H. Muehlstein & Co. Inc., a resin distributor based in Norwalk, Conn., has expanded its line of rotomolding compounds with 15 new grades introduced in June.
The new polyethylene-based compounds are Muehlstein's first pre-colored rotomolding compounds, according to North American sales manager Damian Mullin. The new grades are available in several colors and allow processors to downgauge to thinner walls without sacrificing impact strength, Mullin said.
``Most molders don't want to deal with dry-blend color because it's messy and they can't accurately measure the amount of pigment to get lot-to-lot consistency,'' Mullin said.
Muehlstein has seen a definite upswing in rotomolding demand as new competitors such as Dow Chemical Co. and Nova Chemicals have entered the field. Muehlstein has been the exclusive distributor for Mobil Chemical Co.'s rotomolding grades of high and linear low density PE since the early 1980s and now claims to serve 20-25 percent of the market for rotomolded materials.
The firm also has produced its own line of rotomolding compounds under the Certene brand name at its Houston compounding facility since the late 1970s.
The rotomolding surge played a role in Muehlstein's decision to expand the Houston plant in 1995-96, according to Mullin. The $7 million project doubled the plant's capacity to its current 100 million pound annual level.
The plant now employs 46 on four compounding lines in a 110,000-square-foot facility.
``We've seen a lot of interest in rotomolded toys and outdoor products,'' Mullin said. ``But we need to be alert to the increased competition. We haven't lost significant market share, but we need to introduce value-added products to our rotomolded products.''
Muehlstein's combined distribution and compounding businesses handled 2.3 billion pounds of resin last year and posted sales of $800 million.