LEOMINSTER, MASS. - J-Von LP, a Leominster compounder, continues to expand its business worldwide with the opening of two plants and a new distribution center, as well as expanding its headquarters. In September, J-Von opened a plant in Ahmodabad, India, to serve the footwear market. The 50,000-square-foot plant has four extrusion lines with a capacity of 25 million pounds per year. The $3 million plant employs 45.
Because the living standard and per-capita income in India is increasing, President Dan Hunter believes the demand to replace low cost rubbers and PVC also will increase.
Another plant set to open in Nansha, China, is a joint venture with Sun Sang Chemicals Proces-sing Co. Ltd. Production in the $3 million plant is to begin in January. The 40,000-square-foot plant initially will employ 20-30.
The plant will have two twin-screw extruders, a 110-millimeter and a 140mm unit. The plant will have capacity to produce 20 million pounds per year, but J-Von expects to increase that to 50 million pounds per year within three years.
``In the past few years, there is an increased demand for styrenics block copolymer thermoplastic elastomer in China due to the growing footwear industry for the export market in China,'' Hunter said.
J-Von claims to be the largest producer of SBC thermoplastic elastomer compounds in the United States.
Once the footwear market is established, the company would like to enter the automotive and construction industries in Asia.
In March, the firm opened a distribution center in Leon, Mexico, which employs five. The center serves small molders by cutting lead times of shipping materials from Leominster to Leon.
Throughout last year the firm added equipment to its 70,000-square-foot Leominster headquarters, which is on four acres. J-Von added three corotating, twin-screw compounding ma-chines, four underwater pelletizers, two 5,000-pound mixing tanks, six post-blending tanks and new water tower cooling and vacuum systems. The $2.5 million to $3 million expansion added 10 employees to the staff of 45.
Older equipment was phased out while new equipment was added so as to not interrupt production, said Edwin Tam, vice president. He added that the last machine began operating in June.
The expansion gives J-Von six twin-screw extruders, doubling capacity to 45 million pounds per year.
J-Von was founded in 1976 and went private in 1990. Since then, its sales have risen an average of 20 percent a year, from $5 million in 1990 to a projected $30 million for this year, Tam said.
The company specializes in styrenic block copolymer TPEs and olefinic TPEs. It serves the footwear, construction, medical, food, automotive, appliance, sport and industrial markets.
COMPOUNDER TECHMER EXPANDING FACILITIES
LOS ANGELES - Techmer PM, a compounding firm, is investing $2 million to expand its plants in Los Angeles and Clinton, Tenn., with additional space, employees and extrusion lines.
By the end of July, phase one will be complete, adding 20,000 square feet and two extrusion lines.
The second phase will be complete by year's end and includes the addition of one extrusion line and 15 employees. The firm will have a total of 200,000 square feet, 320 employees and 17 extrusion lines between the two plants.
Techmer PM serves the synthetic fiber, film and molding markets. Both plants have received ISO 9001 certification.