JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. - Wellman Inc. of Shrewsbury, N.J., is stepping into production of virgin polyester engineering resins through a licensing agreement with a Japanese firm. Wellman will produce resins under the Wellpet brand name for Toyobo Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan. The resins, now produced only in Japan under Toyobo's Vylopet trademark, are used widely by automakers in Japan, and will be available to transplant parts makers from Wellman's Johnsonville plant, according to Frank Cronenwett, sales and market development agent for Wellman for Japan and Asia.
``The thinking was that the Japanese automakers with plants in the U.S. would like to have a source for the materials in this country. We had had dealings with Toyobo for production of certain of our nylon resins in Ja-pan, and given our presence in the PET and polyester field, it seemed natural,'' he said.
Cronenwett declined to provide information on the volume of resin Wellman plans to produce. Wellman produces virgin nylon 6 and nylon 6/6, as well as polyester fiber and wool fiber products at Johnsonville.
Cronenwett said the new resins are primarily talc- and glass-filled polyester for use in automotive lighting, electrical and body parts.
The technology transfer made possible under the agreement will allow Wellman to market the resins not only to Toyobo customers in the United States, but to its own nylon resin customers, Cronenwett said in a telephone interview.
Wellman is one of the world's largest plastics recyclers, and manufactures Fortrel brand polyester textile fibers, recycled polyester, nylon staple fibers and PET and nylon resins.