Comtec Engineered Resins is wrapping up its first year of compound production in Manchester, Tenn., and is looking to expand its product line early next year.
Comtec produces its own Hylon-brand nylon compound, as well as nylon and ABS compounds for Entec Polymers Inc., a leading independent engineering resins distributor based in Maitland, Fla. Comtec and Entec are separate companies, although they share some of the same investors.
Comtec can produce about 35 million pounds of material annually on three new Toshiba twin-screw extruders. Half of the firm's output is in nylon 6, 6/6 and 6/12 compounds, with the other half devoted to ABS compounds. Top markets include industrial, electrical and appliances, with automotive being targeted for next year.
Comtec President Michael Clifton said his company's new machinery gives it an edge over compounders that use older machines.
``The lion's share of people who get into compounding are undercapitalized, and that hurts their productivity,'' Clifton said in a recent telephone interview from Manchester. ``We haven't done that — we've done it right.''
Even a small, 3-inch extruder can produce 3,000 pounds of nylon compounds or 3,500 pounds of ABS compounds per hour, according to Clifton.
``That kind of productivity wasn't previously available,'' he said.
John Chuplis, Entec marketing vice president, said it makes sense for Entec to integrate vertically into compounding because of the critical mass the company had built up with its own line of proprietary compounds, which had been produced for Entec by several toll compounders.
``Engineering resins is a huge market and we were looking to have better control of our inventory,'' Chuplis said. ``If you need something special for a customer overnight and you have your own plant, you can make it happen.''
Comtec, which opened its doors in January, also hopes to expand its product mix by introducing polycarbonate and PC/ABS compounds next spring. New extrusion lines may be added late next year as well.
Comtec employs 50 at a 70,000-square-foot facility in Manchester. The company has room to add 200,000 square feet to its facility if needed.
A first-year sales estimate for Comtec was unavailable. Entec posted sales of $70 million to $80 million in 1997.