MIDDLETON, ENGLAND — British Vita plc has expanded its thermoplastic elastomer business by 30 percent with its launch of a 17.6 million-pound-per-year plant near Manchester, England.
The US$5.6 million, 55,000-square-foot facility, built on the site of the group's first industrial plant in Middleton, replaces the original 5-year-old Middleton plant of Vita Thermoplastic Polymers.
Capacity is scheduled to rise by another 30 percent by 1999, said VTP operations manager Gary Pollard. The unit, part of subsidiary Vita Thermoplastic Compounds Ltd., needs to grow to meet fast-rising demand for compounds, particularly in the automotive and home insulation sectors.
The new plant includes two large-scale compounding lines, a continuous mixer from the old plant and a new internal mixer.
The site also includes a large laboratory for quality assurance and development work, according to Vita.
VTP produces TPE compounds based on materials including ethylene vinyl acetate, linear low density polyethylene, polypropylene and polyester.
Exports represent less than 20 percent of the unit's sales, but VTP is pursuing business in Europe, the Far East and North America.
Next year's planned expansion will include another internal mixer and a second continuous twin-screw compounding line.
Vita also expanded its compounding operations a year ago, when its Jackdaw Polymers Ltd. subsidiary of Littleborough, England, bought French compounder RMP.
RMP has plants at Savigny and L'Abresle, near Lyon, and sales of $15.2 million.
The company added 11 million pounds per year to Jackdaw's capacity.