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

Auto supplier receiving grant to help expansion

October 30, 2014 3:35 pm ET

Summit Polymers is receiving an $800,000 performance based grant to help with a $7.3 million expansion of three of its Michigan facilities.    More

Image

Magna opens new exterior facility, plans for lighting investment

October 30, 2014 1:36 pm ET

Canadian automotive supplier Magna International Inc. on Oct. 28 opened a new injection molding and robotic paint line facility in Delta Township,...    More

Image

Finalists named for 2014 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards

October 30, 2014 11:00 am ET

The Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Division has selected finalists for its 2014 Automotive Innovation Awards competition. Category winners...    More

Image

Detroit Manufacturing Systems to hire 200 for F-150 production

October 29, 2014 10:40 am ET

Interior trim supplier Detroit Manufacturing Systems LLC plans to hire 200 assembly workers by January to support production growth of Ford Motor Co....    More

Image

Automakers globally using 3-D printing to speed production, prototyping

October 27, 2014 11:41 am ET

As the cost declines and capabilities improve, automakers and suppliers increasingly are relying on 3-D printing to shorten product development cycles...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

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

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events