German compounder Kraiburg GmbH has established Kraiburg Corp., a North American unit aimed at marketing the firm's thermoplastic elastomer compounds. The Waldkraiburg, Germany-based firm also hopes to add TPE compound production in the Atlanta area within the next two years.
About 20 percent of Kraiburg's overall TPE compound sales are already made into North American markets, said Scott Percynski, sales and marketing manager.
"We currently have a nice U.S. customer base and are looking to expand," he said.
Kraiburg's Thermolast K line of TPE compounds are based on Kraton-brand styrenic block copolymers, which Kraiburg manufactures under a license from Shell Chemical Co. Most Thermolast K sales are into the automotive and personal-care markets. The firm holds a large share of the global toothbrush market, which uses TPEs in soft-grip handles.
Kraiburg Corp. President Rudy Herbst said the firm has been venturing beyond the Kraton line in recent years to develop its own proprietary TPE compounds.
Kraiburg opened its North American sales and technical support office in October in Duluth, Ga. The firm also operates a sales office in Nilai, Malaysia.
Herbst added that he currently is scouting several Atlanta-area properties and expects to make a site decision in early 2001. A TPE compounding plant would then open in late 2001 or early 2002.
Kraiburg's TPE compound production is in Waldkraiburg, where the firm produces about 35 million pounds of the material annually. Kraiburg currently produces nine separate Thermolast K product families, with others in development.
Since launching TPE compound production in 1988, that market has grown to represent about 15 percent of Kraiburg's $250 million annual sales total. Most of the group's sales are in rubber compounding, tire retreading and recycling products. The firm was founded as a rubber compounder in Waldkraiburg in 1947.