DETROIT — Independent nylon maker Custom Resins Inc. will add two twin-screw compounding lines at its Henderson, Ky., plant later this year to meet growth in the automotive, consumer goods and lawn and garden markets. The lines, which will produce glass- and mineral-filled compounds of nylon 6 and 6/6, will raise the site's total compounding capacity to about 25 million pounds, according to Mike Warner, president of Wayne, N.J.-based Custom Resins.
The company already operates one single- and one twin-screw compounding line in Henderson, as well as a half-dozen compounding lines in Wayne.
"Automotive has been strong for the last several years, and we're also seeing some activity in the consumer goods and lawn and garden areas," Warner said at the Society of Automotive Engineers 2000 World Congress, held March 6-9 in Detroit.
Automotive sales accounted for about 40 percent of Custom Resins' 1999 sales, which totaled about $55 million. In the automotive market, the firm's nylon compounds typically are used in canisters, air-intake manifolds and tubing.
Warner expects total sales to climb 7 percent this year and 15-20 percent in 2001 as the effects of the new compounding lines are felt.
Custom Resins is somewhat unique among midsize compounders in that it produces its own nylon resin. The firm cranks out about 30 million pounds of material in Henderson each year and uses its resin capability to its advantage in courting new customers, Warner said.
"There are a lot of compounders out there, but having our own polymerization gives us a lot more flexibility," he said. "We're better able to tailor our resins than a company that has to acquire its material from an outside source. We can do different things with additives and mixing."
Just like larger nylon makers, Custom Resins has been fighting to raise prices to cover escalating raw material costs.
"We don't really have a choice," Warner said. "Caprolactam has gone up between 12 and 15 percent in the last year and we're not seeing anywhere near that much passed on to buyers."
Any future compounding expansions for Custom probably will be in Henderson as well, Warner added.
"The cost of labor in Henderson and Wayne isn't that different," he said. "But one big benefit of being in Kentucky is that utility costs are lower in the central U.S. than they are on the East Coast."