AVON LAKE, OHIO—BFGoodrich Co.'s Specialty Plastics Division is in the second phase of a two-pronged expansion of its Estane Thermoplastic Polyurethane business.
BFG completed phase one in 1995 when it tripled the Estane group's manufacturing space in Avon Lake to 120,000 square feet.
The company will bring two production lines on stream at the plant in September. Also, by year's end BFG will consolidate its maintenance and technical areas and quality-control facility in the new building.
The entire project—valued between $40 million and $50 million —is slated for completion in late 1998 and will hike Estane's TPU capacity 50 percent, said Mike Marasch, Estane senior commercial manager.
New production equipment will give the segment more flexibility in compounding and polymerization, he said. Small manufacturing runs will be more cost-effective.
These new capabilities could propel the business into new markets.
``Part of our primary function is to find new uses for TPU, so we're always looking to open up new areas,'' Marasch said, naming textiles and adhesives as areas of focus.
Estane makes custom products for markets such as environmental, health care, marine and recreation. The elastomers are used for landfill liners, oil booms and aircraft escape slides.
The group will move its quality-control unit on site from another building at the Avon Lake complex. The transfer will improve material flow efficiency by consolidating Estane's efforts in one location, Marasch said.
Steady sales growth sparked the plan to hike capacity for the Specialty Plastics Division. The segment's sales and volume have risen 10 percent annually for the past three years, Marasch said.
BFG's Specialty Plastics Division recorded 1996 sales of $292 million, up 17 percent from 1995. Estane is the largest segment in that division, Marasch said, declining to break out sales figures.
In addition to the Avon Lake plant, Estane also operates a production facility in Belgium.
BFG, headquartered in Richfield, Ohio, posted 1996 sales of $2.2 billion.