DETROIT - Azdel Inc., the 50-50 joint venture between GE Plastics and PPG Industries Inc., is increasing its compounding capacity by 50 percent with a 40 million pound-per-year plant in Bergen-op-Zoom, the Netherlands. Azdel of Shelby, N.C., will have the facility in operation by January, according to President Frank O'Neill.
In an interview at the SAE Congress & Exposition, O'Neill said he hopes the capacity will give Azdel new opportunities to work with European auto makers. Industry sources said they expect French automaker Citroen to use Azdel materials for a bumper beam in 1996.
Azdel makes proprietary compounds that combine glass fiber reinforcements made by the Pittsburgh-based PPG with polypropylene resins. The compounds are marketed under the Azdel trade name for metal replacement in a variety of structural applications in the automotive and other industries.
O'Neill said one of every six bumper beams produced in North America is made of Azdel compounds. Also, he said Azdel compounds are used in instrument panels, noise shields and seat backs and frames.
The Bergen-op-Zoom plant will be near GE Plastics' facility there, O'Neill said.
Initially, it will have 30 employees and one production line.
In Shelby, Azdel has three lines that produce 80 million pounds of compounds a year. The company also has a plant in Dalton, Mass.