auto supplier Dr. Schneider opens second US plant

April 17, 2014 12:57 pm ET

Dr. Schneider Kunststoffwerke GmbH, a German supplier of plastic interior auto parts, has opened a $29 million manufacturing plant in Russell Springs,...    More

Huntingdon Fiberglass launching second line

April 16, 2014 2:18 pm ET

Huntingdon Fiberglass Products LLC is getting set to start up a second production line later this year and hire 15-20 new employees as it sees demand ...    More

Mexico reports rising auto production

April 14, 2014 1:18 pm ET

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s automotive industry assembled an unprecedented 774,731 light vehicles in the first quarter, 6.5 percent up on the...    More

Image

Lanxess launches new compounding plant in Brazil aimed at auto market

April 11, 2014 12:32 pm ET

Lanxess AG has officially opened its auto-oriented thermoplastics compounding plant in Porto Feliz, Brazil.    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events