CHICAGO—BFGoodrich Specialty Plastics officials unveiled global outlooks, automotive deals and new twists on existing product lines at NPE 1997, held June 16-20 in Chicago.
BFGoodrich Co.'s Cleveland-based Specialty Plastics division, which makes 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,'' Ashish Malik, market manager for the TempRite group, said in an interview at the Chicago show. ``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 will have a production facility in Asia within five years.
BFG also has expansion plans in Europe, where a TempRite plant in Delfzijl, Netherlands, will join Specialty Plastics' 20-year-old Extane 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 of $824.4 million last year, compared to $710.8 million in 1995. BFG is based in Richfield, Ohio.
The Estane facility in Avon Lake is undergoing an expansion to be completed later this year. The project will increase operating floor space there by 300 percent, and add at least three new production lines, including a pilot line that will custom make Estane to individual needs, Marasch said.
BFG also announced agreements with 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, while 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, Marasch said.
The debut of a new Stat-Rite polyester-based TPU designed for electronic component handling and clean room applications topped BFG's list of NPE offerings.
Estane also launched a line of rubberlike products with new matte finishes at the show. Telene introduced a polymer designed for use in roofs for the Ford Explorer van. Telene market manager Hans Kuenzel said the new polymer also offers drastically improved production times for wind deflectors in Volvo trucks.
TempRite debuted a cellular CPVC product offering 50 percent weight reduction in windows and door frames for the building and construction industry. Malik said the new product is being tested by customers and should be fully commercialized later this year.