CHICAGO—BFGoodrich Specialty Plastics (Booth S2423) officials unveiled global outlooks, automotive deals and new twists on existing product lines at NPE 1997. BFGoodrich Co.'s Cleveland-based Specialty Plastics Division— which markets Estane thermoplastic polyurethanes, TempRite chlorinated PVC compounds and Telene dicyclopentadiene comonomers—opened a commercial office in Hong Kong earlier this year to develop new business and explore production locations in Asia.
``We're looking at very aggressive globalization,'' said Ashish Malik, market manager for the TempRite group. ``At some point, North America will be dwarfed by plants in the Far East.''
Michael Marasch, Estane group senior commercial manager, predicted that Specialty Plastics would have a production facility in Asia within the next five years.
BFG also has expansion plans in Europe, where a TempRite plant in Delfzijl, Netherlands, will join Specialty Plastics' 20-year-old Estane plant in Oevel, Belgium, early next year.
Primary production facilities still will be located stateside, with Estane in Avon Lake, Ohio; Telene in West Helena, Ark.; and TempRite in Louisville, Ky. Cedar Chemicals produces Telene for BFG in West Helena.
Specialty Plastics is part of BFG's Specialty Chemicals business group, which posted sales last year of $824.4 million, compared to $710.8 million in 1995. BFG is based in Richfield, Ohio.
The Estane facility in Avon Lake also is undergoing an expansion to be completed later this year. Marasch said the project will increase operating floor space by 300 percent, while adding at least three new production lines.
One of the new lines will be a pilot line that will allow the plant to custom make Estane for individual customer needs, he added.
BFG also announced agreements with carmakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. to use Estane products in body trim on several of their vehicles.
GM will use Estane in its Mid-Lux Car Division; Ford will use Estaloc, an offshoot of Estane, in its Explorer, Windstar and Ranger vehicles.
Estane is suitable for ``abuse environments'' where a material needs to adhere to another material under extreme temperatures while maintaining mar resistance and toughness, according to Marasch.
The debut of a new Stat-Rite polyester-based TPU product designed for electronic component handling and clean room applications tops BFG's list of NPE 1997 offerings.
Estane also is launching a line of rubberlike products with new matte finishes. Telene is introducing a polymer designed for use in roofs for the Ford Explorer van. Telene market manager Hans Kuenzel said the product also offers drastically improved production times for wind deflectors in Volvo trucks.
TempRite is debuting a cellular CPVC product to offer 50 percent weight reduction in windows and door frames for the building and construction industry. Malik said the new product currently is being tested by customers and should be fully commercialized later this year.