ROSENBERG, TEXAS - Albis Corp. is completing an expansion, but that is nothing new - the compounder has grown continuously since it was launched as a brash, upstart company five years ago. Albis, the U.S. unit of Albis Plastic GmbH of Hamburg, Germany, elbowed its way into North American markets as a toll compounder and distributor of a wide number of commodity and engineering thermoplastic resins, while shrewdly acquiring lines of compounded specialty
The firm, which is based in Rosenberg, is completing the addition of a 41,000-square-foot warehouse next to its 72,000-square-foot plant and office building. It is planning to add a 10th extrusion line, which will have a 58-millimeter, Werner & Pfleiderer, twin-screw extruder at its head, by July.
Albis started business in September 1990, with five extrusion lines. It now operates extruders ranging in sizes from 40 millimeters to 70 millimeters, said President Ronald Krainz.
While Albis set out to become a compounder and distributor of proprietary, niche products typically sold in order sizes under 5,000 pounds, it now provides custom and toll compounded resins for orders that range from 200-pound boxes to railroad cars, said Anton Damsteek, vice president. Damsteek spoke in an interview at the company's headquarters in Rosenberg.
While it supplies commodity resins such as high and low density polyethylene, homopolymer and copolymer polypropylene, and a complete line of polystyrene and ABS resins, Albis also offers engineering resins such as styrene acrylonitrile, acetal, nylon and polycarbonate.
It became the sole source for cellulosic resins - cellulose acetate, cellulose butyrate and cellulose propionate - made by Eastman Chemical Products Inc. in 1990. In 1991 Albis acquired a line of polybutylene terephthalate resins from Bayer AG of Germany. It also acquired a line of compounded polyphenylene sulfide resins from Bayer in 1994.
Its acquisitions made Albis a critical supplier to several of its customers, and propelled its growth, Damsteek said.
Krainz said - tongue in cheek - his strategy for growth was simple: ``We got to the place we are today to survive. The prospect of starvation and hunger drove us on.''
Albis now has 150 employees in Rosenberg, and warehouse operations in Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Chicago and South Carolina, Damsteek said. The company expects to add warehouse locations in the near future and, to prepare for that step, it is expanding its sales force, he added. Sales figures were not released.