Increased demand for long-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics has led Ticona to double the capacity of its Winona, Minn., production facility, a project that should be complete by the end of this year.
The 5 million-pound expansion is part of a larger project that will add 50,000 square feet of manufacturing space by next October and provide room for the addition of as much as 40 million pounds of Celstran long-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic capacity.
Company officials said the expansion should meet projected customer demand through 2000.
The materials are gaining ground as a metal replacement in automotive, industrial and recreational applications. They can be used in injection molding, blow molding and extrusion. Makers claim the materials' dimensional stability, property retention at elevated temperatures and impact resistance are better than those of short-fiber-reinforced materials.
Ticona, the technical polymers division of Hoechst Celanese Corp. of Summit, N.J., said last year the market was growing 25-30 percent annually and that global consumption could reach 44 million pounds by 2000.
LNP Engineering Plastics Inc. of Exton, Pa., has estimated the market for those products at $30 million a year.
Ticona makes Celstran with its own lines of acetal copolymer, nylon 6/6 and linear polyphenylene sulfide, as well as other thermoplastics.