Uponor investing in new technology companies for future growth

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: August 11, 2014 4:24 pm ET
Updated: August 11, 2014 4:27 pm ET

Image By: Upstream Technologies Inc. Upstream Technologies Inc. makes a baffle system that can be installed in existing storm sewers to reduce sediment.

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Europe, United States, Municipal water & sewer, Pipe/Profile/Tubing

Cross-linked polyethylene pipe maker Uponor Inc. is casting a net to catch future, promising water management technologies.

Uponor’s Uponor Innovations LLC business unit has invested a minority stake in a startup company that has developed a baffle system to attack sedimentation in storm sewers equipped with sumps. Upstream Technologies Inc., based in New Brighton, Minn., has licensed the baffle system technology from the University of Minnesota.

The baffle system is primarily made of stainless steel, Uponor North America President Bill Gray said in a phone interview from his firm’s Apple Valley, Minn., office. The collapsible system knocks out sediment in the sewer system into the sump, where workers can remove it with a vacuum. Gray claims by localizing the sediment where it can be removed, pollution problems can be avoided. Sediment problems are most severe after heavy rainfall washes material into a sewer system.

Gray said Uponor Innovations could identify new technologies to help fuel sales of the parent company in the future.

“It allows us to strengthen our relationship with the University of Minnesota,” Gray explained. “Maybe we’ll see more innovations from there.”

A side benefit is Uponor will help mitigate the environmental footprint of catchment systems. Sediment can contain toxins that can enter waterways.

Although Uponor is proficient in making and using PEX pipe, this departure from plastics won’t detract it from its main business, Gray stressed. After all, the baffle system involves water management, which is an overarching momentum of the company.

“You have to be able to pivot in different directions,” according to Gray.

Uponor’s joint venture with KWH Group, Uponor Infra, is well poised to help it capitalize on water system innovations, Gray said.

XLPE pipe still has lots of unrealized market opportunities, Gray noted. One area being explored is using such pipe to replace fluoropolymer and other types of pipe in aggressive environments.

Uponor Innovations was formed last year to open a path for diversification. Uponor Inc. is a subsidiary of Uponor Corp. of Vantaa, Finland.


Comments

Uponor investing in new technology companies for future growth

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: August 11, 2014 4:24 pm ET
Updated: August 11, 2014 4:27 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Pactiv expanding in North Carolina

March 5, 2015 4:18 pm ET

Pactiv LLC is spending more than $24 million on an expansion project in North Carolina that will create 59 new jobs.    More

Image

Huntsman closing four pigment plants

March 5, 2015 3:36 pm ET

Huntsman Corp. is closing four plants — three in the U.S. and one in Germany — that make pigments for plastics and other markets.    More

Image

LiquiForm looks to fundamentally change blow molding process for bottles

March 5, 2015 12:13 pm ET

Those in the know are lifting the veil, just a bit, on fledgling technology being developed that would fundamentally change the way plastic bottles...    More

Image

VisiPak adds to customer mix, product offerings with Tulox acquisition

March 5, 2015 2:19 pm ET

VisiPak has acquired Tulox Plastics Corp., a maker of clear plastic packaging.    More

Image

ResTech companies renamed Plastics Molding Manufacturing

March 5, 2015 3:54 pm ET

Plastics Molding Manufacturing Inc. is the new name for the ResTech Plastic Molding LLC family of companies.    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

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 billion 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

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

More Events