Ticona is boosting compounding capacity for Celstran long-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics by 7 million pounds this summer. The firm is adding new lines in its Winona, Minn., and Kelsterbach, Germany, plants.
Ticona is spending $2 million on the two lines, which are needed to meet customer demand, Chris Zakashefski, manager of sales and application development, said by telephone from Winona.
The lines will nearly double Ticona's capacity for Celstran, a resin mixed with long fibers of glass, steel, carbon or aramid that are cut into 10 millimeter lengths.
Last year, Ticona added a 50,000-square-foot expansion in Winona to prepare for the new line. The company plans to add a new compounding line each year until 2003 to accommodate expected demand for Celstran.
The Kelsterbach plant has 100,000 square feet of space and still will have some room to grow after its new processing line is installed this summer, Zakashefski said. When the new machinery is up and running, Ticona will have global production capacity of approximately 15 million pounds a year, he said. In 1998, Ticona claimed Celstran had about 65 percent of the global market for LFRTs, which then was estimated to be between $60 million and $75 million.
Ticona's Celstran could gain control of an even larger part of the market if the company decides to expand into other states. Though the compounder continues to explore possibilities in other parts of the country, Zakashefski said the company is unsure of the state in which the expansion might occur or when.
Space remains for another 25,000-square-foot expansion at the Minnesota plant, which would accommodate two additional production lines, which could be installed next year, he said.
According to Zakashefski, Ticona Celstran Inc.'s 1998 sales reached $50 million.