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

Magna hiring at two Michigan locations

July 28, 2014 11:43 am ET

Magna Interior Trim Components is adding a total of 169 jobs to two of its Michigan manufacturing facilities.    More

Image

Metals and plastics company NN to buy Autocam in $300 million deal

July 25, 2014 10:07 am ET

A Tennessee metals and plastics company said it has agreed to acquire auto parts supplier Autocam Corp. in a deal valued at $300 million.    More

Image

Chinese auto suppliers growing in US

July 24, 2014 4:17 pm ET

Two China-based automotive suppliers are expanding in the U.S., according to information released by the Michigan Economic Development Corp.    More

OSHA probes alleged asthma link to Lear's Selma, Ala., plant

July 23, 2014 11:58 am ET

U.S. foam manufacturer Renosol Seating LLC is being investigated following allegations its workers are at risk of asthma from TDI exposure at its...    More

Image

Illinois injection molder expands

July 21, 2014 1:23 pm ET

Automotive supplier All-Rite Industries Inc. has added two new injection molding machines to its operations.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recyclers Data Report & Directory

This exclusive MS Excel database contains all the companies from Plastics News' ranking of top North American Recyclers and Brokers by reprocessed volume and also includes a directory with materials processes, services offered and company contact information. Data is based on primary research by PN editorial staff.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

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

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

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

More Events